Although this may be off-topic to my usual posts, a couple of separate events occurred last week which both mentioned the possible demise of the business card. One was a training event when a fellow delegate commented that Twitter and LinkedIn are replacing business cards. The other, on the very next day, was a Twitter conversation discussing the relevance of business cards now that networking in person can be paired with an online presence.
And when synchronicity comes knocking, who I am to leave the door unopened. An interesting point for discussion, I felt.
Are business cards becoming obsolete?
Now call me old school, but I still like tangible things. I’ve been known to lose hours in a book store and I’ve never read a book on a Kindle. Why? I like the smell of the paper, print, and the feel of my book as the spine starts to crease. For me, that’s a REAL thing and a virtual version just wouldn’t be the same.
I can’t be alone in this. It is for this reason I compare the business card debate to my fondness for books. Can something virtual leave as lasting an impression? In my personal and strongly felt opinion, words on a screen are not absorbed in the same way as those in print. We skim over them, plucking out relevant facts and snippets of information to satiate whatever burning question we have that can be quickly answered at the tap of a button. Sure, we read articles online and eBooks, but do we really READ them?
Compare a business card to a social media bio, they are two totally different mediums, yet with similar objectives – to advertise your business.
A business card can form a basic and everlasting symbol of brand promotion whether this is a business brand or yourself as a brand. This can be a key marketing tool for many businesses especially freelancers, entrepreneurs and SMEs.
They provide a pocket-sized piece of marketing and promotional literature which holds important information about your business whilst setting the tone of your company. Vitally, they have a very personal link to an actual contact who represents that company – people buy from people.
A well-designed and high-quality business card can go far. Give it a luxurious finish and engaging design and it would almost be a crime to throw it away. Couple this with clear relevant content and contact details and you’re on to a winner.
Long live business cards!
Let’s not think of business cards as being replaceable, let’s think of them as yet another advertising, networking or marketing opportunity, to work alongside any online efforts. So don’t be shy in handing out cards; an attractive and readable card will be picked up and read. It is a powerful piece of advertising if it ends up in the right hands.
This post contains reference to a previous article that I wrote for Puffin Creative: Business Cards – Close-up