When it comes to business the most important thing you can do is have a marketing plan. In that marketing plan the smallest, most overlooked, but most important item is your business card. Your business card is your first impression to the world. For every person you hand your card to, you want them to remember you as professional and polished.
Most times when you hand out your card the person doesn’t get a chance to really look at it until later in the day. Your card must be able to remind that person of you and your business. You can maximize this opportunity if you keep these simple mistakes in mind before you print your business cards.
- Not Enough Information
There is nothing worst then receiving a card that doesn’t have enough information on it. How can they contact you? What do you do? Printing a card with just your name and phone number is not enough. Most people have very little time to guess what services you offer and they will look at your card and ask themselves, “What is this for?”, then promptly throw it in the trash.
At a bare minimum you should include:
- Your name/company name
- Contact information
- Visual identifier for the company (a logo for instance)
You may want to consider including:
- Street Address
- Email Address
- Any Social Media Usernames
- Professional certifications or memberships
- A tagline or slogan
Keep in mind not to make your card too busy with information, this may make some people think that you are unorganized and unprofessional.
- Cheap Card Stock
I understand that when you are first starting out you are working on a shoe string budget; I’ve been there. That is not an excuse when it comes to choosing the thickness of your cards. There are some print at home cards that you can use temporarily, but don’t use the ones with the perforations that look like little teeth on them. These types of cards do not look professional and they usually come on low quality paper. The Avery clean edge DIY cards can be found for as little as $10.00.
When you do decide to go to a printer to get your cards done, I recommend going with a 14pt or 16pt stock.
- Fancy Fonts
Fancy Fonts like Brush Script and Freestyle Script are really pretty on party invitations, but not on business cards. If your card can’t be easily read at first glance then chances are they won’t read it at all. I recommend Times New Roman or Calibri they are both easy for anyone to read.
- Font Size
If you are designing your own card keep in mind that the size on the computer screen is not the actual size. In most programs they enlarge the card so that you can have a better design view. If your font size is so small an average person needs a magnifying glass to see it, then your font is too small.
I suggest that your font size is no smaller than 7-8 point, with your name being a little larger than your contact information. When it comes to the company name, 12-15 point will look good depending on the amount of information you are trying to convey.
- Font Color
One other thing that is worth mentioning regarding font is do not use dark text on a dark background nor light text on a light background. It will make the text hard to read if the background and text colors are the same. As well as, be mindful of the color choice of your font. Don’t use colors that are too bright or too dull; they will make your card hard to read and move it closer to the trash can.
- Utilize Both Sides of Your Card
If you have graphics and photos that you want placed on your card and they make you have to minimize the font to make it fit, just put it on the back. Most printers only charge a few extra dollars to print on both sides, it’s worth the money.
Also, you may want to have some identical elements on both sides of the card. This will help maintain the same logical design.
If you feel that both sides of your business card are equally important, make sure that you don’t overly emphasis one side over the other.
- Proof Read
You have spent a lot of time making sure that you have enough information on your card, that you are using 16pt card stock, your font is legible, and you choose just the right graphics; please don’t miss this important step. PROOF READ! There is nothing worse than getting you cards back from the printer and you missed a digit in your phone number or worse your name is spelled wrong (It happens more often then you know).
If you didn’t proof read your cards and there is an error, eat the cost and get another set. Please, don’t try and fix the problem by writing on the card; that just makes the matter worse.