Monday, April 10, 2017

"Business Cards Remain Essential, But The Way We Use Them Has Changed"

We have many business tools that we enjoy using to help us generate leads, produce sales, and deliver our products and services to our customers and clients. Computers and cell phones are two remarkable tools that all of us rely on. It would be hard to imagine being productive without them.

Some of us advertise in print media. Some us social media to spread our message, and nearly all of us have websites in some form. The majority of us have business cards also, but not everyone uses them in an effective way.

The way that business cards are used has been changing over the years. They do not have to perform the same functions they once did due to the other means we have of promoting ourselves and our businesses.

Business cards were once described as an silent salesperson or an uncompensated ambassador for our business. We relied on them to generate leads for us. It was thought that just by placing a stack of our business cards in strategic locations for people to pick up and take with them when they were shopping, dining, getting coffee, or using other services that they would be led to contact us by the message displayed on our business card.

At that time, business cards generally had much more of an advertising function than typically is the case today. There's nothing wrong with detailing our services, showing taglines and slogans, and listing the many ways to contact us on our business cards. It's that we have other ways of conveying this information as well. 

Business cards, as they are commonly used and thought of today, exist to convey our contact information to other professionals we are meeting or to consumers after we have our initial contact with them or after a presentation. Generally, people who get our business cards from us know who we are and have already met or spoken with us. The card reinforces that meeting, reminds them of who we are, and shows them how they can contact us.

Because of the way business cards function today - as a way to convey our contact information to people we want to have it after an initial meeting or introduction rather than as a standalone advertising or lead generation vehicle - they don't need to be produced as expensively as once was true. In fact, there are many places - locally as well as online - where good-looking, attractive cards can be obtained for a fraction of what it used to take. There are even nice looking cards that can be produced with inkjet or color laser printers.

We shouldn't be offended when people don't keep our cards but take them and transfer our contact information to their cell phone or data base. They really don't need our cards after that. Even if our entry somehow got erased or deleted from their system, they can find it again on our website.

One very important aspect of the business card that involves people taking our contact information and using it - directly from the card if they chose to retain it or when they want to enter it into their system - is the legibility and readability of the information. Since we often are dealing with an elderly population in our aging in place businesses, we need the point size to be large enough to see without reaching for a magnifying glass and for the type face to be simple so that numbers and letters are easy to distinguish. People must be able to read and use our phone number and email address without confusing any of the digits, letters, or symbols.

Business cards are an essential part of our business so let's make sure that they work for us rather than against us.

____________

Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.