These days, social media and LinkedIn really do rule the business world. There are a thousands articles out there telling you how to position your business online, but do you give enough thought to offline?
People often think that so long as you have a strong online presence, you’re covering all of your bases for networking. While there’s just no doubt that your digital activity can help promote your brand, there’s a lot to be said for more traditional, “low-tech” means of communication.
The humble business card is small but mighty when it comes to making lasting connections with people in the real world. While often overlooked, business cards are still one of the most powerful networking tools you will ever own. Like a sweet pair of Ray-bans, business cards will never be out of style. Here’s why:
1. Business cards create brand awareness for your SME
There’s something about seeing a brand’s logo in print that makes it feel more legit than it would online. The reason is simple – there’s so much nonsense online that people no longer know what they can trust and what they can’t. Going to the trouble of getting some cards printed will set you apart from the crowd. That in itself is a strong move.
What you ideally want is for people to see your brand and instantly recognize it. That means that you need to create a genuine level of awareness for it. How do you do that? Well, having printed materials might just be the first step in your journey.
2. Some professionals don’t ‘get’ the digital world
When you’re out there, hustling for new business, you don’t want to close off any avenues. The truth of the matter is that there are some business owners and CEOs who just don’t get the online world. That could be because they are of a different generation or because they are scared of changes within the industry.
Whatever the reason, you have to cater to them. Cutting off a whole area of potential connections is ludicrous. If you want to get the most business out of people, you need to make yourself (and your company) as accessible as humanly possible.
3. You’ll be remembered at networking events
As a young professional, you absolutely should be attending networking sessions on a regular basis. So much is done online these days that often enough the ‘human aspect’ of the business world is lost. Never underestimate the value of face-to-face meetings with other business owners.
If you really want to excel when it comes to networking sessions, having business cards in your pocket might just be the way forward.
Why? Well, handing over a slick, printed card means that you will be memorable. It’s these small touches that set you aside from the crowd and ultimately gain you new clients.
4. You can use them to communicate your “USP”
What is the main message you want to get across when it comes to your business? What is your mission statement? What is your USP? (Unique selling proposition)
These are the questions you need to ask before you design your cards online. Once you know the answers, you can use the information to inform what you put across to people.
Business cards should do a lot more than just transfer your contact information. They should stand out and be little ambassadors for your company or personal brand. Need design inspiration? The web is full of resources to help you design a great business card.
5. They will never fail or be inaccessible
No one doubts the importance of technology, but sometimes it can fail us.
We’ve all experienced sites that won’t load, or WI-FI being down, so it’s great to have a marketing tool that’s actually tangible.
That’s where business cards come into play. Once you give another professional your card, they will always have access to you. Emails and bookmarks might disappear into the ether of the internet, but business cards are real.
6. Some cultures, like Hong Kong, rely heavily on business cards
Did you know that certain cultures rely on on business cards more than others? For example, if you travel to Hong Kong without business cards you might be in trouble, as both business and social networking rely heavily on business cards.
If someone offers you a business card in cultures like Hong Kong and you don’t give them one back, it’s unlikely that they will do business with you. It also infers that you are unprepared, or just not very important.
7. They add a personal touch to a meeting!
Finally, here’s perhaps the main reason that you should use business cards — they add a personal touch to pretty much any meeting. When you hand over one of these cards, you take the level of interaction up a notch, and make things personal.
It’s not just about adding someone on LinkedIn or exchanging email address; you’ve left them with a tangible little memento that they will keep.
One thing that has evolved with business cards is the price. In fact, the most popular online printing services now offer 500 of their premium cards for about $10, so their’s no reason to ever run out!- Please Share!