Businesses of any size want to ensure they put their best foot forward. They look at designing a nice website, creating a logo, and print up business cards. There are, however, five mistakes that are made over and over that tell your customer you are not a professional.
1) A template business card.
Companies like VistaPrint offer free business cards. It can be a hard offer to pass up for the business on a shoestring, but that free business card isn’t worth the cost. A VistaPrint business card stands out, and not in a good way. People have seen them so often that as soon as you take out your business card, the person you’re handing it to knows you went for the free card. Even if you have to design a very simple card yourself, it will present you in a better light than a template card. Many printers can produce business cards for as little as $25 per 1000. Spend the money. The same caveat against templates goes for websites and brochures to. If you can’t hire a professional designer, at least go to the local college and find a design student to help you out.
2) Generic e-mail address
Nothing scream out that you are not a professional like using a free e-mail address. If someone sees Gmail, Yahoo, or worse Hotmail at the end of your e-mail address is says you are not serious about doing business. Using an e-mail address from your internet provider is marginally better, but not much. Spend $12 a year and get a domain for your business from GoDaddy. An e-mail address comes with it for no additional charge.
3) Free website
If you are sending people to your website and the address is yourname.blogspot.com, don’t expect many of them to come back. It looks like you threw together your business at the last minute. At the very least, by a domain and mask the address. So even if your site is located on blogspot, the url is your custom domain. If you’re going to make the effort to build a site, don’t destroy the image by going for the free hosting with the hosting company banner ads across the top.
4) Inconsistent branding
All of your materials need to look like they belong together. Don’t use one name on your business card and another on your website. Don’t use different color schemes each time you print materials. Choose one name, one logo, and one set of colors and stick with them. Where would UPS be if it painted each truck a different color? You want your umage to be familiar to your customers. If you keep changing it, you won’t reach them.
Even for businesses with very little capital, the few dollars that it costs to do these items correctly will bring a far better return. The free items will cost much more in the long run.
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