If Your Company Move Has Mandated New Business Cards, Don’t Wait to Update Them
Has your company recently moved – leaving you with an outdated business card and contact information? Well, you won’t want to waste any time getting that business card updated, because – contrary to popular assumption – they still go a long way to making an indelible impression on your business contacts and prospects.
Standard business processes are rapidly changing, and in many ways for the better. The newest technology offers convenience and an enhanced workflow that’s reshaping business and altering the communications we need. Case in point: When we meet a potential client or partner, we typically add them to our phones and exchange emails and social media accounts.
But, given all the “enhanced” communications technology of the 21st century, many questions: Is this long-standing tradition of business slowly fading away? Do we still need business cards?
One could well argue, “Yes, we do.” Here’s why:
Business cards have forever been a necessity for a professional, serving as a rite of passage for a businessman’s or woman’s entry into the marketplace, and a professional takeaway impression. Whole business lectures out there dealing with how to develop the best impression with your business cards and use business cards as a creative way to stand out in the market.
There are few statements as widespread in business as “Here’s my card.” Business cards have been a part of any entrepreneur’s self-promotion toolkit for a long time.
Just how long, you ask?
The Chinese handed out calling cards in the 15th century to let people know they planned to visit. In the 17th century, the French swapped cards as a way of introduction, and this spread to the British and eventually America soon after.
The exchanging of cards is one of the most ubiquitous traditions in the business world. This institution endures even in a world dominated by e-signatures and digital address books.
Business cards are tangible reminders of your business and what you do best (and the fact that you must be there in person to hand them out) and can’t be beaten for memorability.
You can chalk up the longevity of “calling cards” to many things, but one of the biggest is that exchanging information digitally continues to feel impersonal and cold. Business cards are tangible reminders of your business (and the fact that you have to be there to hand them out) and can’t be beaten for memorability.
They’re also a cheap and effective way to ensure people have accurate contact information. More importantly, they serve as a physical reminder that you met someone. That can become a trigger for reflection and often leads to more business or a renewed connection.
It seems like everything we do in business today is done digitally – sending mail, signing contracts, attending meetings, even networking. The business card is one thing that digital networking will not fully replace anytime soon, however.
Here are five reasons why the old-school business card is still important – and why you should always have a pocketful of them:
- Swapping contact information digitally is impersonal.
Networking is about making genuine connections. Sending contact information via text or email on the spot is convenient but it is also extremely impersonal. Engaging in eye contact and actual conversation is how real relationships begin.
Two individuals with their heads buried in their smartphones typing away won’t create any kind of significant impression of you or the encounter. You can easily transfer the information from a business card to your mobile device after the conversation.
- They are the most effective direct marketing tools.
Email marketing, search engine optimization, and paid media all do a great job of attracting leads and prospects, but they still aren’t as effective as an in-person meeting sealed with a handshake along with a business card exchange.
You can encounter a potential lead or contact at any time – trade shows, industry conferences, happy hour, airport lounges — and arming yourself with business cards in every meeting will ensure that you never miss an opportunity to make a valuable business connection. Keep some in your pockets, wallet, money clip or laptop bag so the next time you encounter a prospect you are prepared.
- It’s the first impression of your brand.
When you meet someone that could potentially be a great prospect or connection, don’t you want him or her to walk away with a great first impression? A memorable business card does a lot more than just pass on an email address or phone number.
You want to make a memorable first impression. In many cases, the conversation won’t end after handing over your business card. A unique business card will likely fuel the conversation even further!
Yes, they’re an elective cost – but think of how many unnecessary expenses you can cut to allocate funds for great business cards. Hold off on the ping pong table and espresso machine for the office and get some cards that will make a great first impression.
- Creative business cards get shared and continue to market for you.
A business card is a physical object that a potential prospect leaves the encounter with. Your brand stays with them.
If you meet a prospect and exchange email addresses and phone numbers you each walk away with another contact on your mobile phone – it ends there. If you hand over a creative business card that makes a great impression, that person is likely to show it to other people – putting you and your brand in front of additional prospects.
- They show you are professional and prepared.
Have you ever had someone write his or her contact information on a cocktail napkin and hand it over to you? How about someone that had a mobile phone with a dead battery? It isn’t the most professional approach.
If you met two individuals and one was scrambling to find a pen and something to write on and the other person simply pulled out a business card, who would you want to do business with? Showing that you are prepared always is a great indicator that you are a consummate professional.
[Source credit: Entrepreneur.com]
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