Technology and social media have changed the way business is conducted, but business cards continue to be relevant. The business card allows you to tell people who you are and what you do and is a top marketing tool in many countries, including the U.S. As business cards pile up, you can get them organized using a business card transcription service. Companies that offer this service digitize business cards using a combination of manual and OCR software. The transcribed information can be imported into your address book and into Outlook, Gmail, etc.
Why use a business card?
There are many reasons why business cards are useful even in this digital age:
- Personal validation – provides evidence about your credibility and credentials
- Keeps you ready for networking
- Supports an impressive introduction
- Creates brand awareness and is a top sales tool
- Is a tangible object that is not tech dependent
- Provides contact details
- Signals professionalism
- A well-designed card creates a distinct and lasting impression
Business card etiquette rules
Following certain etiquette tips can help you make the most of your business card at formal gatherings, networking events, and meetings:
- Professional design: Choose a unique professional design that reflects your personality and blends with your other printed materials. Ensure that it has key information – your name, address, phone number, and email – and that it is sized so that people can store it easily. The images and print should be clear and easy to read – opt for a clean, clear, legible serif or sans-serif font. Avoid loud colors. Get your card reprinted as soon as your information changes.
- Carry a sufficient number: It wouldn’t do to run out of cards when you’re at a networking event. Always carry a stack of neat cards in a protective case and know exactly where you put them so that you can find them easily. This will also help in case a chance encounter develops into a business
- Be discreet when handing out your card: According a recent www.abcmoney.co.uk/ article, handing business cards to everyone in a room is the social equivalent to spamming! Make sure you offer your card to the right people and at the right kind of events. Give business cards only to people who can make proper use of the information.
- Offer your card only after you build rapport with the person: Never offer your card as soon as you meet someone as this may appear too aggressive. Best practice is to wait till the person requests your card or build rapport with the person before you offer it.
- Present and receive cards the right way: When you receive a card, always hold it with both hands if possible. Show interest, take time to read and comment on it – note the logo, the business name, or other information. In countries like Japan, proper business etiquette requires treating the business card with respect. When you give your card, make sure that the other person can read it without having to turn it around (www.amanet.org). And if you exchange information, don’t write notes on someone else’s business card in their presence.
- Know the rules for international use: It is common practice to have one side of the business card in English and the other side typeset into the language of the country you are visiting. Keep the information on the card simple. Include your country or telephone country code on your business card. When offering the card, hold the translated side toward the person so that they can read it.
- Use business cards to distinguish speakers: An article in Entrepreneur recommends using business cards to remember names. Cards exchanged during a meeting can be placed on the table can help you remember names identify who is speaking.
Why business cards are relevant even in the digital era
Many people wonder if business cards are relevant in the digital era. Here’s what some members of the Forbes Agency Council have to say about this (www.forbes.com):
- Cards Are Still The Quickest Way To Exchange Information
Business cards still hold a purpose, which is quickly exchanging information at events, conferences and other networking opportunities. However, a business card alone isn’t enough – there should always be a follow up via email or social media. However, for the initial connection, a business card is still the easiest and best way to exchange contact information. – Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR
- Business Cards Serve As A Physical Reminder Of Someone
Are business cards as useful as they once were? No. But they still have a place in this world. You can meet someone face to face and connect on social media, but odds are, you are instantly lost amongst the thousands of other “friends” or “followers.” A business card is a physical reminder of who you are. It can also spark a memory of the time and place you met, separating you from others. – Aidan Cole, nTuitive.social
- For In-Person Networking, Cards Are More Professional And Last Longer
Business cards can still make a powerful impression on prospective clients. I don’t believe email is too informal, but business cards are far more professional to bring to a face-to-face meeting. An email can be lost in a sea of spam and contact folders; a business card will remain in a client’s wallet for years. Plus, if you’re networking or giving an elevator pitch, it always helps to have the card. – Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com
- Have A Business Card Handy For Old-School Audiences
With the development of digital media, it is much easier to follow someone on a social media platform and remain connected. Some prefer this, rather than having a business card gather dust or find itself in the trash. However, traditional methods should not be overlooked: I believe business cards should always be handy, especially for audiences that tend to keep it old school and aren’t on the social media wave. – Alex Quin, UADV
Business cards hold valuable contact information that you don’t want to lose or misplace. A business transcription service provider can transcribe your business cards to extract personal and company information and help you capture and manage this important data effectively.