What do your business cards say about your business?
Business cards are often overlooked or done in a rush. But they are more than just a piece of paper. Some times they are the first impression of a business, and they are the piece that customers take with them, so take the time to make sure they are giving the effect you want.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Incredible Networking Event and Business Women’s Symposium. They were both fun, informative and I met a lot of people. I came home with a lot of business cards (see photo!). I admit I like looking at cards, partly because it’s part of my job, and partly because I’m just curious.
For the most part the cards were all well done, but I did see a few trends to watch out for.
Use a legible font
I cannot stress this one enough. If people can’t read your card, they won’t contact you. This doesn’t mean your fonts have to be boring, but avoid ones with lots of scrolls, highly stylized lettering, etc. Remember how small the type will be on a business card.
Use contrasting colors
Even when a good font is chosen, many cards use a low contrast color between the background and type. This also makes the card hard to read – think yellow on white. See how hard that is to read? You don’t need to stick to black and white, but light on dark or dark on light will be kind to your potential clients. An easy way to check is to convert your card to black and white (or take a photo with your cell phone and make that black and white). Is it still easy to read? Another reason contrast and cleaner fonts are needed is many people use electronic address books that take a photo of the card. If it can’t read, it won’t save – or worse, it’ll save the wrong information.
Use a standard size card
You might stand out initially by using a square, round, mini, or extra large card, but in the long run this doesn’t pay off. If you are at a networking event, people will be exchanging dozens to hundreds of cards. Often we then add the cards to a binder/book/Rolodex. If your card doesn’t fit it’ll either be folded, mangled or tossed. At best the edges will just become ragged. Think about the person you are giving the card to and make it convenient for them to keep your card.
Don’t skimp on decent paper
The price difference between flimsy paper and a quality paper is minimal. Using a flimsy paper just makes you look unprofessional, and your cards are more likely to tear or mangle. 16pt paper is great for cards.
You don’t need to put every last little thing your business does on the cards. Are you a restaurant? No need to cram the entire menu on the card! List a few core competencies, or the preferred (usually the most profitable) products and services you offer. If people need more information they will check out your website or contact you. Which leads me to….
Include contact information
I did get one card that was missing this. You can get too minimal in trying to avoid information overload. While people could Google your business name to find out how to reach you, you run the risk of them moving on to someone easier to reach. Like above, many people use electronic card captures, not having the contact info will add a roadblock to them using or referring you to others. Be easy to contact and easy to refer. It’s also helpful to indicate if a phone is Mobile or Office. Or if you prefer voice calls instead of texts, just list your number as Office.