In the digital age, it’s tempting to forgo the time-honored, paper business card. After all, with email signatures, contacts shared via SMS and clickable website links, it’s easier than ever to record a potential client’s contact info in your electronic address book. But before writing off the business card as a quaint holdover from an analog time gone by, consider the following reasons why a business card is still an important arrow in your marketing quiver.
1. Business cards add a personal touch
The exchanging of business cards along with an accompanying handshake is a more personalized way to swap contact information and a subtle yet powerful first step toward converting a prospect to a customer. When a prospect hands over their card, they’re subconsciously becoming comfortable with the idea of giving you something. By extension, this makes it easier for them to award you that first piece of business down the road.
2. Business cards promote brand awareness
Since business cards live in the physical world, your client is likely to place it on his or her desk, or otherwise lay it out in the open, as a reminder to record your information in their address book. If you’ve designed it properly, it can serve as a de facto piece of corporate swag, with your brand prominently displayed for not only your client, but others to see as well.
3. Business cards can double as advertisements
A beautifully-designed business card can serve as a mini billboard and reinforce your brand. If your business draws inspiration from the arts—a tony restaurant, trendy fashion retailer or indie record label—a striking, artfully-designed card can serve as advertising and strengthen your brand image.
Example: Let’s say you’re an aficionado of Japanese food and came across a collection of restaurant business cards in a hotel lounge. Without any other information, would you rather eat here?
4. People still expect business cards
When you meet a potential client for the first time, chances are they’re going to expect you to present them with a card for a variety of reasons. Often, it’s simply an icebreaker or conversely signals the end of a meeting when a card is handed over. A crisp, freshly-printed card reflects on your business and shows you’re prepared. In Japan, you’ll be expected to not only exchange business cards but once presented with one, demonstrate proper respect by staring a hole in it.
5. Convenient portability
Let’s say you meet someone in passing—at a trade show or for a few minutes in an airport waiting area—and decide to trade contact info. Which is easier? Getting out your phone and typing their email address in your contacts list with the urgent call of “now boarding” ringing in your ears or simply handing over a business card? Again, you’re not only making it easy for the other person to get on their way but you’re also taking advantage of a branding opportunity.
So, before heeding the new-age call to go completely paperless, don’t overlook the power of the little pulpy parallelogram emblazoned with your moniker and brand. Used correctly, the modest business card can still deliver mighty results.