Friday, January 25, 2008

Branding YOU – Should You Put Your Photo on Your Business Card?

I was at a networking event this week having a pleasant conversation with a nice fellow about Branding and how to set yourself apart in the marketplace. We were discussing the benefits of using a professional designer to create a brand for your business.

Upon handing him my business card he said "I see that you have your photo on your business card. I've been told that it's not a good idea to do that. What do you think?"

I have my photo on my business card because I'm in a relationship building business and I want to be memorable. Think about all the business cards you collect when attending networking events. You get back the office and sort through the stack. Very few business cards stand out and you're challenged to remember who the person was days or weeks later. Having a photo on your business card helps people remember you. People do business with those they know, like and trust. If they can remember you, that's the first step.

That's not to say that any photo will do. It must be the right kind of photo. It should be taken by a professional. You must be wearing professional attire. And it helps to have a pleasant, friendly expression on your face. It also makes sense to use a photo that looks like you, not some glamour shot.

So what else should you include on your business card if you want to have the best darn card out there?

Business Name and Title - I know it seems obvious, but try to include enough information on your business card so that people know what you do for a living. I don't know how many times I've been handed a business card that didn't tell me what the person does. Either they haven't named their business correctly, or they don't have a title. So, be clear and don't forget your title.

Business Address – These days it seems that more and more businesses are not including a snail mail address on their business card. To me this imparts a sense of "we operate out of a bedroom in our house". List your business address and if you do operate from home, and are concerned about privacy, rent a street address from one of those mailboxes companies.

Phone Number – Of course it's obvious that you need a phone number on your business card. But it's no longer necessary to crowd your card with a fax number. With so much business being done via email, the fax has become somewhat obsolete. This will also help you to get less spam via fax.

Email Address – Ensure that you are presenting a professional image to your prospects by including a professional email address. is far better than

Tagline – If you want to look "pulled together" in a branding sort of way, spend some time strategizing around what type of tagline to use on your business card. Try to think like your target client when brainstorming. A tagline that is about how great you are doesn't do much for your target client. Create a BENEFIT-DRIVEN tagline. And don't say your service is excellent. Everyone says that.

Website Domain Name – This is a no brainer. Any entrepreneur who doesn't have a website these days really isn't on the map as far as professionalism is concerned. To really take this a step further, tell them to go to your website to get something for free. A free report, articles, resources, and things that they could really use. For that matter, you can also direct them to your blog.

Listing of Services or Benefits – I actually prefer a listing of benefits on a business card. It really speaks to what you offer. Imagine a massage therapist's card "banish stress, relieve tension, pamper yourself".

So yes, I think you should put your photo on your business card because it makes you stand out from everyone else. You get extra points if you have your card designed by a professional who is not your cousin's friend from college. Invest in your business. It really pays off.

Grow Your Business and Prosper!
Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors

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