How To Know If Your Business Card Stinks

How To Know If Your Business Card Stinks

If your business card isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do – helping the receiver remember you in a desirable way, leaving behind a strong, positive impression of you, your company and your product or service – then it’s a failure. It stinks.

And if you’re reading this article, it probably does. Stink, that is.

Wonder how can I make that prediction, without ever having seen your business card?

Two reasons.

First reason. People keep business cards that have value — business cards that, in their minds, have information on a person or product or service that they find interesting or that they think they’ll need. It only makes sense, right?

In my opinion, such a business card may be ugly — or cheap — or ordinary — but if someone chooses to keep it (for legitimate business reasons, not for scratch paper), it doesn’t “stink”.

However, the vast majority of business cards are thrown away almost immediately. According to research I’ve seen, more than 90% of business cards are thrown away the same day they’re received. Less than 1% of business cards are kept more than thirty days.

True, some people throw business cards away because they save the information on them in an alternate format (such as an electronic business card scanner), but most are pitched because they’re of no value to the recipient.

In other words, they stink. They’re crappy. They’re literally worthless.

Reason two to believe your business card stinks.

I have no statistical data to back this up, but I’ve often noticed that many business people seem to be nervous or embarrassed when they’re actually at the point of handing someone their business card.

Maybe Ms. Business is having a great conversation with a potential customer. She’s really excited and enthused about the newest Wonder Widget her company manufactures, and her prospect is smiling and looking interested. But something happens when it’s time for her to hand over the company business card.

She grimaces. She hesitates. Her tone of voice changes. She makes some sort of offhand remark like “Well, here’s my business card.” Instead of eagerly, confidently giving someone this outstanding example of their company’s professionalism and credentials, this awesome, amazing business card — her whole posture and demeanor conveys a sense of embarrassment.

Or maybe you’ve felt it yourself — a mental twinge, or an inner voice that says “Maybe he won’t be impressed” or “My card isn’t as good as my competitor’s” — when the time comes for you to give someone your business card. Instead of giving someone your company card with poise and assurance, you feel reluctant to actually let someone else see it… and judge it.

After all, that card is your baby. Maybe you were instrumental in the creation of the card. Maybe you’ve had the business card so long that you’ve become attached to it. Either way, if someone throws that business card away, or casually stuffs it into their pants pocket without even looking at it, it feels like rejection. If they don’t appreciate the card, they don’t appreciate YOU.

So… if you’re worried that your business card stinks, so worried that you cannot hand it out without fearing that it will be found wanting, and if you haven’t had enough positive reactions to reassure you that your fears are groundless… it probably does.

Of course, there are objective criteria to use when evaluating a business cards’… er, “stink factor”. And varying degrees of “stinkiness.”

For example, business cards that are overcrowded, stink. Business cards that give you no idea what product or service you offer, stink. Business cards that waste the space on the back side of the card may not stink, but they’re certainly being underutilized.

And business cards that aren’t kept, remembered, and used by your customers or prospects, stink.