“How you do anything is how you do everything.” I learned this from my business coach several years ago. It’s true. Not only is it true, it can be applied to business AND life. Think about it, if you have a friend who cheats playing golf, is it reasonable to believe that friend also cheats on his taxes?
A recent experience at a travel trade show made me aware of how many travel professionals have TERRIBLE business cards. It’s not really the business card that’s bad, but the business card represents fundamental mistakes people have made in marketing their business. If you can’t articulate your business on a small piece of card stock, then how are you effectively representing your business in other ways?
In this article, I will share the 4 most common mistakes on business cards and how to fix them.
1) Selecting a bad name for the business. The only thing you should care about when selecting a name for your business is that it’s clear. People should have a general idea of what you do when seeing the name of your business. Simple enough, but so many people get carried away and try to be cute. Something like “Wilson Family Travel Consulting” is very clear. “O-KAY Travel” is not and leans too much to the cute side. The other piece of advice I have is don’t get too attached to an old (bad) name. Maybe you made a bad decision 10 years ago and picked a stupid name for your business. It’s okay to change it. You don’t have to re-incorporate. Just get a “Doing Business As” and make the appropriate changes to your marketing materials.
2) No clear message for the business. Have you ever heard the phrase “a confused buyer never buys?” When you try to speak to everyone, you speak to no one. For example, I can’t tell you how many times I have seen something like “specializing in cruises, families, couples, groups and Alaska.” It’s as if you are afraid if you don’t list something, you’ll lose a good client. The opposite is true for effective marketing. Pick your market and stick with it. Be clear and consistent. If it’s families with young children, make sure your business card states it AND reinforces it with images, colors and the look. Own it.
3) Using an @hotmail.com email address. There’s nothing that shouts “hobbyist” louder than an @gmail, or @aol, or @hotmail email address. This one kills me because it’s not difficult to get a business-looking email address. Just spend the $10 per year on godaddy.com for a URL and then add the email account to it. Godaddy.com will walk you through the process. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Take yourself seriously.
4) Choosing a convoluted or complicated URL. So maybe you did take the step and purchased a URL for your business. Good for you! Just make sure it’s easy to remember and DOES NOT contain hyphens. Here’s an example of a BAD URL: Janestrvl.com. See how she didn’t fully spell out the word travel? Do you think someone is going to remember that? Another mistake is choosing a URL with hyphens in it. Again, no one remembers the hyphens and will type in the wrong one or get your email address wrong. Don’t give your prospects this wiggle room with making mistakes. Make it easy for them to remember your URL or website. I know a lot of times people put the hyphens in because their desired URL is not available. My advice is just go with another URL. Find one that IS available.
Get out your business card and do an honest assessment of it. Are you making more than one of these mistakes? Even if that means it’s time to change the name of your business, make a commitment to doing it. Remember, how you do anything is how you do everything. Get clear, and get confident. Your clients will reward you when you do.
Meredith Hill, ex-President of Hills of Africa Travel, founded the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE) to empower frustrated and struggling travel consultants who weren’t getting the marketing support they needed. As the fastest growing industry organization dedicated to marketing education for travel professionals, GIFTE’s mission is to revolutionize the way travel advisors market and grow their businesses. GIFTE’s products and programs provide all the tools, resources and support travel professionals need to reach a whole new level of success in travel – one that includes making more money while making a difference in the lives of their clients. Learn more at www.travelbusinessu.com, or visit and “like” GIFTE’s Facebook Fan Page atwww.facebook.com/GlobalInstituteforTravelEntrepreneurs.