You might ask yourself, in the hyper-connected world of 2020, with our social media, smartphones, direct messaging and all things instant gratification, are old school business cards still relevant? We say yes.
Exchanging emails and adding new contacts to LinkedIn is obviously the most common way of networking, but a business card is a physical reminder of you and your business. If you meet a potential lead or contact, whether it’s at an actual networking event or in some random encounter, they may or may not remember to look you up on LinkedIn later on. And even if they add you to their network on the spot, the chances of you fading into the background amongst all the other new contacts could be high. The fact that not many people use business cards anymore works in your favour because when they find your card in their wallet or pocket later on, it’s likely they’ll remember you.
Having business cards available to hand out to people shows that you are prepared, professional, and take your business seriously. Business cards also don’t rely on technology to work, so while it’s great for two people to be able to whip out their phones to exchange details or find one another on LinkedIn, if one of them has a dead battery or there’s no internet connection, that method is worth nothing.
Quick and simple
Despite all the technology available at our fingertips, business cards are still the quickest way to exchange information and can contain as little or as much information as you choose. But business cards should be a supplement to tech networking. When you hand out or receive a card, it is important that you follow up online. You definitely should connect on LinkedIn, follow each other on social media, check out each other’s websites. Go even further. For example, a little while after connecting, send that person an email regarding a topic you discussed when you first met. It cements the connection and makes you memorable in that person’s mind.
What should it look like?
Branding & Style
As we’ve discussed in the past, your branding speaks volumes about your business (or it should) and your business card should be consistent with all other marketing elements. So, the look and style of the card should be instantly recognisable as part of your brand. Your logo needs to feature strongly since it is likely to be the most recognisable part of your brand. Your brand colours should also play a part, if appropriate. You should also think about font and typography, these should be consistent with your other marketing efforts, though since business cards are only small, consider the impact on legibility of using an italic or calligraphic font. We suggest using the simplest font in your suite.
Quality of the card
Even the type of card that you use should be given some thought. If someone handed you a business card and it was thin and flimsy, what effect might that have on your initial impression of that business? Think about how your business card can reflect you, your business, and your values. Creative cards make an impression and might even be shared, further extending the reach of your business.
Lastly, but arguably most important, just what should you put on your business card? Here are some suggestions, starting with the most obvious/important:
- Your name and job title
- Business name
- Logo and tagline
- Contact information (phone number, email address, physical address if relevant)
- Your website (with a short URL)
- Social media profiles (but only ones that you use to connect with clients)
- Something creative, unique or memorable (this is dependent on the nature of your business, it might be a design element, a call to action or a short piece of clever or engaging text)
Keep in mind that the cards have two sides, but that they should be kept relatively simple and uncluttered. Business cards need a bit of ‘white’ space so as not to be overwhelming.