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Is Your Business Card Sending the Right Messages?

Your smart phone may have replaced your rolodex, but old fashioned business cards are still the most widely accepted way to share your contact information with potential clients. Is your business card sending the right messages? Did you put the right information on your business card? Is your layout easy to follow?  Is your design appealing? Take out your business card, and get ready to make some notes.

Did you put enough information on your business card? Don’t just put your name, and company phone number. Your business card should tell people exactly what your company does; for example, “USA Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning and Inspection.” If it just says USA Cleaning, people might call you about janitorial services. Maybe that’s okay with you, but if you don’t want to spend extra time on the phone explaining your services, make sure you tell people exactly what your company does. Second, you should add a title that lets people know what you do; for example, “Outside Sales Associate,” or “Hood and Duct Cleaning Technician.” This way, people will call you with the right questions. Redirecting a customer’s call is frustrating and time consuming for all parties. The right words can maximize that tiny space, and ultimately save you time and money.

Do you have multiple methods of contact listed on your business card? Your phone number is a good start, but some people might want visit your website and send you an email. Some of the information you might include would be your office phone number, your toll free number, your business cell, your fax number, your e-mail, your website, your physical address or PO Box, and your social media business page(s). Make sure people can contact you quickly using the method that is most convenient for them.

Did you include a professional head shot?  Business cards are designed to facilitate personal connections. Your photo will help customers place a face with your name. You should also make sure to add your logo. This will help your customers associate your face with your brand.

Are your cards the right size? Standard business cards are three and one half inches wide and two inches tall. You can make your cards any size you want them to be, but large cards might not fit in a standard wallet, and slim cards may slip down into the folds. It is best to stick to the standard size. But, if you do want to change the size or shape of your card, you should change it dramatically. One way to do this is to use a die cutting machine. Your business card can be any shape you can imagine, and a little creativity will help you stand out. For example: a local comic book store has business cards in the shape of a Baterang. For those non nerds out there, see the picture.

This is definitely not a rectangle.

Be warned that most printers will add a charge for a non standard card shapes, but a little creativity may help you stand out.

Did you make a design mistake? Maybe you used blue text on a blue background. Did the colors look good on the screen, but didn’t look the same when they were printed. Is your font legible? Eight point font is a good size for your contact information. You may want to use a slightly larger font for your name and title.  Block fonts are easier to read at small sizes. Find yourself an objective editor and listen to their advice. Bad designs will make your information difficult to interpret.

Does your deign match your image? A cupcake bakery might have a business card with pink font and polka dots, but that design would not work for an investment banker. Remove all of the text from your business card, look at the elements that remain. If you have a white rectangle, you should seriously think about adding some color. Shapes and colors can accent important items, and separate unrelated elements. As mentioned above, the colors and shapes also give people an idea about the type of business that you have. The color shapes and patterns that you chose will help your business card convey its message quickly.

If your business cards match your image, do they match your other advertising materials? Be consistent with your colors, patterns, shapes, and fonts. Imagine if Coca-Cola decided to change the color of their cans to purple, but everything else stayed red. If you make a change, make sure it is motivated. For example Coca-Cola could make pink cans to show support for breast cancer research. Pink would be a motivated change. Purple would just raise questions. Colors, shapes patterns and fonts reach people on a semi subliminal level. We all know what the golden arches represent, and sometimes we get hungry just picturing them. They evoke strong memories of tastes smells, textures and feelings. You can harness this power for your own intentions. Take time to create a design scheme that will compliment your brand, and be consistent.

Have you made it easy for people to save your contact information? Asking someone to save your contact information to their phone memory is one of the most tedious and bothersome tasks that you can possibly impose upon them. QR codes can store all of your important details so that they can be scanned with a smart phone and automatically added to a contact list. One of the easiest ways to generate a QR code is to visit www.qrstuff.com. Follow the step by step numbers to enter you information, generate a code, and save the code to your hard drive. Then you can place the saved QR on your business card. Or, if you are a bit more tech savvy, you can download the Bump app from your app store. This free app lets you share your contact information by simply bumping your smart phone up against another smart phone as if you were making a toast. The only drawback is that the other person must also have the Bump app. If they don’t have it, you can tell them where to find it, and show them how easy it is to share your information. If you build it they will come! If you make it easy they will come even faster.

Did you find some areas where you could improve? One of the fastest and least expensive ways to create a quality business card is to use an online editor such as Uprinting.com. There, you can quickly choose a layout, enter your information, add embellishments, and order prints. When you finish, they will send a PDF proof of your design for approval before they send it to press. Uprinting.com is an excellent resource if you are looking to create or order business cards.

Always keep a stack of business cards with you, and make sure that you store them in a case that won’t bend or flex. Passing out a creased business card is tantamount to showing up in a wrinkled suit. Make sure you put enough information on your business card, and include multiple methods of contact. Take time to create a design scheme that will compliment your brand, and grab attention. And remember, if a tree falls down in the forest and no one is around to hear it, it’s probably because the tree didn’t pass out enough business cards.

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