5 reasons business cards still cut it
Before exploring why business cards are still as relevant as ever, let’s go back in time. Way back.
The jury’s still out on their exact origin. Both China and France lay claim to having invented early “calling” or “visiting” cards used during social visits dating back as far as the late 16th Century. In Europe, these early forms of asserting social status were used by the wealthy elite to request meetings with other members of the upper class. And, not surprisingly, by their servants to announce a distinguished guest’s arrival at their stately home. In mid-17th Century London, people right across the social spectrum had adopted these cards. At that time, not all streets had names or numbers, so “trade cards” with maps and directions were essential to show customers how to find a shop or workshop.
One thing for sure is that business cards show no signs of becoming obsolete, even after more than 300 years. Despite numerous advances in technology, including mobile applications that create and manage digital business cards, the physical version is as popular as ever.
So, in a digital age, why are paper business cards still so relevant?
These five timeless qualities could be the secret to the business card’s stubborn longevity.
Networking is about making authentic and longstanding connections. Although sending contact information via text or email is convenient, it’s also quite impersonal. Handing over your business card while maintaining eye contact and conversation is a much more personal approach. First impressions count, and your body language is one of the most influential factors in creating rapport with people the first time you meet them.
Phone batteries die. And this only gets worse as your device slows with age and countless software updates. Annoyingly, your battery tends to fail when you need access to your digital information on the go. Business cards don’t suffer this fate. And since they don’t require batteries or a reliable 4G connection, they work for you around the clock.
Your business card serves as a personal reminder that doesn’t get lost in the digital clutter of social media posts and endless emails. The exchange of business cards is a valuable interaction between you and new contacts and often acts as your introduction. The physical characteristics of your card, like texture and paper weight, influence the associations people have with your company in the same way you may subconsciously judge someone by their handshake when you meet them.
As Jeff Nulsen, VP of Product at Vistaprint, points out, “LinkedIn and smartphones do a good job of serving the functional need of helping you network and trade information, but neither competes with the emotional and social element that business cards deliver. These often tend to be the aspects that people have the hardest time with. When you create a business card, you’re not only buying a piece of paper with your logo and contact information on it. You’re projecting your company and personal image for the world to see.”