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Truth In Business Cards December 3, 2008

Posted by Chuck Musciano in Random Musings.
Tags: ,

I get handed a lot of business cards.  Some get keyed into my address book; most do not.  All get thrown away.  And many suffer from the same problem: unnecessary labels.

Why do people have business cards that needlessly prefix their phone number with the label “Telephone?”  Is that really necessary?  Is there anyone, anywhere in the world that does not recognize a lengthy string of digits as some sort of telephone number?  Do you really need to take up precious space on the card to clarify that number?  Do you think a lot of people mistake a phone number for some odd post office box or extended zip code?  Me neither.  Yet, there it is.

Some would argue that cards with multiple numbers need to clarify which number is which.  I agree.  But let’s agree that your main number doesn’t need further elucidation.  For your cell phone, a simple “C” would suffice.  And honestly, why are you putting a fax number on your card?  When is the last time you faxed something to anyone without first calling to confirm that you were going to do it?  For the two faxes you send each year, call their main number, ask for the fax number, and you’re good to go.

Even worse are those cards that label your email address as “Email” or (the worst) “Email Address.”  Let’s face it, if a person doesn’t realize that the odd string of characters with an “@” in the middle is an email address, the odds of them successfully knowing how to use that address are pretty slim.  Let’s give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume that we can all successfully find the email address on a business card.

Finally, drop the separate listing of your company’s web site.  It’s only there because someone in marketing thought this would be a great way to drive traffic to the site.  If your email address is correct, I already know what your company URL should be.  If I can’t figure out that prefixing “www.” to your email domain name does the trick, I’ve got bigger problems.  And if your company web site isn’t the same as your email domain, your company has bigger problems than both of us.

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1. Mike Templeton - December 14, 2008

I think you’re on to something here, Chuck. The last time I was thinking about my own business cards, I went through a similar type of process. Listing out each and every bit of data about a company just doesn’t seem necessary.

My biggest pet peeve is with the phone numbers. If you have an 800 number, a local number, a fax number and a cell phone number, just list the one you want me to call. There’s no sense in giving me so many different options to choose from. Quite frankly, I don’t need all of those numbers. I just need one number where I know the person can be reached.

Hopefully as we continue to move forward with the way businesses operate, more people will get clued in to thinking about doing things differently, rather than doing them the same way they have always been done just because that’s the history.

2. Michelle Muir - April 21, 2010

So, do you think Twitter is pervasive enough in the culture that we can just put

on our cards? Or should they say
Twitter: @mkmuir

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