Is Your Business Card Falling Flat? 5 Simple Tips to Make it Fabulous!

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How often does someone hand you a business card that’s so awesome you just can’t get it out of your head? Once in a blue moon, perhaps? And your business card…is it just another 2”x3.5” piece of paper in the pile, or is it a standout, authentic card that sparks curiosity and interest in your networking contacts, prospects, and customers?

rockstar business card

With all the plain-Jane cards out there – and so few remarkable ones – having a fantastic business card makes you stick out in people’s minds like a rose in a field of dandelions! Just imagine you’re attending an event; you hand your card to this one person that you’ve been talking to, and he or she gushes about how awesome your card is. Suddenly, 5 more people are gathered ‘round, remarking about your card, asking for more details about your business, and how they can help you or vice versa.

Certainly, you’d like to generate that kind of interest for your business. But…what if your current business card kinda stinks? If you can’t put a finger on why it’s falling so flat, how can you fix it? You can’t. So here, I give you five common biz card flubs, and how to make yours WAY better.

  1. There is too much info crammed into that tiny piece of paper. Don’t overwhelm people with every possible piece of data about your business, or make the font so small they can’t read it. Simplify…your primary (preferred) contact information (company, name, title, e-mail address, and website) are all that’s necessary. If you do a lot of business over the phone, then certainly include your number, or if it’s important that they have your physical address (like if you have a brick-and-mortar store) then add that too.
  2. luxurious cardYour card was home-printed, displaying perforated edges and other such flaws that make it look totally unprofessional. I know it may seem like the budget-friendly thing to do, but in most cases, printing your cards at home only serves to make your business look like it’s just a hobby or a side gig. And this may come as a surprise, but professionally-printed cards are totally affordable – sure, you can spring for something fancy like letterpressed cards for a couple hundred bucks – but standard cards go for only about $20 to $50 per set of 500 or 1,000 cards. Sounds like a bargain to me!
  3. Your business card is yawn-inducing. If your card were punch, you’d spike it with champagne to give it some extra kick, right? So why are you carrying around a 2×3.5 inch piece of paper with zero personality and passing it off as a representative of your business? Don’t settle for black-and-white, or cut-and-dried, or run-of-the-mill. Make your business card a window into the heart and soul of your brand; a sneak peek that you give people to ignite (or re-ignite) interest in your business. Because if your card is just another piece of paper, it’ll end up in the trash way faster and more often than if it had more substance to it.
  4. Your card format just doesn’t jive with how your recipients use and store it. Consider this: If your business card is glossy, they can’t write on it to make note of where/how they met you. If your card is too odd shaped or sized, it may not fit in their card binder or Rolodex. If the paper is too thin, your card could be easily smushed, wrinkled, and/or torn (you hope it ends up in their binder for future reference, but it may not make it that far if it gets wadded up into an unrecognizable ball at the bottom of your recipient’s purse). So next time you’re ordering cards, remember to factor some practicality and durability into your choices.
  5. It doesn’t make any lasting impression. Your card is the final thing they “take away” after leaving your presence… so, to boost your potential for building a meaningful/mutually beneficial relationship (think referrals, business partnerships, etc.), make your card a memorable, authentic extension of your business. A card that reminds them of you every time they thumb through their Rolodex will ensure that when opportunities arise, you’ll be at the forefront of their mind.

★ It may only be 2 inches tall and 3.5 inches wide, but you can pack a lot of WOW factor into it!

letterpress business card

Don’t think you have the budget for an awesome business card? Think outside the box! Fantastic design can make up for printing on cheaper paper, and on the flip side, if you want to spring for fancy printing processes like letterpress, foil stamping, or thermography, a very simple design can go a long way.

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About Barbara Austin

As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Tifanie May 17, 2013, 10:17 am

    Good stuff, Barbara!

    I like #4 “doesn’t jive with how your recipients use and store it.” Usability is crucial, isn’t it? And true for many areas of our businesses.

    Great checklist to use next time I order new cards. Thanks

    • Barbara Austin May 20, 2013, 3:39 pm

      Thanks Tifanie! I give props to my mom for pointing that out to me. She said it’s such a pain when business cards don’t fit in her Rolodex at work…or when the contact info is right where the holes need to be punched in order to put it in there. Good things to think about whenever I’m designing a business card.

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