I used to use a lot of business cards but not lately. Are business cards still useful?
The business card custom started a long time ago and were used in a very different way than they are used today. What we now call business cards started as "tradecards" in early 17th century England. Because there were few newspapers or public advertising, these tradecards often contained a map or directions to a merchant's place of business. Two things changed over the centuries. First, the number of businesses multiplied into the millions, with each merchant having their own cards. Second, the use of the cards expanded into social arenas and were termed "calling cards." In this case, cards were handed out to those one visited as well as would be given to someone to whom you want to be introduced. Eventually, everyone seemed to have business cards and used them liberally.
Only you can determine whether business cards create value for your business, but I see drastically lower use than even a decade ago. Part of the reason is the availability of business information through search on the Internet. Also, the "networking mixer," although still conducted, is less popular than a decade ago, resulting in fewer pocketfuls of business cards than a decade ago. Instead of handing someone a business card, you can even beam your contact information from your phone.Tip:
One practice that can increase the value of your business card is to include more than just your contact information. After a business trip, conference or large meeting, how likely are you to remember the details of each person whose card you now have? Use the reverse side of the card to list your services, explain your brand, or make a specific call to action. This will make it more likely that the recipient of your card will both remember and act on the card in the way you intended. © 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA