Several months ago we published an introductory article on business cards, covering their history, their relevance in our digital age, and their essential characteristics. Let’s quickly re-familiarise ourselves with some of the important points to remember.
Things to remember about business cards …
- they’ve been around for a long time! There is some evidence that they originated in China as long ago as the 15th Century, but certainly an early version was in widespread use in Europe by the 17th Century as a ‘Visiting Card’
- so it might be said that they have staying power
- 10 billion business cards are printed each year just in the United States!
- Over 27 million cards are printed a day across the globe
- 90% of business cards are discarded in less than a week, broken down as follows:
- 63% don’t need the service provided by the card giver
- 24% don’t want to do business with the specific card giver
- 9% added the information into a digital contact list (so, importantly, retained the details just no longer needed the card)
- 4% for other unspecified reasons
- If the card has colour and/or an interesting design, people will hold onto it up to ten times longer
- For every 2,000 business cards distributed, a company’s sales will increase by 2.5%
- Over 90% of small business owners believe that giving out business cards has brought in new business
- Almost 50% of small business owners are giving out more business cards than ever before!
But why are they so popular in this digital age?
Like we said last time, there are some very practical reasons notwithstanding some of the return on investment statistics above:
- the small size of the card which can be kept in a purse or wallet and be readily accessible (and stored digitally later if required)
- their use as a reminder or memento
- their use as a “who’s who?” if you’re in a meeting with people you’ve never met before and you arrange the cards in front of you carefully
- perhaps most importantly of all the mutual recognition and invitation to stay in touch.
So what do we need to look out for?
Well, clearly you want your business cards to work for you, so here are four challenges to meet:
- Business cards are inefficient. See the statistics above – yes a lot of them get discarded quickly, but make sure you give them to potential buyers of your products and services and make them interesting too … and you’ll find them a whole lot more efficient than using emails (where only 20% will be opened and only 5% will click through to your site)
- Business cards are wasteful. As we’ve said, a large part of the problem is making sure you give them to the right people – which is also far more likely to build a relationship than sending an email! And remember that paper and card are easily and cheaply transported and recycled too.
- Business cards are boring. They can be, of course, and many of them are … but they don’t have to be. To quote Lena Martin: “Most televisions spew out mindless garbage, but that’s not the fault of the TV manufacturer.” Quite! Be memorable, engaging, different, innovative and creative (MEDIC) – and see what your business cards will do for you J
- Business cards are irrelevant. The statistics prove otherwise. Yes we’re in a digital age, but the business card still has a huge and important role to play – and can complement smart-phones, tablets, Facebook and so on
So how do I get brilliant business cards that people will keep?
Well, for starters you’re in the right place. Think carefully about what we’ve said, remember our MEDIC acronym … and when you’ve done all that click here and take a look at the options available. or give us a call on 020 8449 6688 and prepare to be delighted!