Why use business cards in this digital age? It seems that everyone, from babies to grannies, has digital devices in their hands. Technology has transformed business communication from handwritten letters to emails. While written communication is now often paperless, one piece of correspondence remains printed: the business card. And while it seems that it would be more advantageous to email information between associates, it remains important to always bring a business card.
Here are some reasons why business cards are effective business tools:
BRAND IDENTITY Imagine your brand's fingerprint. It says a lot about you. A business card symbolizes your company’s brand. Not only does it convey important personal contact information such as name, title, email, website, address, and phone number, but it is also usually the first exposure to the overall image of the business. Your company logo is prominently displayed for brand identity. The fonts used, color, texture and paper stock used also conveys a message about the type of industry represented. Specialized printing techniques can be used such as embossing, foil stamping, thermography or laminating. The business card reflects the personality of the company and gives the first impression.
CONVEYS PROFESSIONALISM AND PREPAREDNESS
Say it out loud- “Image is everything”! Having a business card on hand gives the appearance of professionalism and shows proper planning. Being caught off-guard without a business card imparts an ill-prepared impression. Always carry a stack of business cards protected by a card case and you will give a polished appearance.
QUICKER THAN PASSING DIGITAL INFORMATION
Numerous apps exist for phones to transfer contact information wirelessly; however, the quickest and easiest way to exchange data remains the paper business card. Multiple business cards can be handed out in seconds at a networking event versus entering data. In the fast-paced workplace, time matters and nothing beats the quick handing over of a business card for speed.
DON’T HAVE A DEVICE ON HAND
How many times have you left your phone in your car? Now, how are you supposed to transfer contact information electronically? Do not rely on smartphones for transferring information. It’s possible that some clients do not own digital devices or are not tech-savvy. While the majority of our population does have a personal electronic device, some prefer not to rely on theirs. And even if digital devices are used by both parties, the applications may not be compatible. Exchange business cards and you can always follow up with an email that contains your digital contact card.
BUSINESS IS GLOBAL
With the rise of global working opportunities, doing business overseas is becoming more normal. Business cards are not only necessary in international business in some cultures, but they are also used formally. In most Asian countries, the business card is treated with respect. It is often presented with two hands, never tossed, and should be properly placed in a holder once received—never shoved in a pocket. In Japan, exchanging business cards is a ritual and considered a formal introduction to a person. Business cannot begin until business cards are exchanged as this signifies the beginning of a relationship. In India, business cards are exchanged even in non-business situations and are always presented face-up with the text facing the recipient.
ALL IN ALL
The printed business card still dominates. At any instance, whether at a networking event or at a coffee shop, the opportunity for a business connection can occur. Bottom line- not having a business card on-hand could result in a lost potential client. Exchanging business cards gives the ability to follow up, providing a foot in the door for a business transaction, a crucial element of creating a business connection.