How Important Are Business Cards?
In the era of the smartphone and wifi, it seems like paper is on it’s way out. Billboards have gone digital. Networking is done through LinkedIn and anyone can build their own website. It seems like more and more businesses are scrapping their marketing efforts that have to go through a printer. So where does that leave our trusty friend, the business card?
For years, business cards were considered a must-have for any professional looking to make something of themselves. It was often the first investment someone would make in their business. But are they still relevant? Are they still worth it?
Before I share my opinion on the matter, let’s look at what the masses are saying. I conducted a poll on a couple of small business Facebook groups to see what other professionals had to say. I provided four options, ranging from “Absolutely essential!” to “What a waste of money!” These are the total results:
The results clearly show that business cards aren’t obsolete yet! A majority of people believe you should have a business card, no matter what. And quite a few people also believe they’re important, although it more heavily depends on the kind of company.
Let’s briefly look at the benefits of having cards.
It’s a quick, effective way to pass along information.
In most of my encounters, once I tell someone I run a business, they usually ask for a business card. This is an incredible opportunity to direct them to my website. My website, like most businesses, is the prime place I want to get potential clients. The proof of my skill is in my portfolio, and I want them to get to it as easily as possible. A business card is a much easier way of giving them my website then verbally telling them and hoping they remember correctly!
As far as marketing materials go, you can’t get much cheaper than business cards. You can get 500 cards for $9.99 on Vistaprint. That’s 500 times your name and info can be shared. For 10 bucks. That’s hard to beat.
They’re easy to leave around.
I’m not suggesting you take up the habit of littering. But it’s so easy to leave a business card with your tip at a restaurant. Or pin it to a community board. Places like Starbucks and Panera have designated walls to leave your business card on. You never know who will come across your card, and because of its size and cost, why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?
Are There Downsides?
Now, what are the downsides of business cards? Wait for it . . . nothing. I can’t think of one downside. If might feel like having a printed piece of paper is out of style, but there isn’t one reason that you should have them!
The greatest downside in NOT having one is the scrambling for a scrap of paper when someone wants your info. That doesn’t convey professionalism. You can save yourself some embarrassment and give yourself marketing opportunities by investing in a stack of business cards. Keep a few in your wallet or purse, in the glove compartment of your car, in your briefcase. Make sure to grab a few when you head out to networking groups or the coffee shop.
What Makes An Effective Business Card?
A lot of business owners know they need a card, but aren’t sure what it should look like. Once again, business cards are the best marketing tool because they are also the easiest to make! This is even something you can design yourself, if you stick within a few guidelines.
RELATED POST: What Should Small Business Owners Design Themselves?
Keep it simple, stupid.
Perhaps the best advice anyone can receive for anything. It never fails. Keep your design as simple as you possibly can. Nobody looks down on a one-color business card, but they might not like a card so busy and colorful that they get a headache from trying to read it!
The business name.
The primary email.
That’s it? Three things? If you have nothing else but those three things, you still have a solid, effective business card. Everything else someone needs to know about your business should be able to be found with that information.
You might be thinking, “Don’t I need to fit my logo on the card?” No, you don’t HAVE to. If it fits well, it could be considered. If it doesn’t detract from those three important things, then sure, add it in! But it’s not essential, because it doesn’t help someone find your business easier. People don’t Google search with a logo, they search with a business name.
That same logic can be applied to anything else you’re tempted to cram into a business card. Your professional headshot? Not essential. All six of your social media profiles? Excessive, and not essential. If someone wants to read your tweets, they should be able to easily access them through your website. A client testimonial? Sadly not unheard of, but absolutely not essential! Your testimonials should be shining on your website, not smooshed into a 2 x 3.5 inch card.
The most common layout for a business card is your business name and logo on one-side, and your website and email on the other. It’s tried and true. You can’t go wrong with that! Some people go crazy and creative and have wild business cards which go viral on Pinterest, but those take a lot of brainstorming and tend to be much more expensive. If you want one of those kind of cards, hire a designer and get to it! But don’t worry if that sounds overwhelming. You can be just as effective with a three-liner card.
The most important thing about a business card is having one. Clearly, they haven’t been run out of town yet and they still have value to add to your business! If you don’t have one and want to get started, Vistaprint is a great place to begin. And if you are in need of a logo and/or branding, I’d love to add you to my list of satisfied clients! Get in contact today and we can discuss how I can help your business thrive!
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