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  • Writer's pictureSteve Fisher

Are Business Cards Still Necessary?

Updated: Jan 11

It’s officially the age of digital communication. Many people may question the relevance of traditional business cards. However, these small pieces of cardstock remain a valuable tool for networking and establishing professional connections. We are going to outline some ways that this age-old tactic is still relevant and effective in today’s world.

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The Card That Means Business

You’ve likely seen it work both ways: one business card may be the key to a crucial meeting, sale, or client, while another has become an overlooked piece of clutter taking up precious space in the corners of your wallet or office. Or worse, it’s in the trash can.

When used correctly, business cards are still vital for connecting with your customers. An effective business card is the physical stamp on a consumer’s mind that sparks a positive response. According to one Forbes expert, “A business card is, in many cases, the first tangible impression of your business, and it's much more personal than an email or a LinkedIn invitation. Beyond that, business cards that are creative and stand out aren't only sticky and memorable, but they get shared with more and more people, continuing to promote your business and brand.” A printed card is like a road sign pointing to your business. As such, it must be eye-catching, legible, and pointing in the right direction to generate a response. The best business cards show that a company is upfront with information, that it’s set apart from competition, and that it creates meaningful relationships with its customers.

Sadly, not all business cards live up to their potential. Here’s how you can make sure yours do.

Laying Out Information

The most important part of a business card is its content and contact information. After all, its purpose is to bring customers to you, so the first thing anyone should know by looking at your card is who you are and how to get ahold of you. Contact information can be one simple line, web address, or social handle (especially if your company’s online presence is robust and consistent), or it can be a host of contact methods in order to reach wider audiences.

The content on your business card can also extend past your address or handle with more creative approaches. One way to bring more life (and ultimately more eyes) to your card is to give it function, like utilizing the back as an appointment calendar or a relevant recipe. Using both sides of the card appears more professional since it allows more room for design and information to make your brand stand out. This simple but lasting reminder of your business, paired with functionality, associates your brand with quality service and creativity. And it’s not a bad idea to have your stamp on something a potential customer actually wants to use either. We can go down that rabbit hole as it relates to promotional items later… The amount of information you put on your card may vary based on your industry, but overall, your content and contact information should be clear, concise, and always at the forefront.

Designing Successful Cards

Like your content, the key to any good design is purpose. How is your design helping to push your message forward? How is it compelling consumers to act? If a business card contained basic text and nothing else, it would be very easy to overlook. Having a clear and concise business card doesn’t mean you abandon design, but instead embrace it as an avenue for branding. Design is so much more than slapping on a logo or printing on different colored paper. Everything from the paper weight, stock, and finish to the card size and font types are crucial design decisions that determine how your business will be represented. High quality stock, environmentally-friendly recycled paper, and flimsy print paper all say different things about the quality of service a company offers. You may choose to give your card a memorable look and feel by opting for a unique card size and shape, or you may adhere to the classic form so it will fit conveniently into wallets and pockets. Fonts can reflect brand personality in the same way quality graphics and imagery can, working with both meaningful color and graphic design to give the card a unique look.

Ultimately, business cards need clean, eye-catching designs that highlight your information without bogging it down. In this list of design inspirations, two-sided designs present information in both text and images, maximizing the space without overcrowding the content. When graphics are engaging, text is legible, and space is used well, customers have a far easier time finding vital information and getting a good impression of your business.

Business Card Etiquette

Okay, so you have a professional, functional, beautifully designed business card with clear and straightforward information. You’ve put careful thought into how customers will feel when they see and hold your card, where they’ll keep it, and how they’ll act on it. But there’s this thing called business card etiquette, and without it, your potential customers may never interact with your card the way you want them to. Paying attention to etiquette ensures your clients feel respected, and it’s a much more effective way to get a response than by aimlessly showering passers-by with cards and hoping for the best. Etiquette rule number one? Always have your business cards with you. Bring a stack with you to meetings, conferences, and networking events, and keep a few in your wallet for chance encounters. Having them on hand at all times shows that you take yourself, your business, and your customers seriously. According to this LinkedIn guide, handing cards out selectively, asking for one in return, and keeping your cards undamaged increases professionalism and bolsters your impression before consumers even receive your information. This exchange of cards is especially important; without it, you’re establishing a one-way relationship and you’re relying solely on the potential customer for any next steps. Asking for another’s business card shows that you have a mutual interest in each other, and that you value meeting them. And having their contact information also allows you the opportunity to follow up, opening the lines of communication both ways. Do keep in mind, though, that these tips apply to the general market, and it is always best to research etiquette when traveling internationally since manners may differ (as well as standard card sizes). In some regions, exchanging a card with your left hand is disrespectful, while in others both hands are recommended. In most regions, it is best to exchange cards with the information face-up for quick and easy reading. Knowing your audience is the first step to any effective marketing plan, and it’s no different when exchanging business cards.

Where does that leave us?

While the digital age has transformed the way we communicate and exchange information, business cards remain a valuable tool for networking and establishing professional connections. They provide a tangible representation of your brand, a convenient way to share information, and a meaningful way to build relationships in business.

Rapid Print and Marketing specializes in both the print and design of effective business cards. You’ve heard it from us before, but the reason “Marketing” is in our name is because we print with purpose. Strategy in both design and materials are important to us in our role as a trusted partner to you and your company. Reach out today for a quote on print, design, or both!


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