6 Common Business Card Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Even in today’s world of instant communication, where social media, email, and — of course — a phone are all available on a device in your pocket, there’s an enduring appeal to the business card. And for good reason. A quality business card can turn a person you meet at a networking event into a client. Positive conversations into business. Passive interest into sales.

But — of course — you need to make sure your business card does two things. It needs to both look the part, and provide all the necessary information. Here are 6 common business card mistakes, and how you can avoid them.

Getting the style wrong


When designing your business card, it can be tempting to go for an imaginative design. If you get it right, it can really pay off. For example, see the pictured business card from a furniture company that folds into a chair. However, whether you’re thinking of going down the creative route, or just making a traditional, standard business card, you need to hit the right tone. Think about what customers expect of your company brand, and your industry. If your business card gives off the wrong impression, people are less likely to want to do business with you.

If you’re a designer, or a creative professional of some kind, it may pay off to get innovative with your business card. But if you’re a lawyer, something more traditional would be suitable. If in doubt, it’s probably safer to go for a nicely designed classic card. Aesthetically pleasing enough to appeal to design geeks, while professional enough to be suitable for more corporate types.

Picking the wrong dimensions

Amy Walsh, Caherdavin Limerick watch as Postmen Ciaran Collins and Kevin Kiely by the massive Christmas card they are delivering for the people of Limerick ahead of switching on of the city’s Christmas lights this Sunday. The card is to be opened at a special event that will see airborne Santa’s elves decorate the city’s Christmas Tree on Bedford Row at 4pm on Sunday 23rd November. Official news from the North Pole is just in. Limerick has come in top of class on the 'good' list! This year the council of nice is diverting funds to Limerick to spend on extra magic, extra joy and extra spirit. We don't know if it was the elves or the fairies, but somebody spilled the magic dust all over Limerick and the city is lighting up in all sorts of unexpected magical ways… and it all kicks off this Sunday when the people of Limerick are delivered a Christmas message like never before. Ahead of the much anticipated switching on of the Christmas in Limerick festive lights, a GIANT envelope (which is 2 meters tall!) has been delivered addressed to “The People of Limerick”… with a special note that it is not to be opened until Sunday 23 November at 4pm. Although the identity of the sender is still unconfirmed, we’ve a BIG hunch we know who it is from, so we’ve drafted in a very special translator to join us on Bedford Row this coming Sunday to help us open it… Pic Sean Curtin Photo.

It’s not just style you need to think about, size matters too. As a rule of thumb, if your business card is bigger than a credit card you need to reassess. Typically people will store business cards they have collected in the credit card section of their wallet, or a business card holder. If it doesn’t fit, your new contact will probably shove the card in their pocket, making it more likely that it’ll end up crumpled and forgotten, or going through the washing machine by accident. Your company may think out of the box, but when it comes to business card size, it’s best to follow the herd.

Not being social


You spend hours keeping your personal and business social media accounts in tip top shape. Or you pay a lot of money so that somebody can keep them running smoothly on your behalf. Yet, in many instances, people don’t include their social media details on their business cards.

Think of it this way. People you meet are far more likely to give you a Twitter follow, or connect with you on LinkedIn, than call you up to become a customer right off the bat. Even if they don’t properly get in touch, you’ll still have a chance to wow them on social media, making them more likely to pick up the phone in future.

Not enough details

Watching something on a cellphone

The definition of a schoolboy error. At an absolute minimum, a business card should contain: your name, the company you work for, your job title, your email address, your phone number, and a website. Don’t expect someone to remember your job title after a 3 minute conversation at a networking event. Equally, don’t leave your phone number as the only point of contact. Leave people the option to get in touch over a number of different mediums. If you don’t like email (and you wouldn’t be the only one) leave your LinkedIn or Twitter details on there instead.

A business card should show who you are, and how you can be contacted. No excuses!

No breathing space


You need to avoid the opposite problem too — a cluttered design with information overload. A business card where the content has no room to ‘breathe’ is bad for two reasons.

Firstly, a cluttered design will confuse whoever you give it to, and may result with them dropping it in the bin when you’re out of view. Secondly, a design with lots of white space not only looks great, but allows the recipient to write a few details from your conversation on it. Let’s say you talk through a service your company offers with a potential client, and then pass them your card. Even if that particular service isn’t mentioned on your card, the potential customer can add it themselves.

This is the golden rule of business card design. Less is more.

Muddled branding


Picture the scene. You’re at a networking event, and you’ve met a potential new client. You hand over your brilliantly designed, contemporary, professional-looking business card. Your new contact taps the website into their phone, and the colour scheme, fonts, and even logos are completely different to those on your card. In this situation, it will seem like either your website or your business cards are out of date. Not a good look.

As a general rule, it’s important to ensure that your branding is consistent across your company, and your business cards are no exception. The most visible aspect of your company to non-customers is your website, so your business cards need to share common branding signifiers with it — such as colours, logos, and fonts.

Instant Print W1 are based in central London, and print professional, top quality business cards for you and your employees. Get in touch with us here to get a quote.

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