Imagine you have entered the room of the start-up’s business expo. There are many organizations with numerous startup ideas, many of which seem similar to yours, fresh with fewer years of experience. While you wonder how to appear more impressive than others and make a perfect first impression, one of the individuals you were conversing with before hands you their business card. This piece of paper does not seem like some regular card. The creativity of the company blooming from the card instantly grabs your attention. The logo, the slogan, the color, the texture of the card everything exudes professionalism and innovation, and exquisitely reflects the brand’s core it illustrates. There were no words involved but still, a strong first impression was made.
What is a business card?
A business card is a small information card with a standard size of 88.9mm x 50.8mm. It contains basic information about an individual’s business or organization or such as the company name, the logo, the slogan, the owner’s name, their contact details, etc. It is given for networking purposes to a potential client as a mode to present one’s business information in a professional manner.
Are business cards still relevant?
The simple answer to this question is Yes! Despite all the technological advances that have evolved over all these years business cards are physical reminders of the company that would rather have drowned in the sea of thousands of internet connections. Statistics explain that with the distribution of every 2000 cards the sales of the organization could boost by 2.5%. A business card was also called the “physical paperback in the era of e-books” by an individual. They are said to seem more personal than sharing a LinkedIn account or a social media handle and are advantageous for those clients who are old school and do not prefer to access or have a social media account. Therefore business cards are a traditional way of networking and marketing your brand.
Why should one invest in Business Cards?
For the people who still wonder why should they invest in business cards when the world has become too technologically advanced and one can easily access the organization or individual’s information through websites and social media sites; these are various reasons why one should invest in business cards.
Good Advertising and First Impression
They give a good first impression, the good quality and design say that you are ready to invest in your business for its progress and thus making the client also believe that you are prepared to also invest in them and give them good quality service. A creative analogy to describe a business card is thinking of it as a mini portable billboard that promotes your brand to whoever it gets in contact with; therefore the more innovative you make it the more memorable it will imprint itself in the mind of your audience.
A good business card is of course important along with having effective communication with the prospective client which is a must too, for learning more about effective communication you could refer to the article A Guide To Effective Communication With Clients which teaches you all about the importance, tools, miscommunication and much more.
Moreover, business cards are cheaper advertising alternatives compared to digital marketing promotions. These cards can be handed to any and all potential clients and they can carry easily in their pocket. When provided visual aids humans tend to remember better therefore a business card provides an eye catchy visual aid (including logo and name) for the client to remember along with the individual they met. Additionally, business cards make sure that an individual doesn’t have to go through a sea of information on the internet to find the company in case they forgot the name, they can just reach out to their wallets and remove the card in order to recollect the name. Furthermore, other marketing strategies like billboard or online marketing campaigns can expire and be changed but not business cards, they may stay almost forever with the client and would also not need a stable internet to view.
Ultimately, to some people acquiring a quality business card is equal to acquiring a successful business, therefore it acts like a professional image booster in some cases.
How are business cards printed and what should they include?
Business cards are not printed with a standard printer, It is usually advised to print the business cards using offset printing or digital printing depending on the quantity of the cards that one needs to print. If the quantity of business cards that need to be printed is more than 200 then offset printing is fast as well as inexpensive, however, if the quantity is less than above then digital printing is a viable option. This is because the material of business cards is of a thicker and more durable quality than printing pages. These quality cards are used because of their durability to endure wear and tear better. Moreover, these cards also give a more luxurious tactile exhibition creating an immediate feel-good impression when touched. Although it is as important to provide a look-good visual aid as it is to provide a feel-good tactile aid.
However, before making it visually attractive one should keep in mind to include basic and important details in a business card which include
Name and contact information
Both of these are two of the most basic pieces of information that should be present on any business card. The name of the company as well as of the owner should be present on the card. The contact information can either contain a phone number or email id or both along with a physical address.
Putting the company’s logo is important as it not only gives a visual aid to the client but also gives your company an image when the thought of as the first thing that an individual makes imagery of after thinking about the brand is the brand logo (Think of Mcdonalds, did you first make imagery of its logo that is the ‘M’?).
Company Tagline and Your Position
Company Tagline is an important component of your business card as looking at it the client should immediately be able to decipher what your company does. Likewise, putting your role or position in the company is an equally important detail on the card. If some space is left you could also add the services or products that your company provides (but beware to not clutter your business card)
Social Media Handle or Website
Adding your company’s website, LinkedIn profile, or social media handle is a good thought so that clients can get access to the information of your company through the information modes they are comfortable with. But be mindful to promote only those social media handles that are relevant to your company’s branding.
