Much has been written about the lasting importance of business cards in this digital world. We have seen attempts to replace traditional business cards with the exchange of virtual business information by NFC communication, QR codes, or other electronic means. Despite this seeming progress, and even though it’s 2017, we are far from ready to forgo traditional business cards. That being said, digital progress has not stopped the evolution of this personal information medium, and there are constantly new technologies that may bring attention to business owners. As a business owner, I have taken advantage of many business card novelties and would like to share my experience.
The majority of business owners use traditional printed business cards to introduce themselves and exchange contact information. The price of cards went down drastically, and if you are willing to sacrifice quality, you may get business cards that cost little to nothing. Even features that were once rather expensive like spot UV coating, foil stamping, digital die cutting, embossing, etc. are now within reach for many business owners and offer some ways to stand out.
As the owner of Arrow Studio, photography and creative business that depends on networking and meeting other professionals, I found that having unique business cards helps in many different ways to accomplish networking objectives. A unique card may bypass the (for me) often awkward first intro and “break the ice” moment. At first, I adopted a see-through plastic business card that makes people hold it up to the light and comment on the “cool factor” together with, “I have never seen a card like it, so what do you do?” I have been using plastic cards for many years now. They are inexpensive and make people pause, look, and start a conversation.
Video Business Cards
A year ago, I discovered the latest in business card evolution – a video business card (TheVideoCards.com). This card is a small USB flash drive with battery, screen, and a small speaker. They are considerably thicker than traditional paper cards – at 3/8 of an inch; you will not be carrying them in your wallet. They are still rather expensive – depending on the quantity, they may come to $15 – $25 per card. Still, in the hand of the right client, they make people remember you. Based on my year of use, here are some pros and cons I have found:
Pros of Video Business Cards:
- Video Business Cards immediately make you the center of the conversation. In many cases, people that I hand my card to call other associates to look at my card.
- The card is shared more than any other card I have had before.
- The card can be updated with new videos, and thus you may create a card for a specific occasion.
- It is the best conversation starter I have ever used.
- While clients may not remember my uncommon name, they do remember me “as the guy with the video card.”
- Given my work in the creative industry, it brings immediate credibility to my work.
- The cards are almost never thrown away. Some clients have my card on their desk for months.
- Clients that receive/have seen my card do remember me and what I do.
- Some people are almost honored to receive, what they consider, a very expensive promotional material.
- Video on Video Business Card can make the introduction of your services while the user pays attention. This alone is a benefit that greatly overshadows any other typical introduction.
Cons of Video Business Cards:
- The cards are still the most expensive option in the business card selection and most likely will be handed only to people with a serious business potential.
- The cost for the video must be calculated into the cost of the cards themselves (if a client has no means to produce video in-house).
- While the battery may last six months or more, eventually the cards will have to be recharged (via USB port). Therefore, it is advisable to order a supply for six months or so.
- The cards are bulky, and so you probably will not carry more than a few cards at a time. This is also problematic during off-hours when you may not have your bulky video business cards in your pocket or wallet (unlike traditional cards).
Marketing and communication have all completely evolved, and video may be one of the most effective methods of marketing today. Although we are exposed to video on many websites and social media, video business cards bring the unique ability to deliver a message that, in the noise of our over-advertised environment, may otherwise disappear.
The fast-paced progress in technology has brought us many devices that just a decade ago were novelties or did not exist. No longer do we question smartphones, video doorbells, and self-recharging sweepers. Eventually, the sight of business cards with a video message will not turn heads as they do now. In the meantime, users may take advantage of the novelty and create contacts benefiting their business bottom line.