Why we’ll never see the demise of the business card

You only have to look around you to notice that marketing and promotional budgets are being increasingly spent online. Traditional print and promotional materials are becoming redundant, digital agencies are no longer ‘digital’, they’re just ‘agencies’, and the lion share of funds are being increasingly spent on video, viral and social media.

But there’s one traditional printed item that’s never going to go the wall. The humble business card.

You can’t network with your iPad

For people who rely on networking for new business, a business card will always be King.

Plastic business card with QR code
Make the traditional business card interactive & digital

Ok, so you can send your Vcard electronically, connect via LinkedIn or send an email as you network. But it just doesn’t cut the mustard in the same way as a really well designed business card does, especially in a crowded room. The simple act of handing over a card you’re proud of, and saying ‘this is me’ – can’t be underestimated when it comes to first impressions.

You don’t have to break the conversation – or a great deal of eye contact – to hand over a card. You do if you get out your phone or tablet.

You aren’t instantly forgettable either…

So you’ve pinged over an email with your details. It gets lost amongst the 102 other emails in the inbox and you’re gone forever.

A printed business card is a physical reminder. And if it’s a great business card – really well designed, a bit different or an unusual shape – it’s going to get noticed.

So rather than thinking about how to get rid of your business cards in a digital world, you should think about how you get them to stand out.

Combine traditional print with digital opportunities

One way to do that is to do the best of both. Printed plastic business cards are one way to get noticed, and they’re far less likely to be thrown away. Add some metallic print or have them printed in the shape of your logo and the recipient will definitely look twice.

Then spec them up with a QR code

QR codes are no longer a novelty, they’re part of most brand’s marketing activity. Including a QR code on your plastic business cards can do many things when scanned, for example:

– Load a Vcard with your contact details directly into the recipient’s phone

– Launch your company website or take the recipient directly to your LinkedIn profile

– Take the user directly to your social media platform

– Launch a map of your office via Google Maps

– Take the user to a specific landing page on your site (e.g. directly to the service or product you are selling) or to product data sheets

– Launch a video on YouTube.

Including a QR code makes plastic business cards interactive, and it rewards the user for their effort. In short, they make your business cards work harder for you.

Don’t be put off by the cost for plastic business cards

Plastic business cards have often been rejected as being significantly more expensive than paper, which is true if there’s only one name being produced. But they come into their own for multiple runs of names.

Because of how they’re printed, it’s easy to change the names on each individual plastic business card, for minimal cost. The Card Network can print 500 plastic business cards for £145.13. And you can change the name on every single one for just an extra £20.

 

 

New membership cards for January?

If your membership programme renews in January, now is the ideal time to look at your membership cards and consider what you want them to do in 2014. It’s likely that they could be performing more functions for you than they currently are.

What would you like your cards to do?   

Membership cards
Include a range of features on your cards

Increasing numbers of clubs and organisations want their membership cards to do more than just prove eligibility of membership. By including a range of features, or changing the type of card you use, you can turn them into multi-purpose cards.

If you want to secure access to locker rooms or members-only areas for example, you can easily turn the membership cards into ‘swipe to access’ cards.

Or you could turn them into ‘smart cards’, and allow members to use them to ‘swipe’ for their lunch, or access their tab at the bar.

More clubs are also looking for membership cards that also act as loyalty cards, to encourage more spending from members. We can also advise on the right loyalty system to meet your requirements.

Numbering as standard  

All our membership cards are full colour, double sided numbered cards. You can also choose from a range of extra features, such as signature panels or barcodes. Or why not include a QR code to unlock a members-only benefit on your website? 

Refresh your look for 2014

Even if you don’t need any new features, and don’t need your membership cards to do anything particularly clever, refreshing the design is always a good idea. Many clubs and organisations use the same design year after year, mainly because they don’t have a Designer to create a new one for them. Design and artwork is included in all of our quoted prices, so why not ask us to refresh the look of the cards for you.

All our membership cards are made from high quality, durable plastic and are the same thickness as a standard credit card.

Our friendly team is happy to advise on the many features of membership cards. Call us on 0844 257 8857 or email sales@thecardnetwork.co.uk

Create Christmas invites with a difference

Christmas bauble invitation

 

If you’re holding a lavish Christmas party or event this year, make an impression straight away by sending guests an invitation with a difference.

Get people talking – and interacting

Rather than sending a traditional paper invitation, think about what a printed plastic cards could do. For a start you’ve already stood out for being unexpected, which will start creating a buzz far in advance of the event.

But printed plastic cards can do much more than just give time and location details of the party.

Include a QR code

Start generating intrigue in the event as soon as your guest opens the envelope. Ask them to scan the QR code to launch a ‘secret’ page on your website. This could contain the location and details of the party, or give a special benefit to those who have put in the effort, for example details of a special VIP area or exclusive offer.

 Reveal Christmas goodies through a scratch panel

Including a scratch panel on your printed plastic cards is a great way to give away a freebie at the event, for example a free cocktail at the bar, or other bonus like tokens for the casino. People love to feel they’ve ‘won’ a benefit, rather than just being handed a voucher at the door.

Exclusive event? Have individual guest names on your printed plastic cards

Having each card personalised with guest names or details gives an impression of an exclusive invite to your event. This is much more affordable than you might think. We can personalise each individual card from as little as £20 extra for 500 cards.

Printed plastic cards are also much more likely to be retained after the event than a paper invite, acting as a reminder of your brand and a great day or night out.

Search our range of custom printed plastic cards here.

