If you’re setting up your own business, one of the questions you’re probably asking yourself is: do people still use business cards? Or are business cards necessary?
The answer to are business cards worth it? Yes, and yes again!
In spite of the fact that we’re living in a digital age where paper is fast being replaced by all things electronic, there are still some times when conventional tools serve us best, and this is certainly the case with business cards.
Today we’ll take a look at why you need a business card and how to use them most effectively. Throughout the post, I'll also share the thoughts of marketing and PR experts about the necessity of business cards.
What Is a Business Card?
Before we delve into why you need a business card, let's look at exactly what a business card is and what its purpose is. The typical business card is a 2x3in card—though this may vary ever so slightly depending on the country you're from—that displays contact information for someone employed by a company or working for themselves.
Now let's take a closer at business cards. The contact information for a business card usually consists of:
1. Your Name
It almost goes without saying, but we'll say it anyway. All business cards should contain your name clearly and legibly.
2. Your Title or Area of Expertise
Whether you’re a contractor, a tutor, a personal development coach or an accountant, your card should make clear what your specialty is.
3. Contact Details
You need to provide contact details so the prospective clients can reach you quickly and easily. Your contact details can be a business address, email address and/or a phone number.
4. Social Media
If your company uses social media or you've got a professional social media account associated with your business, definitely include it on your card. It just gives prospects another way to connect with you that's easy and convenient for them.
Do include your company website but instead of linking to the home page, create a landing page on your website with a video that introduces your prospect to your business and what it can do for them.
To read more the information you should add to your business card, check out the following article:
Why You Need a Business Card
Let's take a closer look at the question of are business cards necessary? Here are some additional reasons for using a business card:
1. To Provide Contact Details
The number one purpose of business cards is to provide business people with a way to share their contact details with each other quickly and easily. Offering someone a business card is much simpler and more professional than scribbling down your name and contact details or reciting your details aloud while they try to enter them in their smart phones accurately.
2. To Create Brand Awareness
Every company seeks to raise awareness of its brand in its marketplace, and business cards are a cost effective and simple way for both individuals and companies to do so. A well designed business card speaks volumes and creates a tangible reminder of who you are and what you do.
Even though a lot of marketing is done online, there's still room for traditional marketing
3. To Establish Credibility
Finally, business cards are a great way to establish your credentials and credibility as well as demonstrate professionalism. Because the business card carries a significant amount of information about who you are and what you do, a well-executed business card immediately says to clients, prospects and potential employers that you're a professional and are recognised within your field.
Benefits of Using a Business Card
Now that you've got a good idea of what is a business card and what to do with business cards, you probably are beginning to understand why you need a business card, but let's look at some of the benefits of using a business card.
1. You're Always Prepared
One of the greatest benefits of having and carrying a business card is that you'll always be prepared to network and to take advantage of a chance connection that could enhance both your business and your employment prospects positively.
2. You'll Look Like a Pro
Having a beautifully designed business card to hand out at social gatherings, networking events, various business events and during change encounters, sets the tone of professionalism and competence, which is always a great place to start when building relationships.
3. You'll Set Yourself Apart
There’s nothing like a well-designed personalized business card to communicate your personality, work and style. With the right card you can create a positive and lasting impression.
4. You Can Promote Awareness of Your Brand
Networking business cards are a tiny form of advertising that create more awareness of your personal brand. They should therefore be distinct; help you stand out from the crowd.
5. You Help People Remember You & the Services You Provide
A beautifully designed personalised business card is pocket and wallet friendly and tells people your name and what you do. Every time that business prospect looks at your card, they're reminded of your company and this increases the chances of that they'll use your services.
Are Business Cards Worth It?
We've just explained why business cards are definitely still necessary. But don't just take our word for it. We've gathered some thoughts from marketing experts around the internet:
According to one marketing expert some people still prefer business cards:
"I believe business cards should always be handy, especially for audiences that tend to keep it old school and aren't on the social media wave." Alex Quin, UADV
Face-to-face networking is still important and relevant. Business cards can be a big part of that. A brand developer explains:
"You can encounter a potential lead or contact at any time tradeshows, industry conferences, happy hour, airport lounges — and arming yourself with business cards at all times will ensure that you never miss an opportunity to make a valuable business connection." Jonathon Long, Uber Brands
Even a digital marketer agrees that business cards can be effective:
"Business cards can still make a powerful impression on prospective clients. I don't believe email is too informal, but business cards are far more professional to bring to a face-to-face meeting. An email can be lost in a sea of spam and contact folders; a business card will remain in a client's wallet for years..." Kristopher Jones, LSEO
The bottom line: printed business cards are an important part of any marketing and networking plan.
