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Published on October 4th, 2012 | by Lena Martin


Business Cards Refuse to Die

In striking research, Business News Daily reports that over 90 percent of small business owners feel like business cards have brought in new business. Almost half of the business owners surveyed report giving out more business cards today than in the past and they hold a strong belief that giving out business cards will result in new business.

As of July 2012, there are over 27 million business cards printed every day in the United States (in case you were wondering, that works out to 10 billion a year). And there’s a clear statistical increase in business sales due to handing out business cards. For every 2,000 business cards distributed, a company can expect a 2.5 percent increase in sales.

All of this goes to show that business cards are far from dead. However, there’s a reason why people have been descrying the use of paper rectangles as a method for networking.

  • They’re inefficient.
  • They’re wasteful.
  • They’re boring.
  • They’re irrelevant.


They’re Inefficient

It is very time consuming to manually hand out your business card to people. Especially when you consider the time it will take to hand out 2,000 cards. You would be much more efficient sending out 2,000 emails. But the return is a tiny fraction on email versus a physical touch. Only about 1/5th of people will even open an email you send and only 5 percent will click through the email to your site. You’re then hoping that your site can convert some of that 5 percent  to buy. Or you could spend the time handing out cards, developing relationship and know that it’ll result in more sales for your company.


They’re Wasteful

You might point out that 90 percent of all business cards are discarded within a week. That’s true, but what’s also true is many business cards are printed on poor quality paper with no color. When color is factored in to the equation, people hold on to the card an average of ten times longer. You also need to consider the type of waste. Paper is easily recycled, highly transportable and immune to nearly every glitch or error. Its simplicity is its beauty.


They’re Boring

True, most business cards are boring, but that’s not the fault of the cards. Most televisions spew out mindless garbage, but that’s not the fault of the TV manufacturer. It’s up to you to put creative, interesting, passionate, engaging material on your business card. When you connect with customers in an interesting way, they’re much more likely to hold on to the card and remember you later.


They’re Irrelevant

In a world of social media, smartphones, online marketing and digital connections, it’s easy to think that business cards are irrelevant. We now have the technology to wirelessly send contact information from device to device. That should surely spell the end for business cards. Except those devices came out in 1997 (remember PalmPilots?) and they’ve yet to destroy the business card. The key thing to remember about all the technology that surrounds your business is this: it’s only a tool to connect people. The same is true of business cards and Facebook. They’re both tools you can use to connect with people.

So, do you still think business cards are dead?

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About the Author

Small business, branding and marketing has always been my interest next to design and creativity topics. An avid follower of topics in, and, I keep myself up-to-date on the latest happenings in the business industry. A particular interest of mine to date is keeping my readers abreast with business startup articles as well as online branding and marketing strategies.

8 Responses to Business Cards Refuse to Die

  1. Vincent Greene says:

    As a business owner, I feel like its imperative that we have business cards as a default part of a basic marketing strategy. I disagree with those folks saying its all straight to the iPhone whenever you meet someone who might be interested in your services. I mean, yes its another great way to go about it but there will always be someone who will feel a little awkward while you punch in your contact info into his phone. Business cards allow you some creativity to represent yourself, give more information than you could in 5 seconds, and is something your potential customers can refer to. There are more downsides to not having a business card than there are upsides. I personally wouldn’t take that risk.

    • Lena Martin says:

      Very insightful. This is yet another reason why it’s wise to invest in business cards. Thanks Vincent.

    • Rex Morgan says:

      I personally couldn’t agree more, Vincent! Having a smart phone makes people think that all the “old school” methods are getting obsolete, when the truth is that giving out a business card is more swift and hassle-free than having to whip out those gadgets and fumbling around with them. I may make it sound worse than it is, but I would definitely prefer giving and getting business cards any day. They’re like neat little freebies!

  2. Sandy Brendel says:

    There are still so many reasons why business card is still important in this digital generation, as a real estate agent it is important for me to brand myself everytime I give a business card to potential clients. Networking is the way I do my business, website and social media can’t give me genuine relationship to people and it can take me just as far. So I say business card is still the way to go to build your personal branding.

    • Nicole Young says:

      We’re in the same field Sandy and I totally agree with you. When meeting clients face-to-face, the business etiquette of exchanging cards is still a necessity. Not everyone has smartphones or tech-savvy. I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because I don’t have a card.

  3. Christian says:

    I agree. Have you heard of virtual business cards? It’s been there for such a long time but it hasn’t replaced the real business cards yet simply because it’s irreplaceable. The use of business cards among professionals and businesses is deemed a culture. And you can’t easily put out a culture.

  4. Jane Andrews says:

    I always carry a business card. I get to talk to a lot of people everyday and think of how many potential clients I will miss if I don’t have business cards to give out. My very nice suit would be useless without a business card. For me, business cards won’t ever die because it helped me draw in so many people.

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