These days there is so much emphasis put on your website, landing page, opt-in box, and other online marketing strategies that I sometimes feel entrepreneurs forget how important and powerful the printed word can be when used together with a well-built, lead-generating website.
As a business owner, the very first piece of print material you must invest in is a custom, professionally designed business card.
When you are out and about networking, volunteering, even just socializing and someone asks you for a business card, they make an almost immediate judgment about you and your business. In this case, first impressions are EVERYTHING and in just a second they will scan your card and decide whether or not they are going to do business with you.
Does your current business card reflect your talent, skill, and level of professionalism? It is a representation of the reputation you want to build for your brand?
Here are the top two mistakes business owners make with their business cards:
1. You Are Cheap
With the rise of digital printing and a professional designer, inexpensive and great business cards are a possibility. But some entrepreneurs are communicating to their prospects a deadly message – “I don’t value myself.” How are they doing this?
Printing their cards at home on perforated pages. Perforation marks on your card are a telltale sign of a cheapskate! Plus your cards are usually flimsy and have a distinctly unprofessional feel.
Using the free cards at Vista Print. Hello! Don’t use a free template that another business, probably a competitor may use too. Your business card needs to be distinct and truly represent your uniqueness and message. Plus, you don’t want your customers to get you mixed up with a competitor. If you can believe it, I actually ran into two people in the same industry with the same cards (free Vista Print cards) at one networking event recently. Talk about no point of differentiation. Don’t let this happen to you!
Allowing the “You can get free cards too” message to be on the back of your cards. Yikes! Need I say more?
Printing your own cards with no branding or identity development on laser computer paper and cutting them with scissors. Yes, I have seen this done. I would have to say it would be better for you to say you don’t have any cards left right now and get the card of the person you are talking to as a temporary solution. Or tell them you just ran out, just gave out your last one… or if you are brand new, be honest about it. Tell them you are just starting out and your cards are on order, but you are so excited to get started you didn’t want to wait for them to get out there and start networking.
2. You Don’t Value Yourself Or Your Services
If you don’t value yourself and your services enough to invest in an eye-catching, custom branded business card that will intrigue the viewers, how can you expect your prospect to value you? The saying dress for the career you want, not the career you have says it all. To bring in new leads and convert them into sales, you need to communicate your value and the benefits that you deliver… and your business card is the first step in the process when you meet someone.
So, if you don’t have a professionally designed and printed card yet, make this the year to step it up. Present yourself in 2009 as the business you want to be and soon others will start to see you as that business and who knows, maybe you’ll find you have become that business.