Just the Basics
What’s the most basic marketing tool everyone needs in business? Some might say, “a web site.” Admittedly, that’s almost a requirement today, but even more basic than that, what is the most elementary marketing tool you need? Answer: a business card.
The First Sophisticates
In Victorian times, anyone who was anyone had a calling card. Calling cards were printed with moveable type with simply the person’s name: Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So. Sometimes their address was printed on the card also. Calling cards were indispensable part of society in those days, and when a card was presented at the home of someone whom one hoped to meet, depending on that person’s inclination, the card and the social call might or might not be reciprocated. According to the standards of the time, one paid calls to people in one’s circle (or to those in circle into which one wanted to be admitted) during certain hours, on certain days, and relative to events like the birth of a child, a marriage, or a ball. Callers stayed for a prescribed amount of time, and left immediately when another caller was admitted.
Today’s Social Circles
Luckily today, at least among friends, we can just text something like: “where r u?” and dispense with the formalities. Right? Well, maybe if you’re under the age of 23.
For most professionals, having a business card is still very important for self-promotion, but unfortunately, is much overlooked. Business cards today contain much more information than calling cards: office phone, cell phone, email address, web site, Facebook page, Twitter handle. They are useful for sharing your contact information, of course that’s the main reason you give someone a card, but they are also helpful as physical reminders of you and the impression you made.
Being Memorable (a Card Helps)
You’ve probably done this: reviewed a stack of business cards after a tradeshow or a networking event and thought back on each person you met. What stands out in your memory is different based on what the encounter was like with each person. If you met 50 people in one day, you might not be able to associate each one with his or her corresponding card, but for most of them, something probably will stand out in your memory.
What about the people without cards? You probably forgot all about them. Hmmm… You don’t want this to happen to you if you are trying to build your business.
Tried and True Method: What Worked Then Still Works
What if you were new in London in 1872 and had no cards? Well first of all, if you were smart, you’d make sure you never ran out of cards. You would be completely incommunicado without. Not only would you be unable to call on anyone’s home or business, upon meeting others, you would be unable to exchange cards. What would that say about you?
Well things are much different now, and since we’re not so formal anymore, many people don’t think twice about not having business cards. Don’t let this be you! We may not be as formal but we still have a use for cards! I can’t believe how many times I have had a friendly conversation with someone about his or her business, asked for a card, and then learned that they don’t have one on them. This happens to me all of the time. Other times, a person I might have a card with a couple of numbers crossed off and others handwritten in ink. That is just sad. Business cards are just not so expensive that it should be difficult to 1) keep some on you and 2) hand out versions with all current information.
In Summary, Why Business Cards Are Important
Being ready with your business card is not difficult, it’s not expensive, it makes a great impression, provides your contact information and could win you future business. Your card can be a stand-in for a more involved marketing piece such as a brochure. If you are at a booth, desk, table, farm stand, workbench or any other setup, providing business cards is a wise thing to do. Why not provide a means for people who can’t talk to you right then to get ahold of you or find your business later? If your business card directs people to your web site or helps them contact you via email or phone later, it’s done its job.
Not to be overlooked in today’s sophisticated digital age, business cards are a great place to include a QR code that links either to your contact information, your web site, or some special offer. But don’t let that suggestion intimidate you. First things first. Having people remember you, learn your name (or your business name) and know how to contact you later is the point of a business card. Although its roots may be formal and old-fashioned, cards have an important role still today.
How to Get Help (If You Need It)
If you need help designing, re-designing, updating or otherwise ordering business cards, don’t wait another minute. AlphaGraphics has the paper, the equipment, and the graphic designers to get you going with a card you’ll be proud to hand out. We can help you with anything you need in this arena. With your new cards, you’ll surely be admitted to the finest social circles!