By Meredith Wood

Before the days of social media driving marketing strategies, business professionals focused primarily on face-to-face communication to network and close deals. While the Internet and advanced technology have changed the business world for the better, it has also brought forth some very important questions. Many business owners are wondering: Can conventional marketing and networking still produce results?

It is easy to believe that social media marketing is the best way to generate results for your business. The same holds true with content marketing and search engine optimization. While all of these strategies, among others, have the potential to yield serious results, don’t ignore what has worked for so many years. Business cards should remain a big part of your networking strategy. Even if it is easy for others to connect online, there is no replacement for handing over a business card when you meet somebody in person for the first time. This is beneficial because:

  1. You have an opportunity to provide more information about yourself.
  2. A business card is a tangible item that can be stored by the recipient and used to contact you at a later date.

The standard dimensions of a business card are 3.5 x 2 inches. This is the type of card you are most familiar with, as it has been popular among business professionals for many years. But what if there was a way to up your business card game by taking a unique approach? Would you consider ditching your old cards for something new? Here are five business card tricks that will transform your business cards from ordinary to extraordinary.

1. Use Heavier Stock

Standard business cards often feel cheap. They don’t have much weight to them. They are easy to bend. In other words, they don’t convey a sense of quality. You can fight against this by finding a business card printer that offers heavier stock material. From a distance, these business cards appear the same as their cheaper counterparts. However, once you lay your hands on these heavier stock cards, there is no turning back.

Don’t be surprised when you hand one of these cards to a potential client and they proceed to make a lifting motion to judge its weight. Yes, you will spend more (but not much) for heavier material, but the quality of the product is above and beyond that of traditional business card stock.

2. Ditch the Paper for Good

Some people don’t like the thought of paper business cards. They consider them old school and outdated. If this sounds like you, it is time to consider another option, such as metal. Can you imagine the look on the other person’s face when you hand over a metal business card? Not only do these look cool, but the weight is something that will set you apart. Let’s put it this way: a metal business card will always be heavier than a paper alternative, even one that is printed on heavy stock paper. has all the information you need regarding metal business cards. You may be surprised to find that the price is quite reasonable, somewhere in the range of $1.50 to $2 per card (or less if printing in large quantities).

One of the best implementations I’ve seen of this is over at Expensify, where employees’ business cards look like credit cards. I’ve actually been at a tradeshow where someone picked up an Expensify business card up off the ground, and returned it to their booth, because they thought it was a real credit card!

3. Try a Unique Shape

As noted above, a standard business card is 3.5 x 2 inches. This is what most people order. It is also what most people expect to receive upon meeting a business contact. Why not try doing something different to set yourself and company apart? In the past, you didn’t have many choices regarding shape. Most printers did not offer anything but the standard. With die cut technology, everything has changed. Do you want a square business card? Easy. How about a circle? Just as simple.

If you can dream it up, there is a business card printer that can bring it to life. An automotive professional, for example, could create a business card in the shape of a particular vehicle, tire, or unique car part or tool. You can create your own artwork or have a designer do the work for you. Either way, don’t feel compelled to stick with the same old shape.

4. Create Content Outside the Box

A standard business card will include the following:

  • Company name
  • Your name
  • Title
  • Contact information

This is all you really need to include. It is more than enough for a person to remember who you are. It also gives others the details they need to contact you should the time come. But you can go the extra mile by adding “outside the box” content. Here are some cool ideas for a service manager at a car repair shop:

  • Hours of operation
  • Special discounts for returning customers
  • Maintenance schedule reminder

You can’t fit everything on your business card, and you definitely want to avoid clutter. But remember, adding unique content will set you apart from others.

5. Make it Multi-Purpose

There is no way to guarantee that every recipient of your business card will hang onto it. There is a way to improve the chance of this happening: make it multi-purpose. If your business card serves as some type of tool, you can be rest assured that others are likely to keep it close by. Here are some ideas:

  • Mirror
  • USB drive
  • Sponge

A business card with a mirror, for example, serves two purposes. On one side is your content, such as your name and contact information. On the other is a mirror, which is something that most people can use from time to time. And when they do, they will always think of you. Mission accomplished!

Not all business cards are simple and boring. If you want to break the mold, if you want to get more out of this marketing strategy, implement one or more of the ideas detailed above.