Business cards are no exception — it’s possible these days to trade contact information with a new acquaintance as quickly and seamlessly as bumping your phones together. Like nearly everything, there’s an app for that.
But what’s the trade off? Showing off your technological savvy has its benefits with almost any type of company you intern for. Sacrificing traditional methods, however, comes with drawbacks.
Think about the last time someone gave you their business card. Chances are that later that day, week or month, you removed the card from your purse or wallet and looked at it for a second time. You were reminded of the meeting with this new contact and thought about what role they might play in your career advancement.
Had that person slipped seamlessly into the hundreds of other contacts you have digitally stored, you may never have thought about them again. It’s that value of recollection that a physical card offers and that digital alternatives have yet to emulate.
If you’ve been questioning the value of a business card (or just been slow to hand yours out), here are a few reasons to reconsider.
Cost-Effective Direct Marketing
Business cards are cheap to make. Unlike other forms of self-promotion, they are directly handed to the recipient. For a few cents a transaction, you pass all of your information and a line or two about your expertise to someone who can immediately utilize your skills or spread the word. Don’t pass that up!
Timeless Track Record
Advertising trends change faster than the seasons, but business cards have remained in common usage for nearly a century. It’s wise to stay up-to-date with new methods (keep your contacts digitally and know how to send a virtual business card but don’t sacrifice traditional means as well.
Professionalism on Display
Your emails should be worded concisely and use correct grammar, but you’re ultimately limited in showing off your style with digital communication. A business card is your chance to display creativity, poise and confidence, leaving a lasting impression as someone who can be trusted with important jobs.
Convinced yet? If you’re ready to create or reboot your business card, here are a few tips to ensure you present the best possible version of yourself in 2×3.5 inches.
Be (Somewhat) Formal in Your Approach
Creativity is almost always a plus, but in showing your ‘true colors’ on a business card, keep it to one or two (colors, that is). If you’re an artist of any sort then disregard this tip; if you’re in most office-style industries (banking, law, non-profits), you’re best off limiting yourself to a simple, formal business card that demonstrates who you are without an unnecessary collage of colors and scattered fonts.
Descriptive and Concise Are a Delicate Balance
Business cards in the United States are typically 2×3.5 inches, leaving you very little space to convey your expertise and job title. Give yourself no more than two lines to highlight your most important skills. If you work as both a tennis instructor and a freelance graphic designer, make two business cards. Squeezing varied pursuits into one card makes for a cluttered final product.
Keep it Up to Date
Just because you ordered 1,000 cards last year doesn’t mean you need to give out the last 300 after you’ve changed your phone number. Of course, writing your cell number in ink on the back of a card can add a personal touch, but it’s unprofessional to give out cards with outdated information. Toss the old cards into the recycling bin and order new ones — the end result of always appearing professional will far outweigh the costs.
Even in the digital age, a paper business card is still a crucial part of your self-marketing arsenal. Make sure that yours highlights your skills and demonstrates your motivations and professional attitude. You’ll find it helps propel you into a job you can enjoy and thrive in.
About the Author: Christopher Wallace, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, has more than 20 years experience in sales and marketing. At Amsterdam Printing, a leading provider of custom pens and other promotional items such as custom USB drives, Christopher is focused on providing quality marketing materials to small, mid-size and large businesses. He regularly contributes to Promo & Marketing Wall blog.