It’s 2020. We all know that technology and social media has advanced beyond what we ever expected at the turn of the century. We’re also aware that most people’s business networks are established and maintained through LinkedIn, or similar social media outlets. So, then, with these digital mediums an obvious networking question arises: are business cards still relevant?
The quick answer is yes. The somewhat longer answer is that when designed appropriately and used properly, business cards can be an effective tool to set you or your brand apart from others that refuse to use them. This article discusses why business cards are still relevant and you can transform how they are used to obtain the maximum benefits.
A recent article in Forbes asked business experts to share their thoughts on the use of business cards. Unsurprisingly, most of them noted the how the advent of LinkedIn, smartphones and even basic email transformed how we collect and share networking information. Of course, it’s easier to find someone online and add them to your “connections” list rather than carry around their business card.
However, many of these business leaders also noted the professional benefits of the old-school business card.
“Business cards can still make a powerful impression on prospective clients. I don’t believe email is too informal, but business cards are far more professional to bring to a face-to-face meeting. An email can be lost in a sea of spam and contact folders; a business card will remain in a client’s wallet for years,” says Kristopher Jones, founder of top 5 SEO company, LSEO.com.
A sharp and sleek business card shows that you’re a professional in your industry and you recognize the importance of establishing meaningful connections. Sure, you can add them on LinkedIn later. But why not keep a few micro thin, credit card size cards with you to events? Show you’re a professional.
As we’ve noted, it’s extraordinarily simple to take out your phone and connect with someone through social media. Seemingly everyone has a LinkedIn account, for example, and we can view their contact information, their business background and even where they went to school at the touch of a button. But what’s wrong with this picture?
It’s just that: (virtually) everyone has the same account. A business card adds a personal touch to you or your brand, and offers a tangible reminder of you that many others miss out on. And in today’s digital environment, this tangibility can be extremely powerful.
Jeff Tan, Dentsu Aegis Network says, “Perhaps I’m an old-school, new-generation millennial, but I still love exchanging business cards. Are they absolutely necessary? No (hello, LinkedIn). Do they still provide value? Yes. Like a physical paperback compared to an e-reader, there is something still meaningful and personal in giving and receiving cards when meeting people.”
Establish Your Brand
If we haven’t convinced you of the relevancy of business cards through their professional benefits or the personal aesthetic they bring, and you’re still on the LinkedIn wagon, OK. Maybe you’re right. Business cards may not be used to share contact information or build a network – we have social media and smart phones for that. However, try looking at business cards as having a different purpose altogether.
Business cards are really an extension of you and your brand. They provide a way to distinguish you from your competitors, and offer an invaluable method of making a first impression on potential customers or employers.
The visual and tactical representations combined with physical engagement creates a connection that just isn’t possible through the online world. Moreover, business cards provide an opportunity for you to be creative and establish your brand. Aside from a different image or banner photo, every LinkedIn profile looks the same. Leverage the opportunity to get creative, but remember that the best business cards are easy to read and provide useful information.