Business cards have been around since the 15th century.

They first originated in China as “visiting cards.” The Chinese visiting cards would express one person’s intention to come and meet another person.

Then in the 17th Century, the popularity of exchanging cards began in Europe. Without the right business cards, you were a failure in the eyes of the public.

There were also extremely strict rules and etiquette guidelines for people handing out their cards. Failure to have the right card or follow the rules would result in a social disaster.

As we fast forward to today, people are still using business cards as networking tools. Not having a business card or having the wrong kind can ruin your business relationships.

Approximately 10 billion business cards are being printed on an annual basis. However, almost 8 out of the 10 billion cards printed are being thrown out in less than a week.

Yet, studies show that your companies sales will increase by at least 2.5% for every 2,000 cards you hand out. Even if a prospect doesn’t keep your card, they’ll still remember meeting you.

After hundreds of years, your card is still a representation of who you are and what you’re all about. Read on to find out about the importance of business cards in the 21st century.

The Importance of Business Cards

When you network you’re actively making meaningful connections. Sending out your contact information online can be somewhat effective. Many businesses successfully use affiliate marketing online to generate leads.

However, when you only rely on digital communications you’ll miss out on making a genuine connection. When you give your card to a potential client, they can put a face to the name of the company. You’ll be able to stand apart from all of the other companies they were researching online.

A computer can’t look your customer in the eye and convey authenticity, but you can. The encounter gives you a competitive edge over others in your industry.

Here are a few different online tools you can use for creating your personalized cards:

Allow yourself to be creative as you explore the different designs. Prospects will enjoy sharing your creative cards rather than boring ones. Having people share your card means your brand will reach more potential customers.

No matter what type of business cards you end up going with, consider your options on going with a cool and unique design. After all, these are going to be used for many years and will be the first impression of your own personal brand and expertise.

Effective Business Cards

Making a great impression starts with the style of your card. Many people mistakenly believe that all a business card does is give information. However, they really are tools to make wonderful first impressions.

It’s important to design a card that expresses your companies personality and brand. It can help to ask for outside advice from a friend or family member. Show them the design you are considering and ask them how it makes them feel. If the way they feel reflects your brand, you’re off to a great start.

Show Prospects You’re Ready for Anything

Have you ever asked someone for their business card and they couldn’t give it to you? Chances are you had a negative first impression of that person. Your subconscious mind is always listening, watching and making conclusions.

Even if you’re not consciously aware of it, you’ll judge someone for not having the right tools.

The same will happen to you if you’re not ready to hand over your card when asked. Even if you take the time to write your information down, chances are they won’t be calling you.

Make sure you always carry your cards on you. A simple trip to the store could end up as a networking opportunity.

Always Accessible

When you use a business card, your information is always accessible. In today’s digital world, it’s hard to believe that anyone could ever lose access to the internet.

However, people are frequently in situations where they can’t go online. Imagine, your potential customer is camping in a remote area or staying at a cabin in the woods.

They don’t have internet access but they do have the ability to make phone calls. If they need to schedule a service or make a purchase, they’ll have to rely on their business cards.

Also, certain people don’t own digital devices or have trouble operating theirs. If your contact information is stuck in their phone, they may never access it.

Also, what happens when they lose or break their phone? A broken phone could take days to repair. Yet that doesn’t mean the customer will wait days to make purchasing decisions.

When the customer needs access to your company’s contact information, your card will be there to save the day. Giving your card means that no matter what the situation, customers can always reach you.

Stay Motivated

If your company is new it helps to have clear networking goals. When you go to different networking events you’ll bring your cards with you. Then you can set a daily goal for how many cards you need to distribute.

A good idea is to set a goal to hand out at least 50 business cards. If you’re having a difficult time, your cards will remind you to stay motivated. Make sure that as you hand out your cards you establish eye contact.

Your card will have your contact information and a brief summary of your product or service. If you’re looking for employment make sure to include a list of your skills.

The person you give your card to might not need your services. Yet, they might know someone who does need something you provide. With a list of your skills, the person with your card will know who to refer you to.

How to Make a Great First Impression from Day One

Yes, you could say that business cards are old school and not many people use them today. That might be the case, but if you are actively attending different conferences and trade show events, they will come in handy.

Just think about how many people are meeting with each other on any given day at these events. With hundreds of business cards changing hands, only the ones that stand out and leave a great first impression will be remembered.

When it comes to creating new business and partnerships, this simple one-up over the competition can equate to something huge in the long run.

If you are still using the same old traditional business card that gets scanned over for second and tossed away… rethink your marketing strategy and invest in yourself and your business today with a new design and business card. It’s one of the most important, yet cost-effective, investments you can make!

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