On January 22, Todd Wasserman, Mashable’s Business Editor wrote a piece called “Is It Time to Finally Ditch Your Paper Business Cards”. In that piece he mentions apps and other work arounds to the ubiquitous paper business card. It was a well written piece with some interesting points to ponder. I thought it worthy of a tweet. My tweet read like this “I think this is a blog post in the making – more creative biz cards but for now here is the @mashable take awe.sm/5dxRf“. And so, here we are with my thoughts on the business card, paper or otherwise and how to stand out from the crowd in a creative way.
Business cards serve a purpose, and not just as book marks. They convey your details to your ever expanding network. They give contacts the information that they need to connect with you beyond the social media realm.
The question always arises as to what exactly is one supposed to do with all of the cards that they collect. There are many systems and options for storing, filing, and even retrieving cards when needed. Some people like the card scanners, some are trying LinkedIn’s CardMunch, I personally like Contact Keeper, whatever your system as long as it works for you, it is fine. The more important task is how to make your card stand out so that the recipient remembers you.
On the point of memorable. I would like to focus on some of the many creative options that you can use in place of or in addition to paper business cards to make yourself more memorable to the people that you meet. Let’s face it, Bumping smartphones, or photo-ing someone’s card and handing it back to them, does not make them memorable. Your business card is one of the opportunities that you have to make a good first impression. An opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
When I was starting out in my business life, everyone, except those in the most creative of fields, had an engraved card, usually with black ink sometimes, navy or dark brown, or burgundy if you were cutting edge on a paper of white, natural or ivory. As time went on. people began to get creative, textured and colored papers, fold over styles, colorful inks, die cuts, odd sizes and more. Today one can do almost anything as long as the type is easily readable and it conveys your information in a clear and concise way. So the question becomes how does one stand out from the crowd?
There are many options for stand out paper business card alternatives. One of our favorites that always gets a positive reaction is the Business Card Notebook, another good option is the Mint Card. Both of these ideas are shaped like a traditional business card, but they have a longevity and a memorability factor. Another idea is to use 25 sheet Post-it Note pads, print all of your information and leave room for the recipient to write on them as well, a functional card, this way instead of throwing out the card after saving the info in their favorite manner, they have something useful.
If you are still more comfortable with paper cards, consider going to lightweight plastic. Print only the most basic of information and add a QR code that takes the recipient to your website, or LinkedIn profile or anywhere else that you want to direct them. Then use the other side of the card to provide information of value, a year-at-a-glance calendar, a tip chart, a list of important websites, or what ever information your best prospects would be interested in.
One last idea if you want to create a truly memorable impression on a select few is to use the Victorinox SwissCard and print your info on the back.Which ever way you choose, I for one am not ditching my paper business cards nor any of the alternatives, just yet.