Five surprising reasons you (still) need a business card

Have you noticed how business cards have become unfashionable of late?

In our push to digitise everything, it seems the humble business card has gone to the big dumpster in the sky (also known as The Cloud).

Here’s what I hear people say these days:

  • “Look me up on LinkedIn.”
  • “I don’t use cards.”
  • “Google me.”

I may be missing something here but there’s more than one problem associated with asking people to ‘look me up’ on Linkedin or ‘Google me.’

First up, if I’ve just met you at 7:49 pm on a Wednesday night at a busy business event, how will I remember your name to look you up on LinkedIn the next day?

And if by chance I do remember your name and I do get time to look you up, if I get one letter wrong in spelling your name, I won’t be able to find you. (Well, I could if I really tried but who has the time?).

The other problem?

In the course of an evening, I’ve met potentially dozens of people who have also told me to “Look them up!” How will I remember them all? The truth is, I won’t. So many lost opportunities simply because cards were not exchanged.

(And don’t get me started on those who break out their mobile there and then and expect me to spell out my name while they attempt to find me on LinkedIn.)

In our rush to digitise everything, it seems we’ve forgotten that business cards play a much greater role than just conveying contact details.

Here are five surprising reasons why business cards are still important.

Business cards:

  1. Hang around. Business cards are a marketing tool that helps us remember someone long after the event is over. Many of us hold onto cards for a long time, even if they’re sitting in a drawer somewhere. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had calls from people (who I can’t remember meeting), saying, “I found your business card and…”)
  2. Are memory joggers. It’s much easier to remember someone when you have their card in front of you. Colour, content and visuals help us connect the person to the card.
  3. Promote your business. Business cards serve as a branding device that helps others understand what we do and how we do it. It conveys our point of difference.
  4. Make it easy to get in touch quickly. Sometimes people just want to ring you (yes, I know, how novel!) and if they can instantly find your number, they’re more likely to ring you. That’s how quick sales get made.
  5. Reinforce credibility. It’s one thing to say you’re a copywriter but having “copywriter” written on a card adds credence to the fact. Just seeing it in print can help build your confidence. It gives your prospect confidence too.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-digital or anti-LinkedIn. My two books Secrets of Online Entrepreneurs and How to Build an Online Business are both still selling well (years after release) and both celebrate the digital age and all the advantages that go with it.

It’d be naive to not use the online tools available to us. But not everything needs to be digitised and made invisible. A business card is one of them.

If you’re a copywriter and you want to build credibility and make it easy for people to get in touch with you, then having a business card is still the fastest, cheapest and easiest way to do it.

Bernadette Schwerdt, founder, the Australian School of Copywriting and author of “Secrets of Online Entrepreneurs”

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