With most business being done digitally, you might think that business cards don’t matter anymore. But they can offer a lot. Here’s why they’re still important for business and how you can get the most out of yours.
Business cards still matter because our memory sucks. How many times have you met someone, spent most of the conversation thinking of what to say so you don’t sound stupid, then promptly forget their name when it’s all over?
A business card is a road map to opportunity. It could lead you to a great new job, a great business partnership, or simply help your business make money. Think of a situation where you you’ve got your networking pants on and you’re looking to benefit your business by making contacts. Suddenly, you notice someone that could be a potential client. What do you do? You introduce yourself and describe what you do, but at some point, you’ll need to hand off your contact information. A business card saves you time and makes you look professional. You’re not fumbling around with a pen to scribble your e-mail address on a cocktail napkin, and you also give them a sense that this isn’t your first rodeo.
Not only is your first impression important, but business cards provide tangible information for others. Business cards put a face to a business – When meeting someone new, handing them your business card (preferably with your photo on it) will help keep your business in the back of their minds. Though they may not need your product or services today, there may come a time when they do, and hopefully they will be able to pull out your business card and call versus trying to remember your company name and searching the web.
Your business card is a physical object that potential clients can take with them that keeps you or your brand from just being a name that floats around in the ether. Business cards never have downtime.They’re always accessible, and never have dead zones or Internet outages. Your business card can be viewed no matter where you are located, and even times when cell phones and other devices must be turned off, such as on an airplane ride or in a hospital. Your business card is always working for you.
Technology, and—more specifically—smartphones have made information sharing easier. These days you can email someone while you’re meeting them with a few quick taps of your thumb. There are even apps out there that can share contact information with someone with barely any effort at all. So why bother with a card when you have all of this other stuff? Networking is about making meaningful connections, and sometimes technology—or the act of using it—can be impersonal.
Meeting someone in person only to look down at your phone and start tapping can seem rude and disconnected. You want to smile, make eye contact, and make the conversation you’re having be your main focus. You don’t want to be hoping they have the same information sharing app, asking for their email immediately to send your info, or looking down at your screen. Technology can still be used to enhance your experience, however. Apps like Evernote can scan the business cards you collect and make storage and organization easier. But business cards already use one of the best information sharing apps out there: your hands. Until we actually can look someone in the eye to share information, you’re better off keeping conversations personal and connected. I got the CamCard app and it’s worked well, not just for entering (most) business card info correctly, but also keeping the picture of the card on file.
Business will always be about establishing relationships. Those relationships rely on personal contact and emotional connections — and physical objects reflect those better than digital ones. That’s why there will always be room for some books and records on our shelves and a few important business cards in the drawer.
Check out my related post: What is an automatic customer?