I have heard many people say that business cards are obsolete and so it is time to get rid of them. I disagree. Strongly.
What are the alternatives?
There are, essentially two alternatives to a business card. The first is to share the information through some app, bump for example. The second is to ask people to remember how to find you. While a lot of people do have smart phones, not everyone does. And if the person does have a smart phone, it doesn’t mean she is using an application like bump. Asking someone to remember how to find you is a big mistake. On a busy day, I am lucky if I remember what I eat for lunch. And if an email address or phone number isn’t precise, the person will not be able to find you, and you might well lose a client.
We need to be remembered and findable
You cannot ask people to actively search for you. They won’t. And if your SEO isn’t good or you have a common name, forget it, potential clients won’t be able to find you.
This is why I prefer a business card. Someone hands me a card. I go home and scan the card or just type the information into my contacts in Outlook. Since I am on Exchange, my contacts automatically go to my various computers along with my phone. Everything is backed up. No risk of loss.
Business cards can stay in your face and are passed along
At the end of a seminar I am often surrounded by people asking for my contact information; as well as people who have questions. I can help the people who want my contact information by reaching in my pocket, pulling out a card and handing it over. Quick and done. Then I can go back to answering questions. Imagine if I had to pull out my phone, go to an app, and share the information that way. Or if I had to tell the person to write down my information or I had to write it down for her. No one can read my handwriting. If I write it down, forget it, the person won’t ever find me.
People can forward on your cards. It is not at all uncommon for attorneys to get business when one client, who already put the attorney’s contact information in her system, hands the card off to a relative or friend. You can provide a stack of business cards to a person or set them out at a location. You cannot do that with a cell phone app.
Sometimes people call months later. Business cards can sit on the fridge, reminding people to contact you. I had a magnet business card for my dog sitter on my fridge for about a year before I called her. Had I put her name in my phone I never would have remembered her. The card nudged my mind.
Business cards aren’t that expensive
If you are concerned about the cost of business cards, look around for inexpensive rates. A lot of folks print their own cards. The card doesn’t need to be top of the line. We aren’t talking the scene from American Psycho here, where the folks are bragging about their cards.
What should be on your card?
If you want a simple card, just include the following items:
Logo – if you have one
If you want to add more, feel free, but as long as you have the basics, people will be able to find you.
Here is the card Ellen designed for Freedman Consulting. People frequently comment on it. I think she did a nice job. The cost for about 1000 cards, 500 for each of us, was quite inexpensive from Vista Print. As it happens, the back of our card lists a lot of our services. But we aren’t sure we will leave that information on.
Until there is some other way to make it easy for people to remember you when you meet them in person, don’t get rid of your business cards. Business cards simply remain one of the most important marketing tools any attorney, consultant or business professional can have.