How to make your business card stand out?
Apart from adding the basic details to your business cards, you could add some components that could help add a touch of innovation to your business card or make them stand out.
QR Codes Videos
One could add a QR code to the back of the business card which contains a link to an interesting video that explains something about the company, what they do or services they provide as well as their vision.
Business Card Materials
The company can portray its creativity by having business cards of materials other than paper like wood, metal, recycled paper, or even foods (i.e. edible cards as some foods are print-friendly; and for those which are not one can print on the wrapper). This way the business cards will grab the attention quickly and be memorable.
If you are owning a small business like stickers, nail art, cosmetics, etc. you could add a minimal discount coupon at the back of the business card so all those who receive it and show it to the company can avail of the offer once. This not only is a good business strategy to attract clients but also a good way for the clients to hold onto the business card and even experience your service.
Orientation Switch and Round Corners
If you do not wish to make major additions to stand out (which you feel could cost you heavily) try making minimal changes to the design of your business card that the client could still notice like changing the orientation of content in the card from landscape to portrait (vertical) or rounding the corners of the business card. It is not much but it is surely unconventional from what people have a habit to see. However, you need to make sure that you do not cramp up the information on the card as you have less space available with vertical orientation.
The process of putting clear liquid on top of a business card and hardening through UV light exposure also known as UV coating is often used to make the card eye catchy. Its glossy finish makes it attractive while also making it comparatively more resistant to fade, scratch and tear than a regular card.
Supplementarily, the color of the business card also plays an important role in its enhancement. There’s no compulsion to use only white for business cards, various colors can be used to make it catchy. There could even be two different colors on the front and back. Additionally, it is observed that if one wants to make the card look elegant in an inexpensive way, the choice of color is crucial. For instance, having black business cards with gold or silver printing ink makes you look “luxurious on a budget”.
Lastly, having a business card that is cluttered with too much information could seem unpleasant to the client and too much to process making it look overdone. Therefore having white space on the card is a must as it is not visually taxing and easier on the reader’s eyes.
Not all business cards are created in the standard way some of them may be created in such a way that it becomes very hard to forget them and the brand that is advertised on them. TrendHunter and Forbes Advisor list some such examples where companies acquire business cards that are beyond expectations.
What to Avoid with Business Cards
Business cards make a great professional impression when handed to someone. However, a fault on a business card may also cause a dent in the same good impression created a while ago.
This bad impact could be caused by even the smallest mistakes like a typing error which could seem minute but could cause a lot of damage especially if found in contact information (and forgetting to add contact information altogether could lead to worse ramifications). Next, if the color scheme turns out to be illegible (dark font color on dark background) it could cause a lot of strain on readers’ eyes eventually causing them to lose interest. Another to keep in mind is avoiding outdated information on the card, the wrong information could cause a misunderstanding in the reader’s mind leading to a lack of trust. Furthermore, one needs to check the image quality and also the profile they have added on the card as bad image quality and an unprofessional profile equates to a poor impression.
In summation, a business card needs to be checked thoroughly before going into mass printing.
The last and most important thing advised on many websites is to avoid having just a QR code as your business card it is a waste of money and resources. The clients would have to waste time opening their devices and scanning the QR, might as well search type in the URL and search for you on the internet.
The future of business cards
Although, it seems that post covid business cards have started to become obsolete (their printing rate dropped by more than 70%) as they felt to be the carrier of germs. Moreover, the introduction of online client meets due to social distancing have led to the inaccessibility of always having a physical meeting. Additionally, research shows that eighty-eight percent of business cards are thrown away within a week, on top of which these cards are thrown by sixty-three percent of the population because they feel that they do not require the service.
So are business cards bound to become extinct?
No, they are yet far from extinction. All they need is to step up with this technological era and modify themselves a bit, thus becoming digital.
Individuals and organizations nowadays have shifted to digital business cards also known as electronic business cards (or e-business cards), where the design and colors are still the same but have transformed into a digital form. There are numerous perks of using digital business cards, some of which include that you don’t need to be face-to-face or in person with the prospective client. Moreover, they are trackable that is you can access the number of people that accessed the business card. Adding to this, they are easier on the pocket having a fraction of the cost of creating paper business cards and what’s more, is that they can be easily updated without the need to reprint and older versions going to waste.
