There was a time when having business cards meant you were “official”. Whether you ran your own business or you worked for another one, if you could pull a rectangular piece of paper out with your name, title, and company name, then you were somebody.
They didn’t even have to be fancy. Just some shade of white, maybe a slight texture, with black text (either raised or indented). Possibly a watermark.
Over the past decade or two, they rapidly evolved. Every business is trying to stand out amongst the Rolodexes of cards out there. Business cards started coming in every shape, color, and material you could imagine. But now that everyone has a phone on hand at all times, and every business has some degree of online presence, the question is asked time and again:
Are Business Cards Relevant?
They might not be what they once were, but a business card can serve a purpose for virtually any professional. Here’s why:
They Can Establish an Immediate Brand Impression
A good-looking business card is still a sign of legitimacy. Emphasis on the good. They don’t have to be fancy and complex, but if your business card has the quality of something you made in 10 minutes and printed off at home, it’s going to do more harm than anything else.
Say what you want, but looks matter in the business world. Unless you’re rich and famous. Then you can do mostly what you want.
For the rest of us, have a professional card designed. If you lack the creative abilities to design a good looking card and you don’t want to hire a professional to make one for you, you can find business card websites that give you templates to build off of.
People will Actually Remember You
If you tell a person your business name and/or website with the idea that they’ll check it out later, you’ll probably end up disappointed. People forget. Whether they can’t recall your name or forget to follow-up altogether, it doesn’t matter.
Even if they put your phone number in their phone right there, you could slip from their memory.
A business card, however, leaves something behind. If they put that away in their pocket, wallet, or folder, it will end up in their hands again.
Invest in Quality Cards
There are a lot of places you can buy business cards these days. Depending on where you buy and how much you’re willing to spend, the quality can vary greatly. While you don’t have to break the bank, our suggestion would be to invest in an above average quality.
Whether it’s choosing a thicker stock, adding a cut-out, or going for a fancier material like tin or plastic, buy a quality business card.
Even if you have a great design, it will look bad if it’s printed on cheap cards.
A quality card won’t just stand out. It might actually result in acquaintances showing it off to other people.
Don’t Hand Them Out for the Sake of Handing Them Out
Some people can burn through business cards fast. If you’re using a premium card, that can be expensive. That’s why you should only hand them out when you need to.
If you walk into a meeting with 10 people from the same place, you don’t have to give a business card to all of those people. They’ll probably just throw it away – especially if they already have all of your contact info.
Instead, use your business cards wisely, like the punctuation on a great interaction with someone you could benefit from knowing. Whether it’s a potential lead, someone you could collaborate with, or just a person who’s really connected, save your cards for those people.
Another idea is to have two sets of business cards – a standard card for normal use and a premium card for more important contacts.