The future of the business card exchange is secured by our need to use them and their increasing ability to link the real and digital worlds.
We love our rituals. We are nostalgic. We are also on the “Go” these days, just ask Nintendo, a company that recently proved we embrace brands we deem iconic, especially when they evolve with the times and add a little augmented reality. The sharing of business cards is a deeply engrained professional ritual that defines how we determine trust. A physical exchange and eye contact are part of this ritual and it provides a moment to get a read on another human being that no computer can replicate.
Traditional business cards may be called “old school” but those within the printing industry can attest to their continued demand in this digital age, much like the handshake or the business lunch. Business cards are a tangible reminder and physical proof that we met someone in person rather than scrolling and saving their data. These printed classics elicit memories that serve us in a way that monotonous smartphone contact lists cannot replace.
Business cards, in all their personalized shapes, sizes, and designs tell our stories in a flash and are a timeless part of what it means to be a respected professional. They have only picked up steam in demand with the addition of digitally printed cards that include QR codes, NFC technology and the augmented reality component that has fattened Nintendo’s stock value recently. These “digital links” escort people as they explore you and your business across the wider landscape of your integrated marketing campaign.
The finely printed business card is evolving to include portals to digital channels, threading itself into the modern era as the printing industry expands to include contemporary applications. Think of your business card as a little ambassador of your professional pride and not only will they maintain relevance; they will continue to provide you with entirely new worlds with which you can make connections.
From its origin, the business card has been a tool of trust and respect
During the 15th century, “visiting cards” were used in both China and Japan and used to initiate important relationships. These days, all over the world, tens of billions of business cards are printed and used to initiate lasting connections of all kinds, particularly ones in which we intend to conduct business.
John Regas, owner of Minuteman Press in Frankfort, IL, is an ally to his clients, superior to any online-only source, when it comes to digital print, design and marketing needs. His Minuteman Press franchise represents the modern version of the printing industry, and John knows that business cards are a high priority for any serious professional. His clients need to stand out, gain respect and show they are the best in their fields and a quality business card is just the right starter-tool.
As John explains, “Business cards have become a symbol of your company’s image. In this respect it is imperative that you offer a high quality card. This will be a potential customer’s first impression of your services, and an unprofessional-looking card could very well cause them to look elsewhere.”
More than 50% of Millennials prefer that print remain a significant factor in their lives, in spite of the advent of the digital age – Research by JWT
The temptation exists to follow the herd and connect on LinkedIn and swap contacts via smartphone and so do the silly rumors that print is dead, but do not shortchange your marketing efforts with a common digital onslaught of monotonous pitches.
Keith Cawley, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President for the St. Louis, Missouri and Minnesota Regions, speaks about the convenience we afford each other with the exchange of business cards and warns of common design errors that can sabotage your efforts. He says, “Business cards are a way to give someone info on yourself and your business in a form that is appealing and easy to carry. The biggest mistake made by people is putting too much clutter on the card, so my advice is to not have too much on the card because you can explain your services before handing them your card.
Todd Duckworth, owner of Minuteman Press in Janesville, Wisconsin, is adept at helping his clients keep their cards in good supply and up to date. They also are armed to become masters of collecting superb, unforgettable first impressions as they greet new people in the only way true professionals are every really respected, with properly printed business cards in hand, produced after a personal consultation with today’s digital print, design and marketing franchise experts. As Todd says, “Business cards are one of the first impressions you have when meeting a prospective client. If you are willing to promote yourself with a high quality card, the client should understand you will do the same in regards to the manner in which you conduct business with them, as well.”
The borders between digital networking and real-life networking are blurring and it is evident that today’s business card with all of its links and your own signature design is an ally to your online presence. From QR codes, to what is hotter than ever right now, augmented reality, your business card is a handheld device of the sort that encompasses the much touted power of print with the obvious need to have a digital identity that can be physically handed to another professional during natural conversations. In fact, it is a breach of business etiquette to be without them and you may find yourself silently dismissed if you go to networking events empty-handed.
Linda Webster, owner of Minuteman Press in McMurray, Pennsylvania, helps her clients realize that business cards play a role that is timeless in our professional lives. She explains, “When you politely hand a business card to a potential customer, you immediately create credibility showing you are an established business in the community. Business cards are the first glimpse a potential customer or fellow professional sees of your work, so spend the time and get some assistance to create an awesome card.”
Linda Webster’s business cards tip: The paper your cards are printed on should be thick and the graphics should be eye catching and professional.
“Super thick cards can be an ice breaker when meeting someone new. I use a 24 pt. paper for my business cards.” Linda continues, “When I hand my card to someone, they feel the thickness of the cards, smile and say ‘Wow, these are really thick, what do you do, lift weights with these?’ I can then make a joke about the business cards, share a laugh, and I have made a friend.”
Our lives have become increasingly busied with digitization and mostly, we have made it work for us and traditionally printed marketing tools such as the business card only gain importance as we reach for them in the need to connect for real. We will not sacrifice our rituals and as technology advances, our need to determine if we can trust someone during an initial meeting remains and so shall our need to shake hands and exchange business cards.
For more business tips and helpful marketing and branding solutions, find your local Minuteman Press franchise at www.minutemanpress.com
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