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Are business cards really important?

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PuddinAndPeanuts

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I question whether business cards are actually beneficial.

When I had business cards, people would always take them. It seemed like it allowed them to leave my booth while still feeling like they weren't empty handed. But, for all those cards I gave out, I doubt I got more than 3 sales a year. Probably less. I got considerably more emails off the contact info on my jars than off my cards.

I quit carrying cards at shows when I decided I'd had it with sales that involve the post office. At that point, why give out cards? No custom orders. Nope- if you call me next week, I'm not interested in selling it then and mailing it to you. The best I'll do is mail large wholesale orders and I will still sell something to an individual outside a show if they want to drive their happy ass to my doorstep to pick it up.

For me, cards were not driving sales AT ALL and I suspect I actually get more sales than I lose because customers no longer have the safety net of thinking they're going to call later.

Just food for thought...
 

Cindy2428

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I think business cards fall under the category of traditional networking. I saw quite a few soapers/vendors exchanging cards at the Guild Conference.
 

Dahila

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I gave already like 200 cards and people are coming back, or coming to my place, so it does give you a chance to be seen by others. I had a customers who said she had seen my card at her friends and she came to buy salves and soaps. It makes sense, at least in Canada it does
 

shunt2011

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I wouldn't be without business cards. They've been great networking tools and have gotten me many return customers. Plus it looks professional to have them displayed on my tables I think.
 

Misschief

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Disclaimer - I work in a print shop and business cards make up a very large part of our business so I am a little biased towards them. Believe me when I say that business cards are often a loss leader for us.

One thing I will tell customers who question whether or not they need them is that, in the whole scheme of things, it's inexpensive advertising. 90% of business cards will be tossed into the nearest garbage bin but if your cards yield one sale, generally speaking they've done their job. As far as I'm concerned, it's better to have a card to hand out in case someone asks for your contact information than not to.

I should also add that I have customers who feel that a business card is a reflection of who they are and will go all out to get the most expensive cards they can find (silk laminated, spot UV or spot foil, etc.). Yeah, that's pretty much a waste of money. You want to make it easy for people to contact you; a simple, humble business card will do that and you don't need to spend a lot on those.
 

Toni2016

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I question whether business cards are actually beneficial.
quote]

Thank you for this. I think it is a really interesting point, because you have carried out the research by giving cards and by also giving your email address, and you were able to see which option was more productive for you.

One day I would like to sell my soaps too, and I now feel more equipped to do this, as I gather more information from experience gained by others.

Thanks again

Toni
 

penelopejane

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My son runs a business totally cloud based (no paper in the office no photocopying - they scan everything). He has 3 offices. He didn't think business cards were necessary. It took about 9 months before he caved to pressure from clients and networking at conferences. He doesn't know how effective they are but if someone asks for one he wants to be able to hand out his info (including website and email) in a professional manner.
 

PuddinAndPeanuts

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My son runs a business totally cloud based (no paper in the office no photocopying - they scan everything). He has 3 offices. He didn't think business cards were necessary. It took about 9 months before he caved to pressure from clients and networking at conferences. He doesn't know how effective they are but if someone asks for one he wants to be able to hand out his info (including website and email) in a professional manner.

People ask for them all the time. I know they want them. But I don't see what difference it makes if they have one. I don't post my shows on a website- I don't want to advertise to competition the shows that are good. I won't take custom orders. There's no reason for them to contact me. Other than whole sales opportunities (for whom I do actually give out cards to), all a card does (for my business) is make people feel better about leaving my booth without buying something right now.

Now, I am actually thinking about printing cards to pass out to potential contacts for my jewelry supplies. That, I do see value in.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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So why not ask for their email and send a monthly email with your planned shows and new products? Although personally I think that having your upcoming shows on a website is a very good idea - your competition can find about it anyway, plus I hope you can stand up to competition in a market. If it is as good a market as you say, the owners won't allow too many similar stalls
 

makemineirish

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I do not sell, but I do buy...a lot. I confess that I am a business card collector. I have an extensive Christmas/birthday gift list and have a reputation for finding the perfect gift. Basic frugality and storage concerns keep me from purchasing items to be disseminated indiscriminately later. Each acquisition always has an intended recipient.

My system involves going to an art festivals and craft shows. If a vendor has an aesthetic or product line that appeals to me, I collect their card. This allows me some time to evaluate my options.

Waiting until later in the year ensures that I do not buy a gift that becomes superfluous. My mom might replace the cutting board she broke before I can gift her one. It might make sense to select the ceramic ware color based on how my brother repaints his kitchen. Someone's new relationship might not last through the holidays. In terms of soap and body care items, shelf-life and fragrance strength may be compromised if I buy them too far in advance.

I use my business card collection as a gift-giving catalog and appreciate when artisans actually have a photo of their work to serve as a visual reminder of what I liked. There is a third-generation broom-maker in Tennessee that I have ordered from repeatedly and a anesthesiologist in Montana who designs jewelry that my aunt loves. Neither have websites, but they have cards.

