They’re the most important marketing tools for any professional, yet many people continue to miss the boat when it comes to getting the most out of them. Business cards are often a company’s number one means of contact, follow-up and advertising, but they won’t work well if you are making any of these top errors with them. Run down this checklist and see if any of these apply to you.

Top 10 Business Card Blunders

1. Flimsy paper – If you can bend your card into a curving s-shape the paper stock is too thin. Business cards need to hold up well. They can’t do that if the stock is like a piece of copy paper. Invest in a more substantial card stock to be taken seriously. If your product or service is high-end or in a luxury niche, this advice goes double.

2. Lack of design or poor design – Just because you can do it yourself doesn’t mean you should when it comes to the look of your card. This small piece of paper is going to represent your business 24/7 with every prospect and client you ever have. Their impression will be based on how the card looks. Even if you have to work with a recent graphic design graduate, investing in quality design is well worth it.

3. Too small type – Does the recipient need to take out their bifocals to read the words on your card? If you’re any smaller than 8 point font you’re hurting people’s eyes. Stop it.

4. No social media listed, or critical info missing – It’s 2010, so if you’re using Twitter or LinkedIn for business, get that on your card. Don’t make people hunt to connect with you online. If you don’t have room on the front of your card, put this information on the back. Nowadays you are likely to have more interaction with people via your computer than in person, so make it easy on everybody. Also, have your snail mail full address somewhere on the card too. It is annoying to have to hunt that down when someone wants to send you a press clipping or a check.

5. Scissor edges – Scissor edges on business cards scream “amateur.” They’re unprofessional and make it seem like you don’t take your business seriously. If you have business cards with scissor edges, throw them away. Or at least clean up the edges with a paper cutter.

6. Obvious home printing – Obvious home printing sends the message that quality is something that doesn’t matter to you, which would make me think twice about doing business with you.

7. Vague about what you do – Does your card say you’re the Vice President of Red Run Corp? That’s great, but it doesn’t give the slightest clue what that even means. Make sure your card lets people know what industry you’re in and how your firm is different.

8. One card for multiple businesses – If you’re involved in multiple businesses have a separate card for each. There isn’t space on a business card to promote two businesses effectively. Multi-use single cards make you seem like you lack focus.

9. Inaccurate or crossed out information – If your cards are out of date, reprint them. Do not take out a pen and handwrite in new information. That is like sending your best sales rep out into the field with laryngitis.

10. Cheap – says “Vistaprint” on the back – If you’re not willing to invest $9.95 to have your card not promote Vistaprint, then why should I be willing to invest in your product or service? If spending a few hundred dollars on quality business cards that you are proud to hand out to others is not possible, then you might want to rethink your business idea.

Great business cards are the foundation of professional success. When you hand your card to people, listen to what they say. If it’s not “Wow, what a great card,” know you have room for improvement.

© 2010 BlueTree Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

Barbara Wayman, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, an award-winning ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at http://www.bluetreemedia.com/ezine.html

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Author's Bio: 

Barbara Wayman, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, an award-winning ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at http://www.bluetreemedia.com/ezine.html