In the age of wearable technology, with the whole world behind our phone screens, giving out little cardboard rectangles with your name on may seem a bit archaic. And when there’s an associated cost required from your closely monitored business budget, you can be forgiven for not immediately seeing the value.
But here’s the thing. There remains a good reason business cards are still around: they work. If you don’t believe us, here are 5 reasons you still need one.
Add a personal touch
No matter how common or socially accepted they are now, phones still have a way of seriously disrupting conversation when they come out. One minute you’re chatting about how you can help each other out, the next you’re both fiddling on your respective screens, typing in each other’s numbers and doing a sneaky inbox check while you’re there. Then the magic has gone, and someone you were totally mashing with five minutes ago now excuses themselves to find the next networking partner.
The essential thing has happened – you have met, and exchanged contact info. But you’ll have much more chance of making an impression if you’ve spent some proper time connecting. A business card can provide everything the other person needs to know, and can be exchanged without needing to interrupt the flow of discussion.
As an added bonus, at the end of the night they’ll have a tangible reminder of you, rather than just a hastily typed first name and mobile number lost among hundreds of already saved contacts. The latter outcome simply makes it more likely they’ll forget all about you until they look through their phone months later and wonder who the hell you are before, deleting the number.
Business cards are an extension of your brand
A business card need not be boring. Instead, think of it as an extension of your brand and try to come up with creative, unique ways a card can represent you best.
Options could include making your card actually useful for your customers, like handing out branded seed packets as a landscaper or even adding digital codes to promotions or useful product trials that provide genuine value to potential clients. You might also think of creative ways to visually represent what you do or what you stand for.
For some genuinely amazing ideas, check out this article showing 30 cards we’d totally love to receive.
Show you mean business
Most people feel pretty excited to have their first set of business cards printed, and for good reason. Perhaps because of their old-world connotations, a professional business card immediately sends a message of professionalism and maturity.
Adding “Here’s my card” to the end of “I’ve got this idea that will make millions” immediately helps you sound more serious. A custom-designed card can make you look successful and completely engaged with your business practice. It’s certainly a long shot from a smeared number on the back of someone’s hand or the ripped corner of a beer mat.
Use business cards as a motivational tool
Maybe you’re one of those people who thrives on interactions with others and can’t get enough of answering questions about your developing company. You’ll do great at networking events.
Alternatively, you head out to network with grand aspirations, then awkwardly stand by the buffet for the rest of the night trying desperately to look busy.
In that case, business cards might be useful for you. Set yourself a goal for how many people you want to connect with, and have enough cards for those interactions, plus a few to spare (you might surprise yourself once you get going). Now go forth and network until the pile has disappeared.
It may seem like a small thing, but for many, seeing the pile physically shrink is enough to get them through another five minutes of awkward ice breakers. It’s the same mechanism that makes you feel accomplished for marking off a completed task from a to-do list, even if the task was just “put on pants today”.
Encourage sharing across your business network
While you may be perfectly happy giving your number out to people by pranking their cell phones or shooting through a quick email right then and there, one big drawback to this approach is that it’s unlikely to travel from there.
A business card, especially if custom designed to promote your business in a unique way, can act as an inexpensive marketing and referral tool. The person you meet initially can hand off your card to others they feel would benefit from your business.
You might argue they could just as easily pass on your phone number, but without you there to make an impression, a business card can speak on your behalf and represent your brand far better than just a number or email address.
While technology makes connecting with potential clients or partners easier, there’s still little to match up to the potential of a perfect business card. Don’t underestimate the impact this simple marketing tool can have on your fledgling company.