July, 2011

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Are Business Cards Dead?

Source: Barry Moltz

This week, Promotional Consultant Today takes a look at the art of networking, starting with that essential networking tool—the business card.

After shaking hands, one of the rituals of meeting in business is to exchange business cards. It’s almost a reflex reaction. But in the world of electronic communication are business cards now dead? Have the e-mail signature line and smart phone apps replaced a card? Most people say that a business card is still necessary even just because it is a tough habit to break when meeting new people.

So what information should still be on a business card or in an e-mail signature line?

Still important:
Name
Company Name
E-mail Address
Website address
Office phone and cell phone: Who is at the office anymore?
Mailing Address: List a real street address, even if it is the home office. P.O. boxes are creepy.
Slogans: Your slogan separates what the company does from the rest of the market. Think of it as your “unique selling proposition.”

Newly important:
Social media handles for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn: This makes it easier for customers and prospects to connect with you.

QR codes: a great way to tell a bigger story right on the mobile device.

Not important:
Fax number: Almost as dead as paper stationary.

Titles: Be careful of being a one-man band and having the title of CEO. It looks pompous.

Pagers: Unless you are a doctor or a bicycle messenger, leave it off.

Gotchas:
Misspellings: Ask someone to proofread your card. Handing out a card at a networking event where the person’s title is printed as “principle” instead of “principal” is a fatal mistake.

Print that is too small: 95 percent of the population over age 35 needs reading glasses. The reader shouldn’t need to put glasses on to read your business card.

E-mail: It’s fine to use a free service such as Yahoo! as a back-end mail server, but spend some money to get an account that looks more professional. While barry1995@yahoo.com may be functional, it is amateurish. Get an address that includes the company’s domain name and forward it to your Yahoo! address if necessary.

Home numbers: It sets a bad precedent.
Remember that the business card is not an art installation. Don’t reinvent what has worked for years. Grab 10 favorite examples of business cards. Study them by noticing their font choices including type size and color combinations. Although the logos and paper stocks vary, good business cards are very simple. Forget the gimmicks. Simple business cards still work.

Source: Barry Moltz is a small business speaker, consultant and author. He gets business owners growing again by unlocking their long-forgotten potential. He is also the author of You Need to Be A Little Crazy: The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business, Bounce! Failure, Resiliency and the Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success, and BAM! Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World. He hosts his own radio show, “Business Insanity Talk Radio”, and writes regularly for the American Express Open Forum, Allbusiness.com, The Huffington Post, the Chicago Tribune’s Chicago Now and Crain’s Chicago Enterprise City..