Are You Playing With a Full Deck?

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With the advent of electronic banking, you still wouldn’t leave home without your trusty credit card. And if you think that the digital age has made the paper and ink business card a thing of the past, you may want to ask yourself some of the following questions:

Have you ever had feelings of inadequacy?

Don’t limit yourself. Be prepared for every networking opportunity. Not everyone has a smart phone or the latest app to easily upload your digital information. Anyone can take a printed business card, so be prepared to go analog. Whether your give out your card at a convention, meeting, or chance encounter—your business card is more than just a little piece of paper—it’s a vital marketing tool. It’s often the first contact your prospect has with your brand.

Excuse me, could I get your number?

It’s your business, so don’t play hard to get. And just as an obnoxious flirt will likely spend the night alone—a card that’s over-the-top is also a turn off. Keep it simple. Think of your audience, what you want them to know, and how you want them to feel about your brand. Finally, get to the point and put the most important items first. Place your key information and preferred method of contact up front, and leave extras like your URL or tagline on the back.

Have I seen you somewhere before?

A well-designed business card is like leaving a trail of jellybeans leading back to your business. In fact, it’s one of the few pieces of collateral that never gets thrown away. I once worked for someone who literally had thousands of business cards, bundled in rubber bands, and stored for “safe keeping” in his desk. But, whenever he came across a card that really stood out in his mind, he’d show it to everyone in the office like it was a priceless collectible.

Hey, Buddy, can you spare a dime?

If you’ve ever felt the dread of being approached by a salesman in a cheap suit, you may want to reconsider cutting corners on the printing and design of your card. While you can find bargain-basement solutions for digitally printing your card online, it’s important to realize you’re sacrificing quality to save 25¢ per card. After all, have you ever taken a whiff of those discount “just like designer” perfumes?

Want to try something new?

Designing a digital version of your card is a complement and not a replacement for the printed version. Sure, you could just scan your card and transfer the contact information to your smart phone, but why not take the opportunity to add a little finesse? It will show that you understand the latest trends—and that you know how to translate your brand into new media. You probably didn’t scan your brochure to create your Web site. Give your business card the same respect. Design with the specific medium in mind, and you will see better results.

The printed business card is definitely not an endangered species. However, if you ignore its potential, you may go the way of the eight-track. When you take the time to invest the same care in designing your card that you would for your Web site, packaging, or advertising—it will strengthen your presence and help make sure that you stay on the radar.

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