Key Components of Effective Business Cards
You've just learned about how important business cards are. We've also talked about the key information a business card should contain, but you're probably wondering about how to create the right look to make your business cards stand out. The best business cards are built around a business’s brand identity. This encompasses:
1. Brand Name
A strong brand name—and logo—go a long way in keeping a company in the mind of potential clients, so you really need to take some time to consider what would be the best and most memorable name for your company.
2. Logo Design
As mentioned above, your company logo is as important as its name, so it’s important that you decide on one before you start to think about creating your cards.
As is the case with your logo, the colours you use in your business cards should reflect your company’s brand identity.
The font you use also needs to reflect your company’s brand identity. So, if your company's brand identity is youthful, fun and daring, the font you use on your card should reflect your company's brand spirit and also be young, fun and daring. On the other hand, if your company's identity is built on reliability, then a more formal or traditional font may be more appropriate choice.
5. Shape and Orientation
Now there’s the matter of your card’s shape. The best business cards are generally rectangles and use either a landscape or a portrait orientation, but they can also come in various other shapes like circles, ovals, squares and customised shapes. Again, the shape you use should reflect your company's brand identity.
6. Card Stock
Think about the type of material you want your card printed on. High quality business cards are often printed on 14- or 16-point card stock on glossy, matte or pearl surfaces. Glossy surfaces tend to make colours pop, while pearl and matte surfaces can look more sophisticated. To decide on a finish, consider what works for the overall design of the card and your brand identity.
7. Negative Space
Include only the most relevant information on your business card. For some businesses this may be your name, the name and address of your company, telephone number, e-mail address and website, but for other businesses this may be just your name and title, the name of the company and a telephone number or email address. Whatever you do, resist the impulse to use up every available space on your card.
Learn More About Business Cards
If you want to learn more about creating gorgeous business cards, Envato Elements, Envato Market, and Placeit Business Card Maker have a number of wonderful templates you should take a look at. Check out these articles below for some fine examples.
- Business Cards20 Creative Business Card Templates (Colorful Unique Designs for 2019)Sean Hodge
- Business Cards20 Cool Business Card Designs (Creative Inspiration + Ideas for 2019)Brenda Barron
How to Use Business Cards (Best Practices for 2019)
Now that you've got your beautifully designed business card, what to do next? Well here are a few ways to get the most out of your smart investment.
1. Keep Your Contact Cards Fresh and Clean
The easiest way to keep your business cards in great shape is to store them in a protective case. You may want to have a few cases that you can store backup supplies in your car, in your desk drawer or other convenient places.
2. Always Have Your Cards With You
Networking is vital if you want to get ahead in business. You can't network effectively if you never have your business cards with you. So, always make sure you've got a good supply of cards before you leave home and a backup supply as well.
3. Seek Opportunities to Exchange Business Cards
Be proactive in looking for opportunities to share your business cards. Networking takes time and energy. You need to put yourself out there if you want to broaden your client base. Obvious places to use your card are at one-on-one meetings with someone new, social events, trade conventions, mixers, etc. Less obvious places might be at your child's school, when running errands or at an evening class.
4. Hand Your Cards Out With Discretion
Just because you're always on the lookout for opportunities to share your card, doesn't mean that you should hand your cards out willy nilly. You're actually connecting with people to see if you might be able to do business together in some way. So, have a conversation and assess the potential for a relationship before you make your move.
5. Exchange Cards at the End of a Conversation
Exchanging personalised business cards at the end of a conversation is usually more graceful than at the beginning. Having a conversation first gives you the opportunity to connect with the other person and gives you both time to determine if you want to exchange cards. At the very least, it protects you from ambushing unsuspecting recipients with your card.
6. Make the Card Exchange Meaningful
Look the person you're giving your card to in the eye and smile. Hold your card at the top corners with the card facing the recipient so that your fingers aren't covering the details and it can be easily read.
Check out the article below for more info on how to use business cards:
Create Your Very Own Business Card Today
As you can see, there are loads of great reasons why you need a business card and loads of great templates available to help you design your very own cards.
If you're proficient in Photoshop or Illustrator, try one of the amazing business card templates at Envato Elements or Envato Market. And if you're looking for a simpler and more intuitive tool for creating networking cards online, try the Placeit Business Card Maker.