When designing and dealing with business cards, the foundation for good and profitable business contacts is often laid - or the opportunity is lost. We show which 10 typical mistakes you should definitely avoid.
1. Distribute Indiscriminately
Trade fairs, congresses, and receptions are classic opportunities where you have the chance to make new contacts. But just because you have just got together in a group of people, you don’t immediately pull out your business cards. Joining a group and distributing the cards directly is grossly rude. Distributing the cards, in turn, is only usual for arranged meetings.
In the case of spontaneous conversations, business cards are usually exchanged towards the end of the (technical) conversation, and business cards are almost exclusively part of the business world. In the case of private contacts, it is an exaggeration to distribute the business card, with the exception that the conversation is developing in the direction of the business or you are asked directly.
2. Bad Condition
The shape and design of the business card, therefore, allow direct conclusions to be drawn about the holder and should therefore always be seen as a figurehead that must be in perfect condition. Kinks, tears, stains, and signs of wear and tear due to careless storage disqualify the cardholder both professionally and personally. In addition, the content is perceived as best as possible only with business cards in pristine condition. If you find your business cards in bad condition, immediately consider a brand-new business card printing.
3. Outdated Information
If, for example, the address, telephone number or other information has changed, an updated version should be created. This applies in particular to the position of the cardholder in a company. Under no circumstances should the incorrect information be corrected as a mass production by hand! If it cannot be avoided, a correction should only be made in front of the recipient at the moment of handover.
4. Write On Other Cards
The basic rule when accepting business cards is: treat them as you would treat a gift. A gift wanted or unwanted, is not carelessly set aside, not thrown away directly or defaced in any way. It is, therefore, a major faux pas to make notes on the business card in front of the cardholder.
In order to effectively network with the business cards you received, small comments are of course useful so that you can later recall details of the contact. However, this should always be done discreetly afterward if the acquisition of suitable business partners has been particularly successful and the number of new business cards is large.
5. Don’t Offer Native Language
Anyone who works internationally should have the back of the business card in a language that is spoken or at least understood in the target country. In most cases, an English version will be enough to score internationally with your business cards. Of course, it is also very welcome if the recipient can read all the information easily.
6. Stand Out At All Costs
A divorce lawyer with a tear-able business card, a radio moderator with the business card in the form of an old-fashioned microphone or wooden business cards for the carpentry business. All of these shapes provide real eye-catchers and are therefore better remembered.
But such design and shape experiments can also backfire. On the one hand, the question arises whether the lawyer in question helps new clients to joke that the separations, which are usually perceived as painful, are a joke. It is conceivable that potential clients tend to switch to more serious offers, because for legal questions you don’t need a hobby designer, but a professional lawyer.
Of course, this may have a sense of humor, but seriousness and professionalism are and will remain the key. On the other hand, shape experiments can mean that the business card simply cannot be handled: what does not fit in the case (too wide, too thick) is sorted out faster.
7. Cover Up Business Cards
The only thing that is even better than a good business contact is a lot of good business contacts. However, this should not tempt you to simply layout your own business card, similar to flyers or free samples, in the hope of making yourself known and recommended as a business partner. You only make a name for yourself as a junk or someone whose business cards are disposed of at the first opportunity.
Business cards should always be handed over personally. After all, a thing loses its value and exclusivity if it is available in large numbers and virtually for everyone. An exception is the deposit of the business card with assistants, in the secretariat or at the reception if the person you wanted to meet is not in the house. Incidentally, the very first business cards were used when visitors wanted to leave a message to the landlord at the regent’s court.
8. Don’t Have A Business Card
There are certainly self-employed people, entrepreneurs and other business people who are successful even without a business card. But at the latest when you stand empty-handed for a third time when exchanging business cards, your own business cards are worth considering. Those who do not have one can immediately be classified as less important in some business circles.
While the use of business cards also depends on the hierarchy level, it is absolutely unthinkable in Japan, for example, to be on the road in any kind of business concern without a business card. If it is more a question of professional impression in Australia, the lack of business cards in other countries is sometimes felt to be grossly rude.
9. Make Design Readable
Of course, business cards are always treated as status symbols. However, vying for an even more elegant look can lead to illegible business cards in the area of micro typography. Font size 8 is barely legible for most fonts and therefore a good orientation downwards.
Make it as easy as possible for your counterpart to collect all the information. If possible, stick to one or a maximum of two fonts. The most important information, the name, can be emphasized by the font size, bold or blocking (increasing the spacing between the letters).
10. Overload The Layout
A business card is primarily a commodity for exchanging contact details. At 8.5 × 5.5 cm, it is neither possible nor necessary to accommodate every conceivable information. On the one hand, this means that only the most important information is listed and self-explanatory information is omitted.
Example: It is common to list the e-mail address, but this does not have to be specifically identified by “E-Mail.” On the other hand, only meaningful information should find its way onto the business card. It is particularly advantageous for the self-employed if the valuable space is not wasted on meaningless claims.
If possible, reference should rather be made to the specific specialist area or certain services, so that the recipient knows in which questions he can contact or instruct the cardholder.
Use this article to avoid these ten mistakes whenever you are planning to create your business cards. Your business card is your identity – never neglect what it speaks about you.