What does your business card say about you? Believe it or not, it says a lot more than your name and phone number! Is your business card helping build your business reputation? Or is it dragging you down?
In my role as a marketing expert, I work with many independent business owners. As a result, I get A LOT of questions about these marketing tools.
A business card has a couple of different purposes.
The first one is so obvious that many people seem to forget it!
It needs to CLEARLY communicate your contact information. Dramatic cards with lots of graphics are fun to look at. However, be sure your name and phone number are the focus on your card.
It also helps define you. Be sure your card reflects your level of professionalism.
Office supply stores have lots of options for home-made business cards. Those are not for you! Let the 12-year-old down the street use them for his dog-walking business. If you want to be seen as a professional worth paying, you need professionally-printed cards!
Likewise, having your card designed by a professional is a must. Yes, there are a variety of software programs and web sites where you can design your own cards. Unless you are a professional graphic designer, don’t do it. Hire one to create your card. Chances are, it won’t cost too much.
Picture or no picture? This is the question I get most often. Photos on business cards are common in industries like Real Estate. Some people feel that having their picture on their card makes them more approachable. Other people feel it makes them seem less professional.
If you do have your picture on your business card, be sure it is a professionally-taken photo that actually looks like you! A photo that is too old or makes you look artificially glamorous will just make you look foolish. A snapshot of you standing in front of the office door just makes you look lame. Investing in a good picture is well worth it!
Finally, never, ever hand out a business card that has typos or wrong information. Sadly, most typos happen because the cards weren’t proof-read correctly. When having cards created, ask a friend to double-check it for you. If your phone or email address changes, THROW AWAY your old cards and get new ones immediately. They don’t cost that much! Using cards with wrong information or with items scratched out makes you look careless, cheap and/or lazy.
The bottom line is that your business card reflects your level of professionalism. No matter what industry you are in, you card can help make or break your reputation.