Sitting on my desk are a stack of business cards collected at networking events that I can’t read. Do you have some of those too? Now I know I’m older (no comments from the peanut gallery!)…and I DO use “cheaters”, but only 150x magnification, but even with those there are still cards that I can’t even read the phone number or email address to reach out to those people. Your business card is your presentation of yourself and your company to the people you meet in your community or your network with the goal of providing EASY contact information, right? If they want to contact you…and I’m assuming that’s why you give it out…you must make it easy. Here are some of the problems that occur when creative license overshadows the purpose of the card…reaching you when “they” need you!!! Think about the purpose of your card before you select a card style and format that is pretty, full of slick graphics, but is difficult for people to read and contact you.
1) Don’t pick the smallest possible print font that you can. Font print should be easy to read without requiring magnifying glasses.
2) If you have so much to say about yourself that you need to use such a small print to fit it all on the card, then you are saying too much. Only your logo and basic information should be on the front of your card, with a tag line if you have a great one. See #9 if you want to tell more about yourself/your business/your products or your services.
3) Don’t use an elegant script font with flourishes that make it difficult to identify letters. Have you sometimes gazed at a card trying to distinguish whether the letter was a “c” or an “e”? or a “g” or a “q” or an “i” or an “l”? You know what letters are there so it’s difficult for you to be objective. Ask someone NOT familiar with you or your business to review/proof the card and verify that all the letters are readable.
4) Watch the colors on your card – specifically the background color and the text color. For example pale yellow tiny text on an aqua background or light green very tiny italic text on a black glossy background just doesn’t show up! (WHAT were they thinking??? Unfortunately she won’t receive this TIPS because I can’t read her email address on that background! I will call her.)
5) Don’t cover the front of your card with a glossy picture and then text on top of that picture! The text gets lost in the image. Have you ever had to tilt and slant a card trying to get the best light to read the text on top of a picture? The glare on the glossy picture made it difficult to read the text? A picture is great, especially if it conveys a good message about you or your business, but watch what it does to the text. Maybe ½ the front is the picture and the other half your contact information?
6) Do include your cell phone, if you want people to find you when you are out and about. These days, we are always out and about. Also, include your email. Many people think of services or products they want after their busy day and they find it easier to email with a question at that time. But if your email is not on the card, they might go to the next vendor who does have the email on the card. I think of things I need for my business ALL the time in the evenings when I have the time to think of these things – from printing to carpet cleaning, from AC help to handyman help. If there isn’t an email, then that provider doesn’t get connected to me for that service.
7) Do print the back of your card in buff not glossy so people can write on the back. That’s critical so they can note where they met you, or the question they want to ask you at a later date. Also, keep the back of the card in white or a pale color that will be easy to read the writing. It’s impossible to write a note if the card color is black or navy. Even with white, if it is glossy one typically can’t write on it. I tried the other day to write a follow-up note to myself on a card someone gave me and just couldn’t.
8) Do put your name- full name- on your card. You would be surprised how many people just put their first name, or only have their title (Sales Rep, Sales Manager, Account Exec) and they forgot to put their name.
9) Do use the back of your card to spell out some of the services you provide. Leave half the back blank for people to write a note to themselves, but the other half can include your services if your business/company name on the front doesn’t tell what you do/what you provide. This is especially true if your business name is YOUR name (like mine.) That’s fine…but make sure you have some great bullets on the back to expand on what you do! I have 8 bullets on the back of my card and still room for people to write where they met me and what they want to follow-up with me about!
10) I’ve said it before in other TIPS, but please have enough cards with you at a networking event. Best suggestion is to keep a box in your car so you can always dash out and get more if you run out. I hear “I’ve run out” at least 2-3 times at every networking event. Why would one NOT plan to have enough cards when networking?
If you are in “violation” of some of these tips on font size, color, glossy, graphics, photos or font type, please re-think your card the next time you print it. OR, trash this current batch and create a new version that is attractive BUT legible. You never will know who wanted to reach out to you, but was frustrated by your card and just tossed it!