Why Business Cards Are Not Dead and How to Create Great Ones

Business Cards Are Not Dead

When it comes to business cards, I am reminded of a chapter in my book, Pioneers of Digital, where the fabulous Avinash Kaushik talks about how he tested his famous blog – Occam’s Razor – on his wife and fellow work colleagues to get their feedback before he went public with it.

Well, when I started Delightful Communications, I decided to canvas industry peers about many aspects of my start-up, including marketing. What I found was that many people singled out business cards as a no-no. They’d scoff and say, “I don’t need to carry business cards, they’re out-of-date in this digital age.”

business card

Curiously, this happens to be a through-line in many people’s minds (having done some research on the interwebz). So I set out to prove them wrong and decided to focus on quality, impact, and how business cards might improve my personal brand.

What I found over time was that business cards are not dead – they’re evolving. In fact, a Wall Street Journal article on business cards found that several creative networkers and entrepreneurs are moving toward the use of oddball cards. These DIY business cards feature unusual shapes and materials – some even hand out metal business cards – in the hopes of standing out to potential clients.

 

My Journey to a Custom Business Card

To reach this conclusion, I embarked on a bit of a journey. Convinced that a physical marketing/communication tool could still be of value (even in a digital industry), I asked some friends on Facebook and, although most people called out Vistaprint, I’d always been a fan of Moo  Cards, so decided to try out some of theirs.

Beginning with their mini-cards, I actually designed several different versions and at a networking event would give people a choice, making a mental note of the design and color scheme as we chatted.

But then I discovered their Moo Luxe Business Card and was immediately sold!

Business Cards

Front of Moo Luxe Business Cards

I just knew they were right for my brand and, while not cheap to print (up to twice as much as regular ones), they were simply stunning and nowhere near what I was quoted for singularly printed cards on fantastic quality cardstock.

Create Business Cards

Back of Moo Luxe Business Cards

What made me even more sure I was embarking on the right path was my wife Ashley’s reaction to the thickness. As you can see below, these custom business cards have different colored “seams” running through them, and she worried people might think there were two of them stuck together. This wasn’t a problem for me as people end up spending more time with it, feeling the thickness, getting tactile with the Delightful brand, and then realizing it’s just a really good quality business card that simply and elegantly tells the holder exactly what services I provide and where they can get a hold of me.

Biz Cards

Triple Thickness and a Colourful Seam

What I have found is that it’s a great conversation starter, and people have said that my Delightful business card means they instantly recollect our conversation and many can’t bear to throw it away (because it just feels expensive and not disposable).

Business Card Tips

Delivered in a Pretty Business Card Box

Business Card Tweet

Thanks, John Lee

This post was inspired by John Lee after attending the Hanapin Marketing Hero Conference. He kindly Tweeted the above a few days after meeting me and chatting at the event.

A digital call out about a physical marketing tool that many people are saying is dead.

Have I proved them wrong?

6 Tips for Business Cards & Personal Branding

Here are my tips for your business card and how it can improve your personal brand:

  • Invest in good quality printing and cardstock. Cheap tools make you look cheap.
  • Keep it simple. You don’t need to put every contact detail on it. Tailor them to your audience. You wouldn’t expect to find a funeral director’s Facebook username on his card, or a LinkedIn username on a cabaret singer’s.
  • Hand it over with both hands. The Japanese do this, and it really helps focus the receiver to take a good look.
  • Think of a story to tell while you’re handing it over. A story that reinforces you and your brand. I talk about the three parts of Delightful – Social Media, Digital PR, and Personal Branding – a 30-second elevator pitch while they’re checking both sides of the card.
  • Get the receiver’s card as well and ask them questions about their business. People like to talk, but in general are not great self-promoters, so showing an interest when you have their card in your hand and giving them an opportunity to sell themselves will endear yourself to them AND you might actually learn something!
  • Follow up after the event. An email or a tailored LinkedIn request will keep you connected should you want to develop the relationship further at some time in the future.

So what are your thoughts? Do you think business cards are dead? Where do you get your cards? Got any tips on how best to use them in networking situations?

Do comment below and please share this post!

And don’t forget to:
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Cheers

Mel Carson Founder & Principal Strategist

6 Comments

  • Nicole Bullock

    I am a fan of Moo Cards too, and have done several different business card orders through their site. I do agree with John, you do have classy cards and are a classy guy! I’ve got your card from SMX West tucked away at my desk for safe keeping.

    I’ve noticed that over the last few years, fewer people are handing out business cards as a rule. It’s more likely that someone will ask for your Twitter handle and follow you on the spot. I rarely will give out a card without having a conversation and establishing a personal connection. I’d much rather have fewer cards from people I’ve bonded with, than a purse full of cards of people I won’t remember.

  • Mel Carson

    Thanks Nicole. Handing out a business card is just like advertising. You want a positive outcome and we know that often comes from being engaging. So you having that conversation makes that interaction memorable and enhances your personal brand for further interaction down the line. The key at a networking event is to be memorable and I think we’re showing how biz cards can help do that.

  • John Lee

    Mel,

    Great post. Glad I inspired you! When dealing with face-to-face communication, anything you can do to *tastefully* leave a lasting impression is a good thing. And business cards are a simple, but effective way to do that. It’s fun that we can start to throw psychology and physiology into a marketing discussion. The relationship between touch and memory is huge – and if your business card will keep you top of mind, then why wouldn’t you go for the classy cards?!?!?

  • Mel Carson

    Touch! Yes!

  • Christi Olson

    Long live the business card. I keep the business cards I receive at conferences, including your awesome moo luxe business cards, Mel. But then again, how could someone forget you and your charming personality and style. I love your card for the classy factor, but I also love Nicole’s (@cuteculturechick) mini moo cards that include her photo along with social contact information. Both of your cards are great examples of using Moo to represent your brand and style.
    There are two things that I found key to my networking at conference and events:
    First, I keep a pen on hand and to write something I learned about the individual directly on the business card. If the individual had a specific question that I could follow up with later I’d jot it down with at least one personal tidbit to reference in my follow up email.
    Second, in LinkedIn I’ll edit the Contact Section with personal notes on where/how I met the individual, what company they were with at the time, and the fun fact/tidbit. It helps me so that if in the future a coworker or colleague asks me about someone I’m connected to on LinkedIn I’ll be able to remember the details several years down the road.

  • Justin Romack

    I can’t imagine attending an event without a few business cards tucked away. They’re definitely not confetti to throw at anyone and everyone in the vicinity. . I try to ad value to the business card by giving the recipient something to remember me by when they look at it after the fact. *THAT’S* the lost art…

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