As Bob Britz’s Business Development Manager and personal assistant, I see a lot of business cards. Part of my job here at ActionCOACH is meeting new prospects at networking events, gathering business cards and finally entering the prospect’s information into our database and sales funnel. I have literally seen thousands of business cards.
Unfortunately, I see a lot of bad business cards. For example, just yesterday I entered a card into our database for a gentleman who runs a computer servicing company- he fixes computers. And his business card had no email address on it. This immediately discredited him in my eyes. How can you run a business that focuses on the tech industry without an email?
Examples like this abound. It’s worth considering how to layout your business card so that this piece of marketing collateral builds credibility for you, instead of discrediting you. Here are a few of the issues I see time and time again:
1. The business card is difficult to read. Often the card is printed badly, or the font chosen is some kind of script, and it takes me and my card scan several attempts to discern what’s written. This is probably the worst infraction. Make it easy to understand or nobody will ever call you.
2. There’s no address on the business card. This immediately creates distrust on the part of the person receiving the card. Most people have more confidence in someone they can locate geographically. It helps the receiver of your card to know where your office is (even if it’s a home office) otherwise, it gives the feeling that you aren’t grounded or solid. Moreover, what happens if they need to mail you something? Your business card is supposed to give them your contact information, and without an address, it is failing.
A note on P.O. boxes: I hear from some business owners who work out of their homes that they don’t feel comfortable putting their home address on a card. That’s OK, but that still does not exempt you from putting an address on the card. You can rent a P.O. Box for about $10.00/month, and at least you have an address for mail to go to!
3. The business card directs you to go online or scan a code to contact the company. This falls into the category of not including an address on the card, but is so insidious that it bears its own point: In a world of social media and the Internet, some businesses are now just putting their Web address and a scan-able code on their card, forcing the recipient to go online or use their smart phone to find the company’s contact information. This is very frustrating. Once on the company’s Web site, it is often difficult to find the contact information, or the email address is simply an “info@”- completely inappropriate for selling yourself. If you are that savvy, include the code and by all means, include the Web address, but make it part of the whole package. You want it to be easy for your prospects to find you!
4. The address is incomplete. I see this often with companies that exclusively service a particular geographic area and don’t go outside of it. They will omit the zip code, for example, as if everyone who gets their card knows where they are and therefore the zip code isn’t important. To me, this seems naïve. If someone from outside the area needs to find you and punches your address into their GPS, they will feel more secure that their system matches the zip code on the card. If you’re going to put your address on your card (and I hope you will!) do it right and put the whole thing on there.
5. The logo takes up more than half the card space. First of all, unless you are Nike or Mercedes Benz, nobody will likely recognize your logo. It’s important to have as it does create a polished, professional look, but don’t make it the focal point of your card. People want to know what you do. So include a sentence about what service you provide, or what product you make, and include the logo as a reinforcement to this, not the other way around.
6. The back of the card is left blank. If you are going to go through all the trouble of printing a card, maximize it. Don’t let valuable real estate go to waste! If it’s a cost issue, just print on the back in black and white, but include more information there about what you provide. Remember that your card is a marketing tool.
Business cards seem incredibly simple to make, but they require a lot of thought and consideration in order to make them effective. Follow these simple guidelines and you will get back a much greater return on investment.
- Rebeca Krones