Some people will tell you the business card is dead now that we’re in an age of online networking, LinkedIn and smartphones. They’ll say it’s a throwback to a time before digital and that the card will go in the bin the minute your ‘connection’ gets home from their business event.
They might not suit everyone (you absolutely need LinkedIn as well!), but I believe the business card is alive and well. You just have to focus on what it’s for.
So, what’s the point of a business card?
At its simplest, a business card has your contact details on it so that people you meet can get in touch.
Now, those people we talked about earlier, the ones who don’t like business cards, argue that if you meet someone you want to keep in touch with professionally, you can swap mobile numbers or LinkedIn details while you’re talking.
And yes, I guess you could.
But that detracts from the conversation you’re having, doesn’t it? And the conversation is the really important bit.
It’s also a total pain to have your head in a device, trying to save someone’s details, while you’re balancing your cup of coffee and juggling your biscuits. It’s much easier to take someone’s card (and maybe even use it as a little biscuit tray?). Or perhaps I need to go easier on the refreshments.
For those of us whose work involves some kind of creativity a business card is also a great way to show what you can do.
Done well, it’s a free advert for your work. Of course, you need to have your contact details on there, but beyond that, you have a whole other side of the card (literally) which you can use to showcase your talents. Why would you pass up that opportunity? I was at an event a few weeks ago and heard a guy who I’d given my card to excitedly showing it to the other people on his table as an example of good design. That kind of free publicity is always welcome.
A few days ago I had a disaster.
I ran out of business cards and I had a conference to go to before I’d be able to get my hands on any more. Instead of going along without something I could give to people to remind them of me and tell them where to find me, I decided that handmade was better than nothing.
So I got out some card, a ruler, some scissors and my trusty felt tip pens.
It worked. People loved them.
They weren’t anything special, but they started a conversation, they got noticed, and they did their job of carrying my contact details home with people. I’m not advocating homemade cards as the norm (not the ideal professional look, I agree) but they were better than the alternative and they made me focus on their purpose. Far from being binned as soon as people got home, people used them and got in touch.
For me, the business card is well and truly thriving
It isn’t an alternative to LinkedIn. Business cards and LinkedIn do different things. In fact, they work well together, with your business card making it easier to connect online with people you’ve met in person.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s delivery of fresh, shiny cards bearing my details, and to sharing them with clients later this week and beyond. But until then, I’ve got a stash of handmade ones waiting in the wings to carry me through.
If you need a hand with what to write on your cards, get in touch.