72 Comments

Summary:

As a web worker, I handle most of my communications online. My first contact with many of my clients is via email or, sometimes, phone. But I still have a big box of business cards sitting on my desk, and I think they come in handy.

As a web worker, I handle most of my communications online. My first contact with many of my clients is via email or, sometimes, phone. But I still have a big box of business cards sitting on my desk, and I think they come in handy. I’m willing to pay to get professional business cards printed regularly.

Networking

Just because most of my clients contact me online doesn’t mean that that’s how they find me. I ask every new client how they found me and, more often than not, it’s because someone I know recommended me. What’s surprised me, though, is that it isn’t always past clients passing along my email address. More than a few times, it’s been someone that I met at a networking event passing my card along to someone who they thought could use it. These aren’t people who know me well; without that business card in their hands, they would have been hard-pressed to even remember my name. But having that convenient little piece of paper in their pocket led to me landing a new client.

Of course, I’ve landed clients just by heading out to networking events and handing out my business cards in person, as well. There’s a reason that business cards have become standard for business — and why many tools that allow you to share information via smartphone and other gadgets have been slow to catch on outside of technologically-oriented industries.

Professionalism

There are times when even the most web-oriented among us have to meet with people face-to-face. Being able to hand out a business card does more than guarantee that they have your contact information and even goes beyond making it easy to pass it along. It can help establish your professionalism. Depending on the type of work you do, there can be some difficulty in reminding your contacts that you’re a professional — after all, you spend most of your day at home or the coffee shop. But little touches like a professional business card can really help remind clients and colleagues that you are a professional, no matter where you’re working at.

Connecting

I’ve got a couple of business cards in my bag that don’t actually belong to me. I hand them out when I’m handing my own out, though: I have certain people that I work with on a regular basis and if I’m talking about a project they’d be involved in, I like to help them out with a little promotion while I can. They’ve got a stack of my cards, too. The system works out pretty well. We don’t routinely attend events (networking or otherwise) together, but each of us still gets an opportunity to get our cards in the hands of people who might like to work with us. A business card may not be the perfect substitute for your ability to win new clients or projects in person, but it can definitely help in situations where you wouldn’t have been able to be there anyhow.

Do you still use business cards?

Image by Flickr user bargainmoose, licensed under CC BY 2.0

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By Thursday Bram

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  1. I thought business cards were step 1 to be honest. I’m more surprised that people think they can get by without them. You meet people anywhere and everywhere that ask what you do for a living; I always thought it was the coolest thing in the world to whip out a business card and give it to someone.

    And once I started getting real interest and clients from it, it was, of course, even cooler…

  2. Absolutely you still need business cards–and not shabby, flimsy ones, either. I know many web-based companies offer free ones, too–but you really don’t need a card that has an ad for the printing company on it. It just screams amateur. Spring for a heavy-stock card with color. It needs to make an impression that will last long after you part with the person you gave it to.

  3. John Hewitt Monday, March 8, 2010

    I’ve written about this many times. This is a nice reminder though that I need to revise mine with my new information.

  4. Andrea Nierenberg Monday, March 8, 2010

    I loved your post and totally agree and mention the importance of having cards in every workshop I give–even to students and retirees. So much more professional when someone wants to follow up and stay in touch.

    Thank you-Andrea Nierenberg

  5. Tom | Build That List Monday, March 8, 2010

    I will be looking at getting some business cards shortly for my blog. I never saw the value in them until recently, but they are fantastic for networking and you never know when you are going to meet someone offline that you can help online.

  6. business cards for web workers? definitely. i second the “professionalism” paragraph: in the business world at-large, the term “web worker” (or any variation thereof) can elicit certain categorizations, presumptions and stereotypes (i.e., “you’re a web worker? i bet you don’t even get out of your pajamas to start your ‘work day,'” says the assistant senior vice president of initech as he puts the cover page on his tps report). but armed with a business card? woah. you MUST be a professional of some sort.

    yes, it’s lame that “professional” might still require an indicator like a business card, but there will always be “business” people out there who need to see some ID from web workers in order to engage.

    oh, and heavy cardstock is a must.

  7. Good read, biz cards are essential, but I’ve got an overflowing pile in my desk drawer!

  8. Sherry Dedman Monday, March 8, 2010

    I agree completely. Most of my new business comes from word of mouth and from networking. Many people request my card; I would embarrassed if I didn’t have one to give them. And poorer for it, as well.

  9. zainab sule Monday, March 8, 2010

    My cards are finished. Reprinting tomorrow. Most Def. Thanks for the post.

  10. Jose da Silva Monday, March 8, 2010

    I loved the post, thank you.

    From my personal opinion the business cards are extremely important nowadays, in events, multi-company training you always should have a business card at hand.

    Surprisingly i noticed the following workflow, people need to exchange the business cards, than get home and add the connections on online business community networks and dump out the cards.

    That is probably the real advantage of business cards on modern days.

    Thank you again.

    José da Silva

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