Who needs business cards these days? You do.

These days, your personal brand relies heavily on your digital presence, but be careful about shifting 100 percent to the digital realm. Don't give up on those trusty little cards just yet.

Business cards are indeed still effective, and they can really come in handy. Think about this: You're at a networking event and you just met a VP of Marketing who just so happens to work for your dream employer and has direct connections to positions you're interested in. Naturally, you want to keep in touch. Do you go online right then and there and make a LinkedIn connection to get at the top of employers minds? Awkward, right? Instead of pulling out your phone and scrolling through LinkedIn profiles mid-conversation, simply hand your new contact your effective business card and do all the follow-up work later — it will save time and come across as much more professional. Business cards are still the expected and most respected method of sharing contact info during in-person meetings, so don't disappoint.

If that's not enough to convince you to order a new set of business cards, maybe these other business card benefits will give you more incentive.

Accurate information

If you've ever been in a situation where you're trying to type someone's email address into your phone during a conversation, you know it doesn't always go smoothly.

“How do you spell that?”

“Is there a dot in between your first and last name?”

All kinds of questions can arise, and you or the other party can easily slip up and type something incorrectly. If that happens, your chances of keeping in touch significantly decline. And unfortunately, if the person you just met doesn't have accurate contact info for you, they aren't likely to go out of their way to find it. Effective business cards eliminate this problem, as they contain accurate and up-to-date contact info, proper spelling and all.

Showcasing your personality

You'd be surprised by how much personality you can fit into that 3.5-by-2-inch rectangle. One of the worst things you can do is use the basic, no-frills templates. You know these — they're the ones that business card websites offer for free or really cheap to lure you in.

Take the time to showcase your personality rather than accept the minimum. Add your company logo or a graphic that represents you. Whatever you add, just make sure it reflects you as a professional and adds aesthetic value. Your personal brand will thank you.

Affordable direct marketing

Business cards are relatively affordable compared to a lot of direct marketing collateral. Think of them as a sort of tiny brochure. You hand them out at conferences, during meetings, and to people you connect with by chance. They can contain a brief message about you that states who you are and what you do, along with the traditional contact info to help someone get in touch.

Related: Networking Event Tips: How to Succeed at Events

So, how exactly do you craft a business card, then?

Great question! There are a number of things you need to consider when crafting an effective business card. Here are just a few:

Find the right balance of information. You want to exercise some caution — too much information can make a card look sloppy, while too little can leave it looking empty and unprofessional. In order to avoid this, here are the basics you need to include:

  • Name and title

  • Company name

  • Email address

  • Phone number

  • Website address (if you have one)

You can add additional info at your discretion, but generally, the above is all that's necessary.

Select the right design. While you shouldn't accept the basic, no-frills option when ordering business cards, it's perfectly OK to use an business card template. In fact, many templates will allow you to upload your own logo or other graphics, so even though you may not be the only person with that template, you can still personalize it.

When it comes to a custom business card, make sure you know what you're doing; you need to understand things like aspect ratio, pixels, space, and a number of other considerations. Otherwise, you may end up with a blurry, out-of-focus design when you go to print. If you don't understand design but still want to go the custom route, have a professional design it for you.

Choose your cardstock. Thick, thin, or in between? All of these are fine options, but it's best to avoid cards that are paper thin. The quality of your card says a lot about the quality of you as a professional, so don't give that new contact a card that will crumble and fold under the slightest bit of pressure.

Shop around. This is the easy part of business card guidelines — there are tons of options for ordering cards. Some are better than others, so check reviews before you make your purchase. You can go directly to a printing service, but typically going through websites is cheaper and you can get just as high a quality as custom printers if you go with the right site. Not all sites will have the same variety of options for cuts, quality, and other aspects of your card, so do your research before you choose. Here are a few trusty options to help you get started:

  • Vistaprint: Perhaps the most widely-recognized site, Vistaprint has great prices and lots of options.

  • MOO: MOO offers a premium stock, including luxe and cotton among others.

  • Jukebox: It's not the cheapest, but Jukebox offers really cool options where cards are definitely customizable. Ever considered a wooden business card?

These are just a few of the many options available. Do your research, and don't settle. Find the best option for you before printing.

Don't overlook the value of an effective business card. They're a great way to enhance your personal brand and help build your career. So create a set ASAP and start handing out your cards!

Click on the following link for more networking advice.

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