I have, and continue to be, a huge proponent of business cards. They are one of the least expensive, yet most effective marketing pieces you can have. Where else for $35 can you get 1000 chances to wow a potential client? Nowhere! Now that little bit of cheerleading does come with a caveat or two.
First off, use them. Use them often. They are cheap and easily (and quickly) replaced. You should offer more than one to everyone—ask them to share. I know of an agent that sticks business cards in all of the bills he pays; he booked a $12K Sandals honeymoon for the clerk in the mailroom of the electric company. Not a bad return on a 5 cent investment. Occasionally I will use them as bookmarks in all of the in-flight and SkyMall catalogues I can get my hands on. Is there a better target demographic for a travel professional than the person sitting in a plane?
Secondly, don’t be cheap. They are not that expensive. Spend the money on a good quality card. That includes card stock, graphics, and content. If you have the cash, have your logo (and all print identities) professionally designed. We know how it turns out when a potential client says they can do it just as good themselves; why do we assume we will do as good a job as a graphic designer? You do not need to spend a fortune either; Fiverr and Freelancer may be all you need. And for crying out loud—never get the free VistaPrint cards that have their logo on the back.** Single sided, double sided, vertical, horizontal, folded, and die cut all work well—your choice. I have even seen “casino” chips as business cards and metal medallions—a little kitschy, but one that will be memorable.
Finally, have them available. Business cards can’t do their jobs if they are hanging out in the top left drawer of your desk. Yes, I have a box there, but I also have a half box in my glove compartment of my car, a handful tucked in my backpack, several in my wallet (and they look worse for the wear), and finally three tucked between my phone and my phone case. I discovered that last tip from a friend in town who walks to a lot of places and never has a wallet, but always has a phone!
What are your thoughts? Business cards dead? Or not?
** The exception here is if you have a separate, non-customer email address. Maybe have some freebies printed up for supplier giveaways at trade shows where they are just collecting addresses. Useful for the fishbowls at restaurants for the free happy hours, etc.