While there was a time when it seemed like every person couldn’t hand out their business cards fast enough and everyone had a collection of various cards gathering dust in their wallets, it seems that the popularity of business cards is finally starting to wane. While the explosion of business cards a decade ago was at times overwhelming and oversaturated, by no means are business cards dead today. In fact, there are many situations, settings, and cultures where business cards are still relevant. The way society uses business cards now, however, has slightly evolved in the past ten years.
Businesses are choosing quality over quantity of transactions.
A decade ago, entrepreneurs may have handed out their business cards to every person they met in hopes that a few of them would convert. After years of trying this method, it’s apparent that a one-dimensional card isn’t the only factor that potential clients or network partners use to determine whether or not they will work with you. Today, a personal connection is often made before a business card is ever passed off. People who have experienced a positive interaction with someone are more likely to keep the card than those who haven’t.
Creative designs are helping businesses stand out.
Business cards used to be quite basic. After collecting a myriad of similar looking white cards, they all start to blend together to a potential client. To stand out, businesses are now getting creative with the design and look of their business cards. Not only is color a big deal now, but different shapes, interactive cards, and even see-through cards are more popular now than ever before. Unexpected and creative touches to a business card help clients remember the giver and can help promote a brand even further. Especially unique cards may even get shared dozens of times on social media, furthering brand promotion.
Information shared is evolving.
Most business cards contain basic contact information such as phone number and email, along with the name of the person, the name of the business, and the website. However, with the rise of social networking, professional social media accounts are a must-list for modern business cards. People are more likely to find a company on a social media channel than keep a business card anyway, so many businesses are using their cards to bridge this gap instead. Professional headshots and calls to action are also commonly included on business cards today, as they are still widely used in a business’ marketing plan.
Touched on above, handing out business cards to everyone and anyone is no longer considered an effective strategy. Businesses are now focusing on creating personal connections before passing off their contact information to a potential client or network partner. Instead of having a business card be the beginning, middle, and end of an interaction with someone, they are saved for the good-byes after a conversation has been had if the person wants to keep in touch. A decade ago, business cards held little value because everyone got one. Now, business cards are mainly given to people most likely to keep them and use them.
Business cards are still viewed as the most professional hand-off of contact information, and it can be embarrassing to a business owner when they are caught without one when asked. Even with digital sharing of information, business cards are still the quickest and easiest way to exchange information, especially with certain audiences and in certain settings.
Business cards are used within rather than outside of a company.
In large companies, employees are often given their own set of business cards. This can be helpful for promoting the business when they are off the clock. However, they are also helpful for a quick exchange of information with co-workers in other departments. Increasingly, it is becoming common for employees to utilize their business cards this way, especially if they are somewhere away from their computer or phone.
The way business cards were used in the past is certainly dead, and we are probably better off because of it. However, today’s adaptive business cards are still very much useful, especially when a unique element is incorporated into the design or they are given to the right people. If business cards aren’t working for a business, it may be time to update them!