Business cards aren’t very big (typically 3.5” x 2”), and yet they say so much about your business. But is yours serving you well? Let’s take a look and see how well yours performs. So, you will need one of your business cards. I’ll wait while you get one.

Now that you have your business card in hand really look at it. How do you feel when you look at it? Are you proud of it? Do you love the way it looks – the colors of your brand, your logo, and the card’s design? Does it feel good in your hand – sturdy card stock with a nice finish? You should have answered yes to all of those things!

Next, look at the design of the card. Is it unique? Or did you order from an online printer and choose one of their travel templates? Possibly the one with the beautiful beach and the delicately leaning palm tree? What’s the problem with that? There are thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of people out there with that same card. It shows you didn’t put much thought or care in this marketing piece that represents your business.

What about your branding on the card? Did you have you a designer create your logo along with complementary colors and fonts? Or did you pick clipart because you didn’t want to spend the money on a designer? What do you attract with DIY branding? DIY clients who will nitpick your every recommendation.

Here’s another way that you reveal your professionalism to a client: your email address. If the email address is Gmail, Yahoo, or heaven forbid AOL, you aren’t serious about your business. If you have a business you should have a website, and if you have a website you should have an email that uses that domain name. Period. Today this is so inexpensive that if you can’t be bothered to do that you won’t be taken seriously.

And what about your website? Ideally it should be a .com and not a .net, .us, or any of the other top-level domains that are available. There are some agencies who have .travel and that is OK, but .com is still the most widely recognized and respected. If you are with a host agency that requires your website to be part of their domain (i.e., sandystravel.agencyname.com or agencyname.com/sandystravel) you should also check to see if you can purchase your own domain name. It will serve you much better in the long run. Also, keep in mind that people often get long domain names wrong, and avoid hyphens if you can.

Your branding should be reflective of the type of client you want to attract. It always amazes me to hear people talk about wanting to attract more luxury clients, and yet they don’t have branding that would be attractive to that market. If you are working with someone who drives a Jaquar, shops at Nieman-Marcus and stays at Four Seasons resorts, they aren’t going to trust their vacation to someone with a template business card and an AOL email address. (I know I am picking on AOL, but I have a friend who is a career coach and she won’t allow anyone to use AOL email on their resumes because it makes you look old and technologically inept. If it isn’t good enough for your resume, it certainly isn’t good enough for your business!)

Your business card is something a potential client might hang onto for a long time. Each and every time you hand one out you should be proud of it. If you are at a trade event and drop your card into a bowl for a drawing, there shouldn’t be another card in that bowl that looks like yours. The good news is that you can remedy this easily and relatively inexpensively. Hire a designer and get business cards that you will love every time you pull one out!