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Are business cards dead?

Have you ever wondered whether using business cards is worth the time and money?
There seems to be some mixed opinions when it comes to the question. Some people think that business cards are still relevant and are a great way of marketing, whilst others think business cards are a thing of the past now that everything has moved to more of a digital focus.

Modern business card design

We've weighed up some of the pros and cons of using a business card to provide some insight on if they should be used, how to use them effectively, and also provided some alternative options if you don't agree with using business cards.

Pros of using business cards:

  • Exchanging business cards creates a more personal and memorable experience than just giving someone your mobile number or email address.
  • Having a beautifully designed business card that is unique will leave a long-lasting impression and is more likely to generate further conversation.
  • Business cards can make you seem prepared if it comes to someone asking for one. Being able to pull out a business card right away shows that you're prepared which reflects well on your personality and also your business.

Cons of using business cards:

  • The tenure length of a given job is decreasing meaning that people are changing workplaces more regularly. That phone number you're about to call from the business card you were given 12 months ago may now be disconnected.
  • Businesses are becoming more and more like real estate. This results in new management and with that comes the changing of business names and re-branding which means that email address on the business card may no longer be reachable.
  • Business cards can't be easily updated like email signatures or social media profiles can. You have to pay to get the information on the cards changed, then pay to have a new batch printed.
  • They're not cost-effective. Constantly having to get new business cards printed up can be expensive, other digital alternatives can cost you a portion of the amount or nothing at all.
  • They're not environmentally sound. Every business card is coming from a tree which in the current era we're trying to move away from and be environmentally aware. It's the same reason why we store our documents on computer instead of filing cabinets now right? It might only be a small con, but it's still a con.

Now that you've read some of the main pros and cons of using business cards, you may have already decided whether you think it's beneficial or not.

When and how to use business cards efficiently

If you're leaning towards keeping that good old piece of card then you should know when and how to use them effectively. Being able to do so will greatly improve the amount of contact you actually receive from people you hand them to.

Wooden business card

For starters, a basic business card isn't going to grab anyone's attention and make you stand out from everyone else doing the same thing as you. When you hand over your business card, the first impression you give off for your business is whether or not it seems professional. Spend a little extra money and opt for a professionally designed and printed business card, or even go the extra length and look into having some metal or wooden business cards created, these will be more costly but will definitely reap the rewards and likely generate more conversation!

When it comes to handing your business cards out, you shouldn't go into a conversation with the sole intention of giving someone your business card. Doing this will likely end up with your business card going into the recipient's endless pile of other business cards which never get looked up or end up in the trash. This is going to increase your costs by requiring more business cards and reduce the number of leads that your cards generate. What you want to be doing is having a genuine conversation with the person, be interesting, ask questions and most of all be a good listener, this will let the person know that you're professional and will encourage them to ask questions about your business which then gives the opportunity to hand them your business card. By this stage, they're already interested as they're asking questions, and if they're not then that's okay, you can save that business card for the next person that's genuinely interested in your services.

Pile of business cards

Better alternatives to using business cards

Foil finish business card design

If you're pretty sure that the time for business cards has come to an end and we should stop chopping down trees just to hand out some business cards (which will probably end up in the trash anyway right?) then you should look at an alternative which has more pros and less cons.

The best alternative to business cards in the current age is email signatures. Email signatures are literally a digital version of a business card. They include your key contact points, should be branded to your business branding and look professional just as a business card should. Email signatures have a huge upside on business cards though which most people don't think about. Here are just a few advantages that email signatures have on business cards:

  • URL links can direct the recipient straight to your website or social media with a single click
  • Can be regularly updated
  • When viewed on a mobile device, they can contact your phone number with a single click
  • Google Analytics tracking allows you to see just how many people are using your email signature and visiting certain links
  • Environmentally sound
  • Cheaper than business cards

Of course, email signatures are only digital and you're more than likely going to what something physical in times of need. Some other popular but more creative alternatives include printing on Coasters or Beer Mats, Magnets, Bottle Openers, Pens, Balloons, Rubber Bands or even Fortune Cookies, although we'd recommend against carrying around Fortune Cookies in your pocket.

matchbox design

There are some great alternatives to using business cards, and plenty more that haven't been invented yet! If you're creative and don't want to use the plain old business card, why not jump on Google and gain some inspiration from other creative ideas.

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