Despite the rise of business connections taking place on digital platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, business cards remain relevant.
One factor keeping them at the forefront of business communications is the rise in freelancers and self-employed people across the UK.
The number of people classed as self-employed rose by over one million during the past two decades – the Office for National Statistics shows that 4.8 million workers were classed as self-employed in the UK in 2017.
And every one of these people working for themselves needs to promote their business and brand – through both digital and print methods.
Simon Cooper, Solopress managing director, says: “Business cards are a great ice-breaker, as well as being a portable extension of your brand – a pocket-sized presentation of what you’re all about.”
Who uses business cards?
All manner of self-employed people need business cards to promote themselves. From traditional areas like hairdressing and joinery, to the modern digital freelancers.
Creatives who sell on Etsy and advertise through Instagram – as well as self-employed designers, photographers and illustrators – all use business cards to network at trade events and make new connections.
Additionally, they can provide an extension to your brand – with the ability for creatives to use their own distinctive designs to transform the cards into their portable studio window.
Textile artist Hannah Redden is creating alternative business cards that reflect her company and its products.
She explained: “To sum up what it is I do, ‘loving old whilst thinking new’. Creating beauty where it has been overlooked.”
What are the most popular self-employed careers?
Of course, self-employment goes way beyond the creative and digital industries – touching on all professions and walks of life.
Despite the well-documented struggles of the high street, research conducted by American Express and GlobalData suggests independent outlets will increase by 0.3pc between 2017 and 2023.
Newly-established shops, like independent clothing retailers or tattoo parlours, rely on the use of business cards as a cost-effective way to promote their business to their clientele.
According to 2017 statistics from the National Hairdressers’ Federation, there were 41,000 hair and beauty businesses in the UK and 94,000 self-employed hairdressers and barbers.
This means 54% of all UK hairdressers and barbers are self-employed.
Of these beauty industry workers, some set up their own salons, others rent chairs in already established shops and many operate on a mobile basis. All would benefit from a business card to list their location, services and double-up as a handy appointment card.
There has been a rise in self-employed cleaners and newly-established cleaning businesses in the UK in recent years. Business cards are the best way for these cleaners to advertise their services to local businesses or homes.
Effective promotion methods include leaving a stack of business cards in waiting rooms or stapling cards to flyers that have an exclusive offer, to post through letterboxes.
Digital & tech workers
Remote working has become commonplace in recent years and is frequently seen in the tech support sector. The number of freelance IT consultants and tech support workers has increased, bringing with them a need to promote their services.
They rely on word of mouth and grassroots networking – and need to be contactable when any issues occur. In both these circumstances, business cards are the ideal marketing tool, as they can be handed over before or after conducting work and provide the necessary contact details.
Are business cards still worth it?
While many people now use online platforms and portfolios to connect and network with people, there’s still an important place for a business card.
They allow you to merge technology and tradition. You can add your social tags and addresses to the contact details of your card. QR codes can also be used as a direct hyperlink to a specific website.
James Barraclough, Headline Printers director, says: “Business Cards still have value in a digital world for two reasons. First, they’re a great point of interaction, when you first enter a meeting there is the ritual of handing over the business card – this is a great ice breaker.
“At the same time, for people who have serious difficulty in remembering names (I’m sadly one of those people), it acts as a great aide memoire both during, but especially after, the meeting.
“Then there is also the fact that they are tactile and relatively permanent. I will generally remember that I have been handed a card by someone at some point in the past, however I won’t remember accepting a LinkedIn connection.
“Because of the tactile nature of the card, they have the ability to convey a lot about your business and what it stands for. So, they act as a mini demonstration or presentation of what your brand is all about.”
Whether you’re an Etsy seller or a plumber, start promoting your business with a business card from Headline Printers. Choose from a selection of card designs, paper types and shapes to create a premium card to impress your clients.