Several times over the last few months I’ve been asked by those new in business whether they should bother to get business cards. “Can’t I just tell people my web address? All my info is there,” asked one person. Another insisted she wasn’t getting business cards because they were old fashioned.
So what’s the answer? We may have needed business cards in 1950, but do we need them in 2015?
The answer is an emphatic “Yes!” Here are six reasons why:
1. Having a business card enhances your image as a professional and communicates you’re your business is legitimate.
Anyone can set up a website, but not everyone is willing to take the time to get business cards printed. Taking the extra time to get high quality business cards printed and carrying them with you at all times, communicates to others that you’re a professional and that you’re serious about your business.
2. It’s something you can hand out when you meet others face-to-face.
Even though a lot of your business is communication probably occurs electronically, I’m sure you still attend face-to-face meetings, networking events, and other gatherings. Telling someone, “Check out my website at www.supercommunicationexpertspeakersrus.com,” is a waste of time- they’re never going to remember the address, even if it’s a lot shorter than the one above. Writing your contact information on the back of an old receipt is just tacky and unprofessional. You also shouldn’t expect people to write down your information on a napkin, the back of their own card, or their hand. Having a business card saves time and ensures the people you meet have all your contact information in one place AND that the information is accurate.
3. Contrary to popular belief, most people keep business cards they receive.
Some people worry that business cards are a waste of money because most people throw them away. Yes, it’s true some people may throw your card away, especially if they don’t plan on doing business with you. However, those who are even considering using your services will likely hold onto your card at least until they get back to their office where they will either file your card or scan it into an electronic database before throwing the actual card away.
4. When presented tactfully, a business card can be a source of referral business.
Even if the person to whom you’re handing your card doesn’t have an immediate need for your services, if you ask him or her to pass your card along to friends or colleagues who might have a need, you could expand your network and gain referral business. Additionally, you never know when you’ll be somewhere and someone mentions a friend or colleague is struggling with a problem that you fix. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to say, “The problem you’re describing is actually what I work with my clients to overcome. Here’s my card. The next time you see Mike, feel free to pass it along and have him give me a call to see if I can help.”
Finally, I often asked people for extra cards to pass along to friends, family, or colleagues when I’ve found a business I think is worthwhile, even if it’s not providing a service I currently need. I keep one or two of those cards in my wallet so when someone asks, “Do you know a good copywriter?” I’m ready to pass along contact information for one that I’ve used and trust.
5. Business cards are often your first opportunity to introduce others to your brand.
A great business card provides others with an insight to your personal style, creativity, and professionalism. Combined with a well-designed website and other marketing materials, a great looking, informative business card will be put on the “top of the stack” at a networking event and will be the most likely card to be retained.
6. A business card is still a must in many countries. If you do business internationally, don’t leave home without one.
In some countries, including most Asian countries, you just can’t do business without a card. In fact, in Japan, there’s a strict etiquette for the proper presentation and receipt of business cards, or “Meishi.”