Business cards are a great way to open new doors for your business. Typically, you'd meet someone at a networking event, conference, meeting, or maybe even just a coffee shop where it may be convenient to exchange contact information in the hope of a future business relationship. These situations are where passing along business cards would be very useful. They are an effective marketing tool.
When it comes to attracting business, first impressions are everything. If you make any of these 10 business card mistakes, you could appear like an amateur or unprofessional, and lose out on potential deals. Read on to see how you can avoid them.
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What should not be on a business card?
Sure, there's no "rule book" for what should be on a business card or how they should look or have. A solid business card is composed of best practices and tacit guidelines.
An unprofessional-looking business card could do more damage than good. A business card is a golden opportunity to invite people to collaborate with you. Don't ruin your opportunities by avoiding these common business card mistakes.
10 Common Business Card Mistakes
Here are 10 common mistakes you should avoid when creating business cards to get the full marketing potential of them.
Poor Quality Card Material
If first impressions are important, a poor quality card implies your work or service is unorganized and low-quality. It'll repel prospective customers.
Plus, the poor-quality paper would not even last in the long run. Imagine handing cards out and they are feather-light. Most business card holders you give cards to destroy just by keeping them in their wallets or purse.
Your business cards need to be durable. Get your cards printed with some nice high-quality paper. A nice, heavier paper type has an appetizing quality to it.
Don't skimp out on investing in a high-grade paper for your business card. Most business owners print their business cards on 300 GSM paper. A 300 paper is 14 Pt, or 0.014 inches thick, which makes it feel “weighty” and durable. This thicker type of paper is stiffer but still bendable and flexible. You'll typically see it used for some magazine covers and higher-quality flyers. However, the best paper for business cards is 400 to 450 GSM.
Cards With Information Overload
Always remember the acronym, K.I.S.S., or Keep it simple silly.
Business cards are tiny in comparison to other marketing materials. Don't make the mistake of stuffing your business card with your sales pitch or too much information. Instead, keep it simple, silly. Only include the necessary details and save what you have to say for when you actually meet with the prospect again.
Pertinent information to include
Avoid the visual clutter and only include this information:
Logo: Insert your business logo on your card. It's great for branding.
Brand promise or value proposition: quick tagline that reminds cardholders of the services you provide and the quality you produce.
Job title - include a short catchy job title that tells prospects exactly what you do.
Website URL: Include your site's URL. Some folks prefer adding a QR code to send prospects to their website.
A general rule for business cards is to save sharing your hobbies and personal interests for the resume, cover letter, or interview. if you include your hobbies or personal interests, you can quickly overload your card.
A cluttered card only makes it harder for the prospect to read your business card. Remember, K.I.S.S. for your business cards. Too much print can deter a person from reading the card. Just outline the basics: a business name, website, email, and phone number. Tell the prospects about the details of your unique selling proposition in the follow-up meeting or phone calls.
Your brand will be represented physically by your business cards. If your business cards appear cheap, recipients may associate your brand with being inferior. Inferior-quality images can give the impression that your company provides poor services and products.
Low-quality images would reflect poorly on your business's work.
Put yourself in a potential client's shoes. What would you think if you received a business card with pixelated images? Would that make a great impression?
No, it wouldn't...
Business cards are cost-effective marketing tools but don't hurt your brand by getting low-quality images printed. Compare different manufacturers and printing shops. Ask for samples. Your business card design may look nice but if the shop only produces poor quality products, your card may be printed with low-resolution images.
Poor Card Design
Along with having low-quality images, having a poor design on your business card is a huge mistake. If you plan on designing your card yourself, don't make the common mistake of a grey print on a white background. The worst kind of business card design is one that blends in with everything else.
If it doesn't attract the intended recipient's attention, it might as well not exist.
Seriously, invest in a freelance graphic designer for a nice business card design. You know, someone who spends all of their days nitpicking details of the design process like alignment, contrast, colors, sizing, white space, etc. A talented graphic designer will make a huge difference in designing visually appealing cards to capture potential customers.
Cards that are unimpressive and commonplace will swiftly fade from the memories of the person you presented them to.
Instead, your cards should be made in such a way that they clearly identify what your company offers and stand out from the competition.
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Ignoring The Bleed, the Cut Line, and the Safety Line
After you design your company business card, be sure to keep the bleed line, cut line, and safety line at the top of your head. A bleed line is the limit area where a design can extend to without being cut off. A safety line is an area where all the text cannot pass. A cut line is where the business card would be cut.
Although various printers have their own specifications for business cards, you should have about 0.25 inches (6mm) of bleed in your design at the very least.
Don't print your card and realize the business card design got cut off by the printer. Be strategic when you use the small space provided and be aware of white space.
Using A Free Email Address
Using a free email address is among the most common business card mistakes. Don't use a free Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo email to place on your business card. These tiny details matter. A free email address simply looks unprofessional. Get an email attached to your website domain or company name. A business email with your website typically can be set up for free with your website hosting site.
To get a free business email account, you'll need a domain name and a website. You'll need an email service provider to handle your business emails after that. There are several options available for creating a professional business email address.
A proper company email is especially important for high-ticket offers.
If you are trying to sell services for a few thousand dollars or more, a nice professional business email will help you make a good impression.
Print Too Small or Tiny To Read
If you are passing along your business information to a potential customer, client, or partner, don't make them use a magnifying glass to read your business card. Proper font size is important.
It's fair to want to fit as much information about your business as possible on the card, but adding pages of micro-text won't help. Most individuals will find it too difficult to read as a result. It's best to keep the language clear and straightforward.
The small font size on a small business card only makes it more difficult for your potential prospects to discern so use a type size no smaller than 7 or 8 font.
Your name point can be a little larger. Perhaps a 9 or 10 font, and the business name usually looks good at about 12-15 points.
Typos And Grammatical Errors
Always, always, always, proofread your business cards prior to getting them printed. Typos on business cards make you seem not detail-oriented and careless. Carefully check for any typos and grammatical errors such as proper capitalization, consistency and punctuation.
On top of checking for typos, check for outdated information. You'll be banging your head against the wall if you print out your business cards and notice you have past or outdated information.
Have someone else review your business cards before you start figuring out how to get them printed. A second or third set of eyes may be valuable. You could also get feedback on your design.
Going 'Over The Top'
Some business owners take 'distinctive branding' overboard. They use other over-the-top creative ways to stand out like metal or oversized cards. Don't buy into the idea of these 'unique business cards' in order to stand out. Just get a good quality stock card that feel substantial and nice to touch.
Make sure the final design and messaging are appropriate too. Don't include memes or jokes on your business card unless it is directly in line with your brand messaging. If you treat your business card as a joke, nobody will take your services seriously.
If your business is just starting out, going over the top could even be the number of cards you order initially. Unless your company is well-established, there's a strong possibility you'll change your logo, tagline, colors, branding, and other elements.
So, keep everything else off your card and make it represent the simplest, cleanest, most basic component of your business. It's still possible to wind up with outdated cards, but buying fewer at a time and keeping them simple makes them more user-friendly while also shielding you from throwing them away when you rebrand your company.
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