Research conducted by Market Research Future reports that between 2022 and 2030 the market of digital business cards could advance at the rate of 6.9 percent, subsequently, reaching an approximate rate of six billion us dollars by the 2030 year-end. People believe that these digital business cards are the future since they are cost-efficient, easy to share, eco-friendly, etc. all of this while maintaining the traditional pattern of exchanging business cards (just through phones now!), while also making the clients feel that the company is up to date with the new technology.
Business Cards: Digital vs Physical
The paragraphs above have provided in detail information about paper as well as digital business cards. Therefore the table below will show a brief comparison of the two, to sum up their benefits and drawbacks.
|Digital Business Cards||Physical Business Cards|
|Environment Friendly: can be stored in phones and doesn’t need to be printed||Can be damaging to the environment (do not shred them as shredded ones are difficult to recycle) unless printed on recycled paper|
|Needs a device and many times a stable internet connection to access||Present in a physical form, with no need for an internet connection or an electronic device|
|More budget-friendly as compared to physical||Less cost-efficient and even more damaging to the wallet if there is a need for reprinting|
|Can be updated easily||In order to update needs to be reprinted which makes it expensive while also including the stress of redistribution|
|Does not involve the old-school personal touch||Seems more personal, and a mini advertising billboard to whoever looks at it in the owner’s wallet.|
|Can contain interactive elements to entertain the client||Cannot possess such elements since physical but can be printed on different textures (chocolate, meat, wood) or in different forms (blocks, bottle opener, screwdriver)|
Interesting Business Card Etiquette about Japan
Business cards in Japan are known as meishi and exchanging business cards is an important and valued business etiquette in Japan. Some of the etiquette that one needs to keep in mind when conducting business with Japanese clients is that those ranking the highest in the organizational hierarchy should exchange their cards first followed by the descending order.
You should be prepared before the meeting to have as many business cards as there are attendees because running out of business cards is a bad impression in their culture, along which you cannot pull the business card from your pocket. You need to have a cardholder. Next, you offer your business card with your right hand and a bow, and make sure not to cover the name or logo. Following this you accept the other individual’s card with both hands and thank them (again no covering name or logo). Then you examine the card and make sure you understand everything, if a doubt occurs do not hesitate to ask. Repeat the same process until everyone’s cards are exchanged. It is impolite to put the card away during a meeting however if you have a lot then politely excuse yourself and add all of them to the cardholder.
Lastly, writing on the business card that you received is considered rude, so avoid that. This is all you need to know about the business card etiquette of Japan in order to have an impactful and successful meeting with them.
Now you know that business cards are still worth it even in the technology-powered era. They are some of the important and old traditional marketing tools of business that are here to stay and will modify (digitalize) themselves according to the evolving world.
People Also Ask
In the following section, the article covers the frequently asked questions on the internet
Q: Which type of business card is the best?
Answer – Those business cards coated with a surface sealant look the best due to their durability, shine, and ink absorbency.
Q: What do M, C, O, D, and F mean on a business card?
Answer – ‘M’ stands for a mobile number, likewise ‘C’ also stands for a cell phone number, ‘F’ means fax, ‘O’ means office, and ‘D’ means department.
Q: Business card size in pixels
Answer – A standard business card size is 1050 x 600 pixels.
Q: Can I leave a business card in a mailbox?
Answer- No, it is illegal/against federal law to put anything except for official United States mail in the mailbox
Q: Is 350GSM good for a business card?
Answer-The full form of GSM is grams per square meter and it is used to weigh paper. The greater the GSM volume, the thicker the paper will be; therefore 350 GSM would be good for a business card if wish to have a more durable business card.
Q: Is it rude to ask for a business card?
Answer-No it is not rude to ask for a business card but you need to have a conversation (you cannot ask any random person directly to give you their business card) and wait for it to end before asking for a business card as this will show that you are genuinely interesting in the individual conversation and don’t just want to acquire the card.
Q: How many business cards can fit on an A4?
Answer- According to the standard size of a business card, an A4 sheet can hold around 8-10 business cards.
Q: Can I put my business card on cars?
Answer: The legal repercussions of putting business cards on cars vary from place to place. It is allowed in some places while in others one could be arrested or fined for doing. Especially if it is private property the legal owner can press charges or have you removed.
Tell us how you feel about business cards in the comments below!
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