When I first started my own print company, specializing in business cards for real estate professionals, a friend commented that he was surprised people still used printed business cards.

The fact is, printed cards have been around for a very long time. In fact, if you do a web search, you’ll find that printed business cards first began appearing in China around the 15th Century as a means of promotion. So yeah, they’ve been around for a while!

So why are they still relevant in the digital age we find ourselves living in today? Because they continue to work.

In their simplest form, they provide people with contact information, but can also be modified to include new technologies, such as QR codes. And in industries like real estate, it’s very common to include photos, web, and social media links, to provide clients with a variety of information.

Print cards can also come in a variety of paper types, shapes, and finishes. But the most popular option continues to be the standard 14 pt or 16 pt card stock, with a gloss or matte finish. It’s a simple option that’s most affordable, and when designed right and printed on quality paper, can give end users a professional look and feel.

However, printed cards also come with several downsides that digital forms of marketing may not prone to.


  1. Printed cards are finite and need to be reordered on a regular basis. This means that unless you stay on top of things, it’s possible that you may not always have cards when you need them, simply because you’ve run out.
  2. A related problem is having plenty of cards, but not necessarily with you when you need one. For example, you may have a box of cards at your office, but not in your pocket when meeting with a new potential client.
  3. Additionally, your information may change from time to time. In real estate, for example, it’s not uncommon to switch from one broker to another. This means that anyone who has your old cards may not always have current, up-to-date contanct info for you.

So yes, there are disadvantages to using printed business cards, but that doesn’t mean print is dead. On the contrary, printed cards are still alive and well, and it’s this author’s opinion that while there may be newer technologies to help customers have your information, it’s still worth keeping some of those old school printed cards on hand, just in case.