Almost everything we do in the business world today is done digitally, and how we market ourselves is no exception. So why then, despite numerous tech-savvy alternatives, from online advertising and social media networks to virtual business card apps that design, store and send them to other mobiles, do a significant majority of businesses continue to make use of the good old printed business card?
What is it that keeps these small rectangular bits of paper relevant?
They’re a straightforward way to share contact details
One of the first and most obvious benefits of the business card is its ability to effectively and efficiently share your contact details. Whether you want to pass them on at a professional networking event, give them to a warm prospect at the end of a meeting, or put them in front of a customer to encourage repeat business, doing it with a business card is quick, easy and effortless.
Sure you could jot down your number, website URL, business address or Twitter tag on a piece of paper, rely on connecting with someone online or swap details on your mobiles, but having an item which contains all this information not only looks professional but also stops people having to rely on technology, or their memory.
They’re an effective direct marketing tool
A business card is also one of your most valuable direct marketing tools. Firstly, because business card exchanges usually happen face-to-face, they help build trust and act as a catalyst for genuine connections. If a potential client has met you in person, they are more likely to both remember you and want to do business with you.
But, importantly, your business card distribution should not be limited to face-to-face situations. Fix them to your brochures, give them to other non-competing businesses your customers or clients visit or add them to product packages you send out.
Secondly, business cards serve as an ongoing prompt to new leads to take action – whether that action is going online to find out more about your business, purchasing your product or service for the first time or encouraging loyalty.
They can help you communicate your brand values
As your business card is often one of the first impressions, as well as an ongoing reminder, of your business, it can be a great medium through which to promote your brand. But, because of this, it is important you get it right.
Forgot taking the cheap option or doing it yourself. A good quality card with a simple but eye-catching design speaks volumes about your business and will reassure potential leads that you are the kind of person or company they want to work with or buy from.
As well as containing all your key contact information, ensure it includes your logo, a tagline and is in line with your brand colours or identity. If you can make it unique to your business, memorable and include something that will make people want to keep it or keep coming back to it – such as a referral discount code – all the better.
They’re tangible where digital alternatives aren’t
Despite our shift to digital, the fact is, people still like something tangible to hold and keep – and business cards satisfy this need. Just as many people still prefer books over digital readers, many customers and clients like a physical piece of marketing collateral they can take away, put in their wallet or share with others.
Many apps that have tried to replace them, such as Bump and LinkedIn’s CardMunch are now defunct. And even the ones that are currently on offer such as Zap haven’t led to the demise of the physical business card and aren’t really relevant for the B2C market.
In fact, there are more available apps which take photos of physical business cards, such as CamCard than digital-only cards.
Don’t throw them away just yet
Despite speculation that the traditional business card would become defunct, it still remains a valuable, relevant business tool. Business websites, online networking sites and digital apps have certainly provided new ways to connect and share details, but the convenience, tangibility and marketing effectiveness of paper business cards means they still have something unique to offer.