Business cards remain a key component of branding strategy. Singularly, in some areas and within some age-groups they are an assumed prearranged communication. In other words, business cards are a handy form of advertising that adds value to our brand and can be given to anyone at any time.
Business communication has been developing and reshaping rapidly lately. Business processes changing together with the newest technology offering better and also convenient communication strategies. Generally, when we meet a potential client or a new contact we add them to our phones and emails. But is this digital alternative networking experience the only one to follow in our days?
My answer is no! In brief, business cards still play a great part in our business communications. Also, it is not a little bit of nostalgia or old traditions. It is because business cards continue to add value to our business network experience.
WHY BUSINESS CARDS STILL MATTER
To begin with, it works anywhere and anytime when we need to exchange some pertinent contact information: at a BBQ, a conference, a corner meeting. Without wasting time, it allows us to give or receive information and establish an open face-to-face connection.
As a result, when we give our physical business cards, we are actually extending a powerful tool in our brand’s arsenal. I know that we are particularly obsessed with the internet and the latest ways to reach the online audience, that we could, actually, forget this easy and not expensive, but vital, physical promotion.
Incidentally, we all know that many business cards get lost or are tossed. But also are phone numbers and emails! So then, we must try to make our business card look and feel like our company. Nowadays, business cards can be anything we want them to be – 3D, metal, classic, different formats or gadgets, et cetera. Their creativity depends on your industry, brand or personality. But, the standard rectangle time-honoured business card is still practical, easier to carry and less likely to be thrown away.
When I receive a business card I can see a lot about that company – is the paper thick cardstock and the letterpress well printed? Is it embossed? Does it fit in my wallet? Does the quality of the card equate to the quality of the products? Thereby, your business card is an integral part of your branding as well as of your digital marketing strategy.
PROVIDING ACCURATE INFORMATION
Professional well-designed business cards have to determine the info you need to communicate. Important, essential items, are:
- Your full name
- Credentials or professional designations
- Your title
- The name of your business
- Physical and website address
- Phone number
- Email address
DESIGNING YOUR CARD
Other information can be added, depending on your audience, such as fax number, picture, social media account, and so on. But remember that the standard business card size in Australia is only 90mm in width to 55mm in height. Therefore, not much space to add too much information. Thus, decide what is relevant to your audience. Likewise, two-sided cards are also an alternative, that makes an impression and allows you to add more information.
Technology has made business cards quick nowadays. You might sign up for an account and select a style you like, fill in the blanks, order and you are set. Or you can print your own business cards with Microsoft Word, Google or other providers. When you do that you will be restricted to what they offer in terms of images, fonts, sizes, papers, and finishing options they offer.
Some providers deliver just what they charged – a $10 dollar business card and only that. Remember that a poor quality business card implies a business with poor quality products or services. If there is one thing we do not want, is to have a business card that is likely to keep prospective customers away.
Cheaper cards do not have your real logo, colours might not match those of your website/brand and their styles are shareable to anybody. I have already seen two companies using the same business card template in the same event.
In short, your card should be special, unique and memorable to add value to your brand. Consequently, it will allow your potential customer to easily find it among the hundreds they might have. And, as a rule, it is not difficult to have a cool card that is affordable for your business.
CARDS ARE TO BE DISTRIBUTED
When you have your professional business cards, one essential action is to distribute them. For instance, it is no good to have a box full of great cards just sitting there accumulating dusty cobwebs. Therefore, ‘use’ them or you might ‘lose’ …..your business.
By the way, have a supply of cards wherever you go and give them out when appropriate. You might be surprised at the results and referrals this could bring.
DON’T ORDER IN BULK
Normally ordering 100 or 250 cards will be plenty. Do not be sucked into ordering in bulk. It is almost certain that you will have to modify something before the last one is handed out.
A VALUABLE RESOURCE
As a valuable resource in itself, the business card could have additions that would make an individual want to keep it. Remember the old calendar cards we used to have in the past? Didn’t we keep them in our wallets the whole year? And every time we checked the calendar we were reminded of the brand. That was adding value to the business. Incentives to return customers, sources of inspiration, a guide to gourmet options, tourist information, health contacts. The possibilities are endless.
Next, when you give the card, don’t just hand it, but reveal definitive ways you can help that person. Make it personal. Specificity and sincerity will go a long way and have a notable impact. That person will collect a touch base that might be useful in the future. And you might be in business!
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