What do you consider your most important piece of marketing material? Your catalog? Your packaging? Your advertisements? Your social media accounts? How about your business card? Is that still as important as it once was or has it been replaced with LinkedIn and other contact apps?
Historically, your business card has often been the first impression of your company and yourself. Although they may not always be a first impression any more, with so many of us ‘meeting’ and networking online; I would argue that they are still a critical part of your marketing arsenal.
Things change, business evolves, and the world keeps turning. This is also true with business cards. Their presentation and strategy may have changed, but their purpose is still the same. They are no longer always the first way to exchange contact information. However, they now have much more potential.
I’ve always advocated for attractive and accurate business cards. Now, it’s even more important that they make a good impression because they are much more than just a card with your phone number on it. They really are an extension of your brand.
That being said, make sure that your cards mirror the brand you are portraying everywhere else. Make sure the colors match, the look is the same, the wording and taglines match up. The last thing you want to do is create a disconnect. Your card should match your website, social media channels, and other marketing materials.
Physically presenting your business card to someone is a great opportunity in itself. If you are at a meeting, an event, or a conference, try to take advantage of the opportunity as much as possible. Know your audience and make sure your card is in line with that. Make sure that your card is going to build on the in-person impression that you just made. Face-to-face interaction is still important even for those of us who conduct most of our business online.
Sometimes, I’m sure; you will distribute cards without meeting someone first. Then, the card may truly be a first impression. Obviously, you’ll want to make sure it’s accurate and without typos. And, you’ll want to make sure that it’s attention grabbing in some way, but not an over the top obnoxious way. Keep it simple, clean and memorable.
One of the most common ways that I get new clients is through referrals. Business cards are a fantastic way to improve on this. If you have a regular referral program, you can give your clients business cards to pass along. On the other hand, if you have an organization that you work with regularly and want to suggest them to someone, having their business card on hand can be extremely helpful in helping you to pass along the correct contact information.
Think about the last time you exchanged business cards with someone. Was it recently? Was it memorable? What’s the most memorable business card you’ve ever been given? Was it practical? Did you keep it?
In a time when smartphones and technology are replacing printed materials, I’m still a fan of the printed business card. I think that a physical piece that you can actually hold onto is valuable for many reasons. It’s not just a point of reference but a branding opportunity and another way to make an impression. Do you agree or disagree?
Dawn Berryman is the founder of MarketMommy.com and Market Mommy:: The Blog, online marketing resources for mom entrepreneurs. Market Mommy shows moms how and where to market their businesses. She holds a B.A. from Indiana University and has worked in the marketing/communications field for more than 11 years. She resides in rural Ohio with her husband and three children. For more information, please see: Market Mommy.