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 They’d scoff and say, “I don’t need to carry business cards, they’re out-of-date in this digital age.”
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!
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.
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.
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).
Delivered in a Pretty Business Card Box
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?
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Mel Carson Founder & Principal Strategist