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Monday, April 30, 2012

Retailers Must Let Their Business Cards Evolve

Business Cards for the Age of Tech and You
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
The LA Times just headed an article "Business cards get filed under obsolete.'" I'm hoping none of my author friends read it, but just in case, here is my rant. They said that young people especially think that now we have e-mail (and, yes, I presume e-mail signatures!) business cards are redundant.
I remember back in the 70s (hippie days, remember?) when my husband and I opened our retail shops. We thought business cards were too, well—hoity toity. We were wrong then and whoever these "young people" are—well, they're wrong now.
Yes, more business is being done by e-mail. And yes we do have e-mail signatures (though most business correspondence I see doesn't do a good job with branding or information in their signatures. In fact they don't do as well as most business cards I see!).
Yes, people can easily punch details into their iPhones when they want to keep information. But business cards can be (should be as far as I'm concerned!) more than a way to exchange phone numbers. They should be mini advertisements. That phone number in someone's iPhone will not invite someone to a retailer's most recent event or help a customer visualize a retailer's storefront or logo. But a business card with  those images and maybe even a little award logo on it sure can. And it can do it more than once. It can remind people of you now and every time they run across that card in the future.
I am so convinced, I've included a little section on designing effective business cards and ideas for how to use them in A Retailer's Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotion( Here's but one quick example:

I spoke at a meeting for publicists  last month. There are usually 50 to 100 people at these meetings. What a shame if I let that kind of opportunity pass by just speaking and then saying "See you all later." Of course! Business cards! They will appear magically near each attendee's dinner plate. And yes, they have an image of my booksfor retailers with an endorsement from retail guru Randy Eller on them. And a USA Book News award-winner logo, too. And essential ordering information, of course.
I use business cards when I travel, too. They are crucial for those doing business in China, as an example, and yes people there still respect them enough to present them with both hands. People who think everyone lives and breathes by their smartphones are just as out of touch as those who ignore them in their marketing plans. Business cards are complementary to apps and other digital marketing, not an anachronism.
Some of you may remember when everyone thought that TV would make radio obsolete. It didn't. Radio just evolved. So will business cards. And in the meantime, I hope you won't let the opportunities they offer pass you by.
To for resources on business cards and you may want to subscribe to Reno Lovison's blog,
----- Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use this little green widget to let them know about it: