Why You Still Need Business Cards


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.


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.


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.


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


Marty Tuominen

Although we talk about becoming paperless, a v-card doesn’t substitute for a “real live paper business card.” It reflects who we are and leaves an impression on those we give it to.


Great post, I love business cards, I live by it!

I don’t know how a business person can present themselves without having business cards!

Catherine Ford

I just ordered some personal business cards for networking. Not all of my networking activities are business-related. However, I want people to be able to find my personal blog or me on Twitter or Facebook along with my phone number, etc. Giving out my work-related business card is not always appropriate in every environment.


Your article clearly illustrates just how important business cards remain even if you are a web worker. We still network offline and having business cards definitely come in handy. Your article is a great reminder.

Jeff Dickey

Agree totally, being on both ends of that transaction.

On a related note, what are people using in place of those dedicated business-card scanners and software, popular about 10 years ago, that would do most of the grunt typing for you? I had one that worked great up until about 2 years ago when it finally went to hardware heaven… and every time I go into a “reputable” shop here (in Singapore), the kids running the place have no idea what I’m asking about…

Kimmo Linkama

Jeff, wouldn’t an ordinary scanner solve your problem? I think they all come with at least a “light” version of an OCR.

Scott Sawyer

Great post. Totally agree about the business cards, especially for webbies!! Please use a professional printer, as well. Like it or not, your cards say a lot about you, your business, and the quality of your work.

Great job – Scott Sawyer

Chris Hopkinson

Great post and I wanted to provide some insight from a company who has developed one of the most popular smart phone contact exchange tools.
What we’ve found is it’s not the business card exchange process that’s broken, but the address book piece because:
1. People have cards stacked on their desk and never enter them into address book
2. 20-30% of the contact data inside your address book is outdated

So, we’re building a better address book for your phone, Outlook and the web and it’s coming in April!


Chris Hopkinson


Vistaprint = cheap thin paper, they put an ad on the back, and sometimes sign you up for a $15-19 program without you knowing. Search “vistaprint scams” and you’ll get a lot of results.


Might I suggest Vistaprint (www.vistaprint.com) for your business card needs? They do great work at a reasonable cost.


I think Tina makes a really great point – if you have someone’s business card, then you are in control of the follow up.

However, I am a member of several business groups and Boston, and I have been at events where people really want my information and I just don’t have a card on hand. People have had me write my info on the back of one of their own cards and like Mike Templeton says – it feels as terrible as not having cash when you are splitting a bill at dinner! (Actually I think it is worse because these days it is so easy to split dinner bills on credit cards).

I just want to add though, that there are certainly situations where you don’t want to give your contact information to people exactly, but do want to have something at hand for the exchange. I have people who bombard me with Facebook and LinkedIn invitations immediately after returning from events and continue to invite me to every single event their company or group has on facebook, and my friend was recently asked out by someone she was totally uninterested through her work email account on the first email!

For instances like these, I have mini moo cards, which are about half the size of a standard business card, that just have a graphic tease for my blog on one side and the address on the back. No name or email address. If people want to keep up with me, they can take an interest in my blog, but it is much more difficult for them to start up any type of personal or professional stalking that way.

The other thing that I haven’t tried yet, but seems very neat, is to take advantage of Moo’s ability to print a whole set of cards with different images on the back and use it like a walking porfolio. I think this has great applications for many different types of web workers as a way to make their cards, particularly in a networking setting, an even more interesting and valuable item.

Tina Jonasen

As a professional networker, people expect me to hand out business cards – but I dont!

I rather take theirs – so that I am in control of the follow up ;-)


With this post and another post I just read. I am now convinced that I am ordering my business cards today. :) Thanks Thursday just the kick in the arse i needed.

The other post i read was about clever ways to pass out your business cards. Here’s the Link that is also coincidentally the same place I am getting my cards from. I’ve had good experiences with them and their prices are good.

Mike Templeton

I attended an entrepreneurial event this weekend and left home without my business cards. “I’m just going to watch the startup pitches,” I told myself. “I won’t need business cards.” Sure enough, what happens when I get there? People introduce themselves to me and ask if I have a business card to exchange. When you’re caught without a business card, it’s like not having enough cash to take care of the tab for dinner. The feeling is awful. Save yourself the pain and put together sharp looking cards that you’ll always carry around with you.

Also, for those out there (not necessarily anyone here) that complain about never using the giant box of business cards they have – get out there and use them! If you sit behind your desk all the time (or in your office, etc.), of course your’e not going to be handing out any business cards. However, I think networking and getting out to events is a critical piece of any business, and you ought to be out there exchanging those cards you so dearly designed, printed, and paid for.

Brandon Kim

Absolutely we still need business cards! Just received my new cards last week and I love them. It is true, it’s the little things that help you get noticed. Plus it’s your calling card, people are so busy, they won’t remember what you told them, but they can be reminded with your card.

Dan Kligerman

I really like the idea of keeping a stack of business cards of others whom you trust, and asking them to do the same. As long as you only pass them along to those who you think would really benefit from that person’s products/services, this is a win-win. Almost like off-line social bookmarking!

Jenifer De La Garza

I’m actually heading to an event on Friday and just ordered my cards! Looking forward to being at a place where I can hand some out! Thanks for the great article!

Courtney Wiley

Goodness yes. Biz cards are a staple to establishing any business relationship. (They work so much better than simply writing your name in pen on a napkin.) To this day, I still flip through my Rolodex to see if I need the services of my past contacts or if I can pass along their services to someone I’ve met. Business cards are a win-win.


As most have pointed out, I think it’s blatantly obvious that you need some. Not only the embarrassment of having someone ask you for one and you saying you don’t have any, but also the fact that it’s a great referral tool, many people have handed me information from a business card, if not the business card in question to fulfill a need I had.

I always make sure I have some in my wallet, at the office, at home and in my car. And professionally designed ones at that.

Chad Weinman

I don’t think there is any current technology equivalent that is even remotely as standardized as the business card.

Although I am a technology consultant, would hate to see the business relationship take another step away from being personal.

I have often heard of tech ideas where the minute you walk into a conference, all the attendees digital cards could be downloaded for your convenience. Well in my world, they are handed out and accompanied by a handshake (no sweaty palms or weak grip please) and face to face introduction. I believe business is about relationships, the traditional kind; not the digital ones

Jose da Silva

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

Sherry Dedman

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.


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.

Tom | Build That List

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.

Andrea Nierenberg

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

John Hewitt

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


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.


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…

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