Printed plastic cards: jargon explained

The world of printed plastic cards is full of terminology. How many microns? Magentic stripe (uncoded or encoded)? Hi-Co or Lo-Co?

We do our best not to talk in jargon, preferring instead to ask our customers what they want their cards to do. But sometimes it’s unavoidable. Here’s a guide to the terminology you’ll come across when you’re ordering printed plastic cards:

Microns – not a being from another planet

The thickness of printed plastic cards is measured in microns rather than mm’s. A standard credit card measures 760 microns. The higher the microns, the thicker and better quality the card is.

The majority of cards you have in your wallet will be 760 microns, although some cards like discount cards or business cards can be thinner, often 680 or 420 microns.

Always check the microns of the printed plastic cards you’re ordering. That cheap price you found might be cheap because the cards aren’t very good quality.

Do you need a magnetic stripe?

Most people are familiar with ‘swiping’ their card for entry into the gym for example, to buy their lunch at work, take out library books or to gather loyalty points. This works because the ‘reader’ (gym turnstile for example) ‘reads’ the information held on the magnetic stripe on the back of your card and recognises you.

Whether or not you need a magnetic stripe on your printed plastic cards depends on the ‘reader’ and technology you’re using. They are often found on Membership cards, loyalty cards and ID cards.

If you order uncoded magstripe plastic cards, they will be sent for you to ‘match up’ with your system at your end. Or they can be supplied ready encoded, if you provide the relevant information to the card supplier.

HiCo or LoCo?

The next question you’ll be asked is whether you need HiCo (High-coercivity) or LoCo (Low-coercivity) magnetic stripe.

HiCo are typically black, whereas LoCo are typically brown. The difference lies in the level of security. As the name suggests, HiCo magstripes are more secure and stable. They are commonly used in situations where cards are frequently swiped and the need for security is higher (for example in accessing a building).

LoCo magstripes are fine in situations where security is less important, and the need for the card to hold information is temporary, for example on gift cards or hotel key cards.

As you’d expect, LoCo magstripes on printed plastic cards tend to be cheaper than HiCo ones. Which is best suited to you will depend on what you need the card to do and how long you need it to last. If durability and security is key, go with HiCo. If the cards are single use or are needed only temporarily, LoCo will be fine.

Other card options

You can also customise most printed plastic cards by including a signature panel, bar code or QR code, depending on what you want the card to do.

One other thing – check the inner core

Don’t just assume that the plastic cards are 100% plastic. Some printed plastic cards have a cardboard inner core, which results in a much lower quality card.  It impacts on colour definition and vibrancy – you’ll often see a border around the card where the cardboard ends, and they aren’t as durable.

If you need any help on ordering printed plastic cards, our friendly team are happy to answer any questions. Simply tell us what you want the cards to do and we’ll advise you.

The benefits of QR Codes on printed plastic cards

QR codes have been around for a while, but have you thought of using them on your printed plastic cards?

QR codes are a simple way for customers or clients to easily access your website, specific landing page or social media platform, in one scan. As smartphones continue to dominate the mobile market, QR codes are now accessible by the majority, rather than the minority.

Get your business cards working harder for you

QR code plastic business cards
QR codes encourage interaction

Including a QR code helps your business card to stand out in a sea of others – it gives it a point of difference. And it has a lot of benefits. When scanned, the code could:

–          Load your contact details (via a Vcard) into the recipient’s phone

–          Take the user directly to your profile page on your company website or LinkedIn profile

–          Direct them to your company’s social media platform

–          Or take them to a specific landing page on your site – e.g. the individual service you are promoting (particularly useful in large organisations offering multiple products).

Engage with delegates at conferences or Expos

QR codes are a great way to engage with delegates at conferences and visitors at Expos.

For the organisers of events, using QR codes on your printed plastic cards, such as your event passes or ID badges has a number of benefits.

You could promote your schedule of events: scanning the code could download details of the day’s/week’s schedule into the smartphone for example, or a map of exhibitors.

Or if you’re an Exhibitor, you could hand out cards that invite people to ‘scan me to save details of our workshop to your phone’, which would then save the date, time and location into their calendar.

Give someone a reason to scan it

Including an incentive significantly increases the interaction with QR codes. At an exhibition for example, printed plastic cards could invite people to ‘scan me for special food and drink offers’, or ‘scan me to enter a competition’.

For more information about including QR codes on your printed plastic cards, please contact one of our team.

Plastic business cards: multiple names, one run

Plastic business cards are a great way to stand out. Especially in a sea of paper cards that are often fraying at the edges.

Plastic business card
Why not have a business card for everyone in your organisation?

They make a statement. They say you’re a bit different. Add some extra touches like metallic print or a QR code that links directly to your website and suddenly you’re in a different league.

Most importantly, plastic business cards are far more likely to be kept in someone’s wallet than paper ones.

But they’re more expensive. Aren’t they?

Here’s where the cost savings come in

Runs of paper business cards are inexpensive. But in almost every case, you have to pay for each name you want on a business card, because it entails a new set-up at the printers. So if you have 20 employees, the printing costs suddenly multiply x 20.

The difference with our plastic business cards is you can have as many names as you like.

So you might take our 500 business card pack and ask for 10 names to be printed, so each employee receives 50 cards each. We only make a small extra charge for this flexibility – in this case £20.

You could even have a different name on every single card.

How about a name badge for every employee in the company?

If you have 1000 employees, take our 1000 business card pack, send us your information and we’ll print a different card for everyone. Perfect for a big event you’ve got coming up or for people to just to have in the drawer for the next one.  

250 full colour, double sided plastic business cards start from just £112.70.

If you’d like any further information, please get in touch.