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Bad Business Cards: 6 Fails that Ruin Your Marketing

After all the time, money and thought you put into your marketing efforts, you don’t want to leave anything to chance. Could one tiny piece of paper undo all of your work? Yes. Bad business cards will torpedo your marketing efforts.

I attended a huge networking event two weeks ago. Out of the dozens of perfectly fine business cards I was handed, I came home with four really bad business cards.

Bad business cards: 6 fails that ruin your marketing

I would so love to show you these cards, but it’s not fair to the people who handed them to me. Please use your imagination.

Using a teeny-tiny font size

Is there such thing as a 0.25 font size? Because I’m pretty sure that’s the size used on one card I got. And guess what? It’s impossible to read.

Even worse: the teeny-tiny font size was used in two places.

On the front of the card, it’s used for social media handles/addresses. No one is going to take the time to look you up on three social networks. They’ll visit your website first and then maybe click on the social buttons on your website.

On the back of the card, it’s applied to a very long quote from Michelle Obama.

This brings us to our next fail.

Promoting someone else

By including the (impossible-to-read) quote from Mrs. Obama, this business owner has taken the spotlight off her business. She has introduced a different brand, and she is forcing me to turn my attention to this quote in an attempt to read it.

Business cards should focus on one thing: your business. Not someone else’s.

Our next two fails also come courtesy of one card.

Forgetting to state what you do  

It is super obvious what some people do. If you’re a Realtor, an accountant or the owner of a moving company, you don’t need to include many details on your business card.

However, most company names are not obviously tied to what the business does. Take my company, Jansen Communications. We could be a PR agency, satellite manufacturer or telecom company.

My business card states that we are a content marketing agency and includes a list of our five services.

Bad business cards leave you guessing, like this one I’m looking at right now. The name is generic enough that it leaves me drawing a blank. Because I got this card along with dozens of others at one event, I cannot remember what they do.

And I’m not gonna look it up.

Including a Biblical reference

When I flip over the card, I see a quote from the Bible with a reference to serving God.

If you are a minister, yes, totally appropriate. (And no, she is not a minister – I would have remembered that.)

Religion is very personal. Leave it at home.

Printing on flimsy stock

Most bad business cards are printed on flimsy stock. Do you want to run the risk of handing someone a creased card? Of course not.

Yet here is a card that is creased, smudged and smeared. Believe it or not, I got it from a Senior Vice President at a large company. How embarrassing.

If your company is new – or you’re just trying to keep expenses down – don’t cut corners when it comes to your business cards. Have them printed on thick stock. People will notice.

Going overboard with design

Bad design is often like bad art. You know it when you see it.

Well, I have a very poorly designed business card right here, and I can describe exactly why it’s so bad.

There are three layers of overlapping design on this poor card.

The bottom layer is the owner’s smiling face.\

The middle layer is an interlocking flower design.

The top layer is text.

The text – the most important element on any business card – is nearly impossible to read. Shocker.

For the love of pizza, please do not make these mistakes that plague so many bad business cards. If you’re not sure about your card, get in touch. We’ll take a look and give you some tips for improving it.

Photo by Pixabay from pexels 

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