Last week American Express OPEN Forum posted a blog about how your next business card could be virtual and how the business card is close to its inevitable demise. While a lot of our everyday business products are going virtual, such as online fax and virtual PBX, I’m a firm believer that business cards are still viable tools in the business world. Why? Read on.
Business Cards are Accessible to Everyone
Yes, while millions of people are scrambling to get their iPhone 4.0 and millions more have other Smartphones, not everyone has welcomed the 21st century yet. I know plenty of employees who do not have a fancy phone and still rely on passing out business cards to potential clients.
Business cards are incredibly easy to hand out and more convenient than having an expensive phone for many small business owners who are trying to cut down costs. While iPhone apps like Bump are pretty cool (who doesn’t want to bump iPhones with each other?), isn’t it much easier to simply hand your card over to the person you’re speaking with rather than have to both have your cell phone in hand?
Not only are business cards easy for networking and having on hand, but think about meeting a prospective client for the first time. Normally when you give them your business card, it’s while you’re in the middle of a conversation or on the way out of one. The passing of cards does not disrupt the flow of your conversation, but digging for your phone and inputting information definitely does.
Plus, in my case, I have an easier time remembering someone when I have something tangible in my hand, not an impersonal virtual card sent to my phone. This is especially true for common names, such as John Smith, where a quick Google search or Facebook sleuthing will yield nothing useful.
Business Cards Speak Volumes about Your Creativity
If you’re in a creative field, you NEED to have business cards. Hands down. No ifs, ands, or buts. Clients will be more likely to work with you if they can actually see what you can do. Don’t pass up a chance to make a lasting first impression.
Business cards aren’t merely a way to get your information across; they are also great marketing tools. Creating unique business cards is a way to make an impression and be remembered. Until you can create kick ass virtual business cards, nothing will take the place in having creative and visually pleasing cards. Make sure to show your personality and have all of the pertinent information on your card.
Business Cards are Steeped in Ritual
“The card is universal. There’s this ritual that would be a shame to lose because we could push a button and electronically transmit the information,” says Peter Post, the director of the Emily Post Institute, in a Globe and Mail article. Not only are business cards marketing tools, but they are definitely a part of a business tradition. There’s something so personal about passing your card out, and I can’t imagine simply just sending a virtual card through my phone instead.
Business card rituals are even more important overseas, especially in China and Japan. In China, it’s proper to present your business card with both hands but not to write on another person’s card. Also, using gold ink is considered auspicious. In India, it’s correct etiquette to use only your right hand to give and receive business cards. And, in Japan exchanging business cards is ceremonial. Cards are received with both hands but only given with one and are treated as an extension of the person, so they are given the upmost respect.
How would these rituals survive in a virtual business card society?
If you own a business, you need a business card—and your own website Creating and ordering business cards is now easier than ever with several online business card sites. Read more about popular business card printing companies.