We all have them and we all give them and take them, in fact, I have six of them!
What am I talking about? Business cards.
In my ‘coffee with kloog’ workshops at some point the subject of business cards comes up. The worry is there are still so many bad ones out there. But I guess that’s good for the business card designers but bad for you… if indeed you do have a bad card.
What makes a bad card?
My approach to cards is a simple one; they are your little sales men. They have to work when you are not there. What I mean by that is if I meet you at a networking event along with ten other people then when I return to my desk the day after in the cold light of day will your card tell me who you are, what you offer and why I should be interested? Will your card remind me of you? Will it get across your personal values or your business values? Will it get across your point of difference? Will it intrigue, entertain or delight me?
Okay, perhaps no-one’s card will ever ‘entertain or delight’ but many will do the exact opposite and be dull and instantly forgettable.
A test for you
One thing I suggest people do is to collect business cards – not just of your prospects but of your competition. Get as many as you can and then take them to your desk and lay them down and then add yours. Stand back and have a look; does yours simply blend in with all the others? The amount of Financial Services cards that are white with a blue logo and black type is staggering… well perhaps not staggering but simply obvious. Just imagine if you were an IFA and you dared to have an orange card with rounded corners and a job title that said ‘dream maker’. How different, memorable and intriguing would you look? That may be going too far but you get the idea.
Also shouldn’t your ‘little salesman’ be a reflection of you? So what if you are a sole trader in the HR sector; it doesn’t mean your card has to look like every other HR consultant’s business card. Try to get across elements of your personality in the card in the colour, wording, even in its texture. I know two businesses whose cards smell! They smell as they reflect the business or the personality of the owner. If I sold fruit could my card smell like an orange or be the shape of a banana? Why not?
If, however, you are dull, boring, bland and have no creative side then simply go to one of those horrendous machines or websites that offer a thousand business cards for 10p and end up with a flimsy bit of paper printed one side with some random, usually predominantly purple image of stars or a starfish or flowers. I know some of you are cringing because you have them. Well use them up quickly and find yourself a designer and get a new one that reflects the fact that you do have a personality, that you are indeed unique, that you have a creative side and perhaps even that you are fun to work with while being an expert.
What do you do?
I see a lot of cards that look pretty but when you look again they don’t have the person’s name on them! They do not tell you what the company does – remember just because you and your existing customers know what you do that doesn’t mean your PROSPECTS will have a clue and I am guessing your brand isn’t big enough that they will know. So make sure your card tells them!
Can you guess what it is yet?
If you do have someone working on your design then make sure it’s a design that reflects you and not a design that demonstrates how creative the designer is. The use of clever logos, ambiguous designs and job titles no one understands should be a no-no. Also don’t fall at the last hurdle when it comes to the production. Watch for cheap paper stock; it makes the card and therefore you the giver of the card, look cheap. Also be aware of ‘offset’. This is when there is such heavy ink coverage on your cards that when you take them out of your wallet they look smudged and as though they have been held for rather too long in a hot and sweaty hand!
Devil in the detail
I do not personally like email addresses that are obviously ‘private’ emails. For example, my business is kloog so my email is firstname.lastname@example.org not email@example.com which basically just makes you look a bit of an amateur. This is fine if you deal with other ‘amateurs’ but I am guessing that you want to deal with serious businesses. So look ‘serious’
And finally check all the info is correct. I recently noticed after a networking event that the chap I wanted to contact had a ‘.co.uk’ email address but a ‘.com’ web site which is unusual. I went to the site and it wasn’t his, same name but different business. I emailed him to tell him and he had no idea and no-one had ever mentioned it but how many people must have done what I did then simply binned the card?
So there you have it, they may only be 55mm x 85mm and weigh next to nothing but in the business world they carry a lot of weight and they are big and important. Now open your wallet or your purse because maybe it’s time to look at your business cards.
For a chance to meet with me why not book a coffee with kloog, check out how to do this at www.kloog.co.uk/coffee-with-kloog.html