After revealing that one in six employees believe they have lost business because they didn’t have an impressive business card, a study has offered some tips for making the perfect one.
The study of 2,000 employees, conducted by Vistaprint through OnePoll.com, looked into the biggest no-no’s when it comes to making a good impression with a business card.
According to experts, some of the worst mistakes that can be made are using gimmicky fonts, multiple colours, or QR codes.
Other flaws include filling every bit of space, stealing another company’s strapline, and leaving off contact details – which is surely the whole point of a business card.
The research found that these kinds of mistakes can ruin the holder’s chances of making a good first impression.
In order to impress clients, cards should be a standard size, memorable – for good reasons – and printed on top quality paper or card.
Vistaprint teamed up with Derek Cheshire, a business creativity and innovation expert, to help small companies make an impact with their business cards.
Derek spoke about some of the strangest cards he has come across in his time, saying:
I have experienced a number of bizarre business cards – the first was simply someone’s contact details printed on a stretchy rubber band.
Novel, but if you need two hands to stretch the rubber to read the details then how do you dial someone’s number?
I have seen business details printed on a balloon, which was okay while inflated but not when popped and a cardboard Swiss army knife was notable but entirely useless.
And finally there was a fashion for getting cards printed on plastic – again novel, and many people justified this on the basis they could be used to scrape ice from windscreens.
The study also revealed four in 10 people would be put off if the card featured a picture of the business owner – so no selfies.
It found that 59 wouldn’t view a company favourably if the handout used misspelled words, while 45 per cent said they don’t like cards that are an unusual shape.
A quarter said they like business cards with a unique logo, while half of workers are more likely to do business with a company that has a memorable business card.
It’s especially important for small businesses to stand out and one way to do this is to pay greater attention to details like business cards and other marketing materials is essential.
There is a concept called priming, which in essence is affecting the behaviour of people by preparing them in advance with a visual image.
Business cards can be the first instalment in a series of images or branding statements that can prime potential clients or customers.
They should be memorable for the right reasons, and consistent with all other materials, stationery and website.
As a test when designing a business card, take it out and show it to someone for five to 10 seconds before covering it up.
Then ask that person what they can remember.
For most it will be nothing at all – a good business card should leave you remembering something.
To offer some inspiration on how to create a good business card, Vistaprint commissioned a series of cards for classic characters including Count Dracula, Victor Frankenstein, Peter Pan, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes and the Tooth Fairy.
A Vistaprint spokesman said:
Even in an increasingly digital world, a quality business card is still vital in making a good first impression – and ultimately winning customers.
It’s an important tool in showcasing your brand and aiding you in looking professional.
He went on:
But this needn’t be overly-complicated – overwhelmingly customers preferred simplicity to gimmicks.
Our research showed a successful business card relies on communicating what you do well and making sure you clearly link back to your brand, so potential customers remember you when they need your goods or services.
The top ten tips for a perfect business card are:
Make it memorable AND carry it with you
Opt for a standard size – people don’t know what to do with a large, lumpy or expandable card
Use the best paper/card you can afford but don’t go over the top with embossing and cut outs
Get it designed using the CMYK colour system, as you won’t be disappointed with the finished product
If you are using colours or block images, leave bleed space
Have some white space, possibly on the reverse, to allow people to make notes about you
Put careful thought into the design and layout of the card and ensure your logo is prominent
Make sure all images are at least 300dpi and don’t steal images from websites
Proof read, and proof read again – mistakes are expensive
Make sure the card is congruent with you
While business card no-no’s are:
Don’t choose a gimmicky font – don’t use text which is too small or colours which are too hard to read
Non-standard size – your card needs to fit easily into a pocket or a business card holder
Missing contact details
Poor quality – don’t used flimsy card or print them out on an ink-jet printer
Don’t use all the colours available just because they are there
Don’t over-complicate or clutter the card
Avoid filling the card with useless information – make sure you say what you do
Don’t steal strapline from another company, make yours memorable
Don’t be afraid to use an online template to help you put your business card together – but be careful to use one which aligns with our tips and no-no’s
Don’t use QR codes, they’re a fad and take up too much space on a card which should be about YOU.
So there you have it, everything you need to have an impressive business card!
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.