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Perhaps the most time-honored tradition in business networking is distributing business cards. Whether you’re passing them along to vendors, clients, subordinates, or even the media, you are likely to pass out many cards every year.
For as long as they have been in widespread use, business cards have been made of paper, specifically of thicker paper known as cardstock. It provides a durable card that’s easy to separate from the stack.
However, like many products, business cards have been made out of paper simply out of a tradition built on a lack of other options years ago, and the shortcomings of paper cards have been tolerated for so long that they have been accepted as just part of the cost of doing business.
Paper business cards have a number of issues in certain applications, but perhaps a better way to view the issue is in terms of the alternative. Many different users are finding that plastic business cards are superior to paper ones. Here are several reasons why.
The first benefit of a plastic card is that it will last much longer. You’ve probably retrieved other people’s business cards from inside a purse, briefcase, or drawer, only to find that the ink has gotten rubbed off on adjacent cards, or the entire card has worn down to an unreadable condition. It may have bent back and forth thousands of times in a wallet, eventually wearing the card in two or removing the ink.
Plastic cards don’t have that problem. The material is much more durable than paper, providing years of clear, legible service no matter where it’s stored. It flexes instead of creasing, keeping even the most unfriendly storage from damaging its appearance.
Even bad weather won’t prevent you from passing it along to interested parties. The rainfast surface won’t absorb precipitation of any kind (or spilled coffee, or mud puddles, or wet spots on freshly-mopped floors). This will reduce the waste of cards that may get exposed to wet surfaces, saving you money in the long haul.
More Finish Options
Paper cards have a certain degree of versatility, but once you explore the options available in plastic, you’ll realize how much better it really is.
Plastic cards can include a wide variety of finishes, all of which help create an image for you and your business. Plastic cards can even be transparent; try doing that with a traditional paper business card!
Ink is another area where plastic tops the charts. With metallic elements, your business card can really grab some glimmer, making your name and information jump out among your competitors.
With paper, you are generally limited to glossy or matte and to a fairly limited group of colors, defined by the colors of ink you plan to apply to them. As you begin to explore the options available with plastic cards, you’ll realize just how narrow the options have been with paper all these years.
It may sound unusual, but a business card’s tactile characteristics do matter. Think o fa potential customer visiting a trade show and picking up a bunch of paper business cards along with your plastic one. Which card will be easiest to hold as they shuffle through the stack?
Which will be most noticeable in that stack? Plastic will always be more rigid and more distinctive to handle, and your plastic card will be the first to grab their attention every time.
A package of plastic cards is also easier to handle. They won’t stick together the way paper cards do, and that will make it easier to keep them organized in a card carrier, on a rack, or in a stack on a tabletop display.
Your business card is something you should plan very carefully. It needs to provide essential information about how to reach you, of course, but it also needs to convey something about your quality of work and the type of clientele you serve.
Most people put a lot of thought into the design, choosing colors, fonts, graphics, layouts, and other features with great care in order to maximize the impact of their cards. Yet they may choose incorrectly on the actual material, unknowingly reducing the number of options available to them in design and function.
Paper business cards are falling slowly out of favor as plastic pushes into the market with greater durability, flexibility of design, and easier handling.
Your next order of cards could do more to attract business than you ever thought possible, so keep materials in mind and remember that the grocery store isn’t the only place where you choose between paper and plastic.