Business Cards

promotional products have been helping businesses to grow since the late 19th century when an American shoe company gave away shopping bags with their shoes. Today, it's hard to imagine life without mugs, t shirts, pens and anything else you can think of with the company's name or logo on them.

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A Brief History of Business cards

Visiting cards were widely used in Europe during the 17th century, and these early cards served as somewhere to write important notes, as well as introducing someone of importance. The giving and receiving of cards was often seen as a way of indicating that your social commitments had been met, and although these cards were originally used only by the wealthy, gradually everyone began to see how useful they could be. The visiting card became a trade card, providing directions to a particular establishment, as well as serving as an advertisement. During the late 19th century, the business card as we know it today was introduced, and the visiting card was used less frequently. Early business cards carried the company's name, logo and contact information just as they do today, although advances in technology have meant that you can now hand out magnetic, 3-D or waterproof business cards.

The Importance Of the Business Card

Despite the fact that we live with almost daily advances in technology, the relatively simple business card still has an important place, along with promotional products. Think of the card as a small but highly effective way of advertising and promoting yourself, although your cards are of no use unless you actually get them into the hands of potential customers. Apart from handing them out when applicable, make a point of pinning your cards on bulletin and notice boards in restaurants, shops, and just about anywhere else. It's also acceptable to hand your card to someone if you strike up a conversation with them - you never know when they might need your service or product. First impressions are important, and although it's easy to design and print your own, you should take the trouble to have cards professionally designed, which still costs next to nothing. Make sure the information on your card is legible, and easy to read and resist the temptation to crowd the small space with too much information. Using your cards effectively can do more than you might think to promote and grow your business.

Business Card Etiquette

Keep your cards free of creases and clean, and never scribble or write on them before handing to someone. When handed a card, it's acceptable to briefly glance at it before putting it away, ideally in your wallet or purse. And be careful when exchanging business cards in certain other countries - the Japanese, for example are almost ritualistic about the exchange of cards. It must always be handed face up and must be looked at carefully before putting it away. It may not seem important, but simply handing and receiving cards the correct way can increase your chances of making that all important positive first impression and perhaps securing the deal.