Yes, this is the Digital Age. Everything is online, on the screens of computers, smartphones and tablets. But lo and behold, an ancient, tried-and-true tool of networking, marketing and self promotion is still holding its own amongst all the technology and digitalness that surrounds it—the business card.

That’s right, the business card. That formidable, grizzled card stock mainstay that will never go away. Well, at least not anytime soon.

At the Tree Care Industry Expo a couple of months back, I attended an educational session presented by Jeffrey Ling, an arborist and industry consultant based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Ling’s presentation was titled “What Are You Worth? The Talk, the Telling, and the Selling of Tree Care,” and it was excellent.

One of the topics Ling spoke about was the importance of marketing your business and the importance of the business card.

He talked about why anyone serious about their profession needs a well-designed (heck, even a plainly designed) business card to hand out to prospective and current clients.

Ling brought up a situation in his past where he did an estimate, didn’t get the job, but as he always does, he gave the customers his business card before leaving.

What did the customers do with the card?

They put it on their refrigerator. Subsequently, they ended up needing Ling to care for a tree in their yard, and what did they do? They looked on their refrigerator, remembered Ling and called him.

He got the job—and the money.

That’s what most people do when you give them your card – they save it, on the fridge, or in the drawer, or on the desk.

The business website recently published in article titled “5 Reasons Business Cards Still Matter.” Here’s the reasons why, according to the article, you should have a pocket full of them at all times:

Swapping contact information digitally is impersonal: Yes, it’s convenient. But a lot of times, when you exchange contact information with someone, both your eyes and theirs are focused on the screens of your phones. Relationships are made with eye contact and actual conversation. Customers will appreciate your personal touch, whether it’s during an estimate or after a job – after all, repeat business and word of mouth are what keeps the successful tree care companies successful.

They are the most effective direct marketing tools: As it says in the article, “Email marketing, search engine optimization and paid media all do a great job of attracting leads and prospects, but they still aren’t as effective as an in-person meeting sealed with a handshake along with a business card exchange.”

A business card is the first impression of your brand: Ling discussed this during his presentation. From a customer’s perspective, the difference between you, armed with a professional business card, and the other guy without one, is night and day. A business card is a physical object with which a potential prospect leaves the encounter. Your brand stays with them.

Creative business cards get shared—continuing to market for you: Ling mentioned that, yes, a well-designed business card is ideal, but just having one is infinitely better than not having one at all. Like anything, the nicer cards you want, the more expensive they’ll be. But consider this: Maybe there’s one office expenditure you can cut back on to afford yourself a nicer business card. It’ll be well worth it.

Business cards show you are prepared: This one is self-explanatory. Customers feel more comfortable dealing with prepared, professional companies and individuals.

So if you don’t have a business card, do yourself and big favor—get some made. Now!A3600_1_full

Rob Meyer