Can You Afford Your Business Card?

Have you taken a long, objective look at your business cards lately?

Ask yourself:

  • What are your business cards telling your customers and prospects about you?
  • Do they convey the image you want?
  • Are they accurate and up-to-date?
  • Do they provide complete information?
  • Do they make people want to do business with you?

If not, can you AFFORD to keep using them? Think about what your current card is costing you, in terms of lost sales and missed opportunities.

Can you afford to delay replacing them?

If you haven’t updated your cards in the last year, if you’re using generic “printer’s special” cards, or, heaven forbid, if you’re using pre-perforated cards, it’s time to take a fresh look at your best promotional tool.

First things first. Look at the OBVIOUS information on your card.

ACCURACY: Is the information on your card up-to-date? If you’ve added a website or new location, changed phone numbers, or been promoted to a new position, redo your cards to reflect the changes. Passing out cards with crossed-out phone numbers is a sure way to lose credibility with customers. So, too, is using a photograph so “retouched” that your mom wouldn’t recognize you.

QUANTITY: Does your card have enough information? Mere contact details are no longer enough. Describe what your business does and who it does it for, if it’s not evident from the name. Give people a reason to do business with you. Are you exceptionally skilled (awards, certifications, experience)? Easier to locate? Open longer hours? Do you offer free delivery, free training, or free estimates? (Design hint: Don’t drop the font size and cram all that information on the front. Use the BACK of your card or a folding business card.)

Now look at the SUBTLE messages your card is sending. Remember that your business card is YOU, and you may only have a few seconds to catch and keep someone’s attention with it.

STYLE: Is your business card classy? A card in an appropriate, tasteful color, with a nice texture and an attractive logo or photo is much more likely to be kept than a “plain vanilla” card. It shows that you’re different from your competition … that you believe in yourself enough to invest in your business … that you’re willing to put forth some extra effort. There are simple ways to add a distinctive touch. For example, rather than a photo of your head, add a photo of you doing whatever you do … driving your sparkling-clean taxi, repairing that blankety-blank computer, or selling that dream home.

USEFULNESS: Is your business card useful? Almost ANY business can add something relevant to their business or industry which prospective customers will find useful. A tire salesman can add a mark that indicates the minimum safe tread depth. A Realtor can add a mortgage calculator, or addresses of carpet cleaners, home improvement specialists, or siding installers. (Of course, a savvy realtor will ask those business owners to distribute HIS cards, in return.)

UNIQUENESS: Is your business card different from your competitors? In other words, how are YOU different from your competitors? If you’re the only dog groomer in town who’ll come pick up Fifi and return her looking adorable and smelling clean, say so! But don’t assume people will read your card to find that out. Show them a picture or a clever cartoon. Use color or an unusual (but legible) font. Turn your card into a coupon redeemable for a “Free collar of your choice!” when 10 boxes have been stamped on the back.

In short — if your business is worth promoting, it’s worth promoting right. Don’t ruin a good impression with a bad business card.