Some entrepreneurs feel that business cards are struggling to keep their niche in the digital era. In a world where handheld devices act as our banks, TVs, and home security systems, are networking basics like business cards still relevant? We think so. And so do the brainiacs over at Statistic Brain, who report that the US prints about 10 billion business cards annually, with most companies reporting increases in sales revenue in proportion to cards distributed. But with so many other marketing options, why are they still so popular?
The most glaring reason that business cards retain their prestige at networking events actually has a lot to do with technology; these simple cards eliminate the pressure of exchanging information directly on mobile phones. Picture this scenario: you meet someone for the first time and you want to make sure they have your contact information. Without a business card, your only option is to get them to type your name and number directly into their phone (or scramble for a pen and a cocktail napkin, like a 90s rom-com). This gesture can feel quite personal to someone you’ve just met. Number swaps like this might be fine when exchanging contact info for grad school projects, but it’ll feel like a hardcore sales pitch if you try to pull it off at your next networking event.
Enter the business card, which is a more discreet way to connect. It also provides your new acquaintance with a graceful out (“oops, I lost your card...”) in the event they never call you. Business cards also show that you are professional and well prepared, and that you enjoy flexing your brand awareness muscles.
Speaking of branding, business cards can go a long way in expressing your brand’s product offering and personality. They are the first impression of you and your firm. Be sure to always carry cards that are updated with correct contact information. Got a new number? Order new cards ASAP. There’s nothing shabbier than cards with the old number crossed out and the new one hastily written alongside.
Business cards also add a personal touch. They let you focus on the interpersonal experience of meeting someone face to face. Today’s working professionals are overstimulated and burnt out on tech. We crave the basics, so traditions like business cards are a breath of fresh air. They are the easiest way to connect to people on all levels of the corporate spectrum.
Many savvy professionals are thinking outside the box to put a new spin on this classic business tool with features like vertical layouts or distinctive card materials. The most clever cards are the most likely to be shared, so consider having a little fun with yours. Get inspiration at Zazzle or Vistaprint to create business cards that are unique to your industry (think symbolism, like using a wooden or metal card to represent a building company in lieu of traditional paper stock). And don’t be restricted to simply using the cards themselves as your inspiration. Anything that reflects your business can make a memorable impression. The owner of a printing business, for example, could tout their wares using stickers or bookmarks in place of cards. We’ve even seen seed packets as business cards for landscaping companies.
If you’re interested in learning more about business cards and how to use them effectively, catch up on appropriate business card-related etiquette at SilverMonkey.co.
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