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Are Business Cards Dead?

by Bill Cates

On September 3 (2020), we conducted a survey of our subscribers, asking them to share their perspective about printed business cards. Were they dead?  Dying? Still a viable tool?

As you might guess, the results and comments were all over the map. Some people said that they hadn’t used a printed business card in several years. Others said they still use them and will likely go back to using more once the pandemic is behind us (knock on wood).

The Conclusion?

It is clear that the printed business card is still alive and useful – at least for now and for some people. About 70% of the respondents said they still used printed cards to some extent. Others declared printed cards “dead.”

For those still using printed cards, folks are including the cards in with literature that gets mailed to prospects and clients.

Many folks like to receive the business card from someone else so they can record notes on the back – what they’ve learned or the next action step.

Prospects and other contacts still say, “May I have your business card?” And if you don’t, your credibility drops.

Several respondents observed that some people you meet for the first time aren’t willing to have their contact information in your smart phone just yet, and vice versa.

Three huge factors are:

  1. The business model

    Some business models lend themselves to using cards more than others. Some prospects want your business card as part of starting a new relationship.

  2. How long someone has been in business

    Someone new to business is likely going to use a lot more business cards in their non-stop prospecting efforts. Once they are established and not having to prospect incessantly, they will have cause for fewer cards.

  3. A person’s age

    As you would expect, the younger the person, the more the propensity to eschew printed cards in favor of digital business cards or no “cards” at all.

Here Are Some of the Perspectives Shared with Us

NOTE – I am not endorsing any of these comments, rather sharing some of the perspectives.

Digital Business Cards

Gail Goodman ( provided this wise advice:

I am a proponent of creating a “digital business card”. If you don’t have a digital professional way of getting into someone’s smartphone contact list, you’re dead to them. People don’t pick up a call that only shows a phone number, so being digital when you meet people is important. Becoming a contact is going to keep your relationship with someone alive. However, I do carry paper cards for raffles!

Business Cards Breed Business!

Michael Goldberg ( told us this:

Business cards breed business! All the digital stuff is great and we should be prepared with that too!

But a business card can be a reminder of you (and your brand!) on someone’s desk and can demonstrate that you came to an event well.

Besides, not everyone is prepared to have you in their phone if you meet them at the gym, a bar, or another social event. Starting with a printed card is bit less intrusive.

It Depends – Branding or Connection?

Dr. Rodney Mogen writes:

It depends on what you’re trying to do. If you are just trying to “brand” yourself and not make a real connection then NO, printed business cards are not dead.

If your true goal is to get a connection and a solid prospect and maybe turn that prospect into a client, then the Digital Business Card is a better way.

It’s still a business card, but now you get at least two things: 1) their cell phone number and 2. your information and photo in their phone.

It has worked for me more than handing out a paper card, as my picture shows in their phone when I text and call and gives them visual recognition.

Same Box for 10 Years

Dennis O’Keefe said:

I’d like to say “no, they aren’t dead,” but I’ve had the same box of business cards for nearly 10 years. As I have narrowed down who I want to talk to, I’ve used my book as my business card. I put a sticker with my phone number right on the front of the book.

Cards Are Faster and Easier

From Todd Bryant

I don’t think they are dead completely, but I certainly won’t be needing to order more any time soon! I think it’s easier now to either exchange contact info electronically or use LinkedIn to connect right there on the spot when you meet someone new.

Beginning to Wonder

Raffi Andonian had a thoughtful answer:

I used to be a big fan of business cards, because of branding and simple transfer of contact info. But since COVID, I don’t think I’ve used one at all. And I’m beginning to wonder if I can move away from printed cards for two reasons:

  1. With a more virtual world, geographic space has shrunk, and I do a fair bit of business out of state. Rather than having virtual contacts get a lesser experience by not getting a business card, why not standardize my process so all receive the same? This way, there is no difference in how someone virtual or live experiences my brand.
  2. I have many ventures: financial professional, author of a best-selling book and TV appearances (on a non-financial topic).

Sometimes, I’m not sure which brand to put forward.

Some people still expect a business card. But I will ditch them when I can; less to carry and worry about updating, etc.

Mixed Reviews on Digital Business Cards

Wylonda Surles uses both types of business cards:

I do believe once networking events and other events where people are coming together for quick exchanges (starts again), business cards will be just as valuable as they were before.

Virtual business cards are becoming more of a thing, but I’ve heard mixed reviews about them.

I still keep my business cards on me wherever I go, just so I won’t miss an opportunity that comes my way.

Haven’t Give Out a Card in Two Years

Writes Jason Silverberg:

I bought a 1000 business cards when my company changed their logo about 2 years ago. I have not given a single one out.

I just connect with someone on LinkedIn and then use the message feature to schedule a Zoom follow up.

After COVID-19

Cliff MacDonald shared this:

While I agree virtual meetings will still be utilized after Covid -19 subsides, face-to-face personal meetings will still be a very important aspect of business in the future.  As such, business cards will still be a necessity for most businesses. 

Not Dead – Wounded in Battle

Jack Bletstein shared this fun comment:

I do not use nearly as many as I did years ago.  They are not dead but not as functional as they were years ago.  Maybe not dead but wounded in battle!

This is Funny!

It took me a few seconds, but Stan Davisson got me laughing with his comment:

I will continue to use cards. I can’t think of a better way to convey the info when meeting someone. 

But it is hard to find cards that can stick to my elbow!

(Since most people are not shaking hands during COVID, we’ll have to exchange cards by taping them to our elbow.)

PLEASE don’t take it personally if I didn’t share your comment. We received way too many to share them all. Those above are representative of the variety of comments that we received.

What do you think?  Leave a comment below. Let’s continue the conversation. BILL

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