In an age of electronic contacts, it can be tempting to think that business cards are a quaint relic of the past. In fact, this isn’t true at all. Your business card is still one of the most profitable marketing tools in your arsenal, however, only if you know how to use it effectively.
Business cards developed from the trade cards that were exchanged in England over 400 years ago. They were an early way to advertise goods and services and provide location details at a time when the streets weren’t numbered. One side was used to describe the product while the other gave detailed information about the company and how to place an order.
Over time, as printing methods became cheaper and more accessible, the advertising side of the business card morphed into brochures, posters and flyers. The company side, however, lived on in its small format and continues to be the accepted way to formally exchange contact information in businesses around the world even today.
So why is having a business card so important?
1. Business cards play an important role in global markets
If a taxi driver hands you his business card in Japan, it’s not going to be covered with traces of the guy’s lunch or pulled from a pile on the dash. That’s because the exchange of business cards in Japan is reverential, and you need to treat that scrap of cardboard as you would the person handing it to you. Accept it in both hands. If you are handing yours out in China, be sure to use both hands to pass it over. In India, only use your right hand. The point is that in many cultures, exchanging business cards is about far more than giving someone your name and number. The way you conduct the exchange will, in itself, tell the recipient everything they need to know about you.
2. Business cards leave a trace
Assuming a potential client goes through the trouble of creating a new contact on their smartphone and entering your information, they may never look at it again. However, for some reason, most people think twice before throwing a business card away. They frequently end up pinned to cubicle walls, adorning fridges or stapled to files, but business cards are survivors.
3. Business cards have a personal touch
Making that first important contact can be difficult, regardless of who you are or what you are selling. Your business card is a tangible reminder that a meeting took place, words were exchanged and you have made a personal connection. Doesn’t matter where it eventually ends up, the recipient is going to look at it again and every glance is an opportunity to be remembered and make a lasting impression.
4. Business cards get passed on
Word of mouth is gold when it comes to broadening your client base but, people often forget names and numbers that are passed on in casual conversation. Leaving a few business cards with an existing client ensures that if they have good things to say about your product or services, they can give away your card as well. The great thing about business cards is that they are always working whether you are in the room or not.
5. Business cards reflect who you are
Because you have unlimited creative license, your business card can be the picture that speaks a thousand words. Images, graphics, fonts and colours can all be used to dramatic effect when you are relying on a business card to capture what you are all about. Quality card stock, a clear layout and an eye-catching design make you look prepared, professional and committed.
Given their ability to keep performing in the hands of others, business cards are of incredibly good value for your marketing dollar. Most importantly, nothing feels quite as bad as not having a business card to hand out when you are asked for one. Use a holder to keep them clean and give them out whenever you make a new contact. Invariably, someone’s going to pick up your card and give you a call.
If you want more ideas on how you can make your business card stand out from the rest, click here to read our previous Blog post.