I admit that there are probably cards in my stash that have not yet yielded a sale for a variety of reasons. It is entirely possible that they will in the future. New people enter my circle all the time. However, almost every gift that I have bought in the last decade started with a card.
 

cerelife

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I do not sell, but I do buy...a lot. I confess that I am a business card collector. I have an extensive Christmas/birthday gift list and have a reputation for finding the perfect gift. Basic frugality and storage concerns keep me from purchasing items to be disseminated indiscriminately later. Each acquisition always has an intended recipient.

My system involves going to an art festivals and craft shows. If a vendor has an aesthetic or product line that appeals to me, I collect their card. This allows me some time to evaluate my options.

Waiting until later in the year ensures that I do not buy a gift that becomes superfluous. My mom might replace the cutting board she broke before I can gift her one. It might make sense to select the ceramic ware color based on how my brother repaints his kitchen. Someone's new relationship might not last through the holidays. In terms of soap and body care items, shelf-life and fragrance strength may be compromised if I buy them too far in advance.

I use my business card collection as a gift-giving catalog and appreciate when artisans actually have a photo of their work to serve as a visual reminder of what I liked. There is a third-generation broom-maker in Tennessee that I have ordered from repeatedly and a anesthesiologist in Montana who designs jewelry that my aunt loves. Neither have websites, but they have cards.

I admit that there are probably cards in my stash that have not yet yielded a sale for a variety of reasons. It is entirely possible that they will in the future. New people enter my circle all the time. However, almost every gift that I have bought in the last decade started with a card.
"In terms of soap and body care items, shelf-life and fragrance strength may be compromised if I buy them too far in advance."
"I use my business card collection as a gift-giving catalog and appreciate when artisans actually have a photo of their work to serve as a visual reminder of what I liked."
Thank you for this insight from a buyers perspective!!
I always have business cards available, and my market table business card holder is a source of conversation in and of itself. Both reflect my business 'image'...and while I do agree that spending $$$ on business cards isn't particularly productive, I've always disliked the flimsy cheap cards as a consumer. So I spend the few extra dollars to get quality cards ($30 for 500) of a heavy card stock with a glossy finish that feel good in your hand and won't fold up in your wallet.
What made me respond to this post was my recent decision to create/purchase 'Rack Cards' - basically a larger version of a business card that allows me to add photos of my products and a little something about my business and why I do what I do...
I was second guessing myself if any of my customers would care/appreciate this addition, so it's nice to see a post from someone who thinks the same way I do as a consumer :)

business card holder.jpg
 

dixiedragon

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I was taking a class about products, presentation, etc and 1 think they pointed out was that glossy cards a) are hard to write on and b) show wear and look dirty more quickly. So the recommendation was a light-colored, non-glossy card - that way customers could write stuff on it.
 

Misschief

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I was taking a class about products, presentation, etc and 1 think they pointed out was that glossy cards a) are hard to write on and b) show wear and look dirty more quickly. So the recommendation was a light-colored, non-glossy card - that way customers could write stuff on it.
If I know there's a chance my customers will be using their business cards for writing on, I'll recommend one of two stocks. Either an opaque (i.e. Accent Opaque 100 lb) or a coated one side (i.e. 12 point Carolina C1S). The opaque stock has no coating at all and the Carolina C1S (coated one side) has a coated front with an uncoated back.

My own cards are on 100 lb Accent Opaque, are black on the front and blank on the back. They're also a different size. I chose to go with a 3" x 3" business card, rather than the standard 3.5" x 2". They're instantly memorable because the size is unusual.
 

nsmar4211

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Love the business card holder!

I've had mixed results with business cards in my other ventures. I think it's a mark of a "professional" to have one, but I personally do not foist them on everyone. I only give them out if they ask for one or I feel they will use the information.

Personally, I avoid odd sized ones for the simple reason that they don't fit in wallets or business card binders (which I have one myself). Foldovers work well and still fit. As a consumer, I end up tossing the ones that won't fit (and those ridiculous Moo little slim things just get lost). An eye catching design is better than a weird size to me.




I agree with the "avoid glossy" statement unless the back is matte because it's not writeable. I know I write notes on business cards I pick up to remind myself of why I have it, and you can't on the plastic/glossy ones.
 

cerelife

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The backs of my cards are indeed matte, and I have a pen available for customers who are trying to choose between scents and want to write the names of the scents they liked (but didn't choose that day) on the back of the card for when they they go to my website.
My weekly market is open rain or shine, and the heavy glossy card stock holds up FAR better in our 'Deep South' summer heat/humidity/torrential downpours than any others I've tried! Even the heavy card stock matte cards tended to warp in our heat and humidity.
I'm surprised that anyone would advise against glossy cards due to "showing wear/looking dirty" more quickly, as I've found the opposite to be true :)
 

Misschief

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I have had (male) customers who decided against glossy cards because of image transfer after some time, usually men who carry their business cards in their wallets, and usually with digitally printed cards. That would be the only reason I could see to avoid glossy cards.

In some cases, I have told customers their design would work better on a non-glossy card but that's rare.
 
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