Do You Need Your Address on Your Business Cards?

Is it essential to put your physical, “snail mail” address
on a business card? That topic is one I’ve debated with
a few readers lately. Some of these very experienced
networkers insist that a physical address is necessary on
a business card, usually because it makes it easier to mail
a brochure or follow up letter after meeting someone.

That’s true, but beside the point, in my opinion. Here’s
what I think.

With so little space available on a standard-sized card,
every graphic or line of text you include must be carefully
chosen. There is simply no room for every bit of
information that a business card recipient MIGHT want, so
you have to be very selective.

So what are the reasons for including a physical address
on a business card?

The first is simple — so that people know where your
office or store is located.

The second is simple, too — so that people can contact
you via mail.

I certainly believe in giving people multiple ways to
contact you, but still, those two reasons do not apply
(or apply in varying degrees) to different businesses.

In the first case, a physical address is simply not
very important to many companies and individuals who do
most of their business online. For them, putting an
address on an “About Us” page is usually a better use
of resources than putting it on a business card.

And for those of us who work from home, revealing our
personal address to anyone who might wind up with our
business card is a security issue and a business hassle
as well. We simply don’t want strangers strolling up
to our doors when we’re home alone (or not home at all),
or when we’re tending to family business rather than
money-making business.

(If you do work from home, some people suggest putting
the address of your mailbox rental company on your business card. What if someone tries to drive to your
business, only to wind up at MailBoxesEtc. instead, which
is the address on your card? It happened to me once, a
long time ago, and my prospect was plenty irritated.
I don’t recommend this solution.)

So the physical location of your business is simply
private or irrelevant for many business owners. Good
reasons to exclude it from your business card.

But what about reason two, including an address so
that people can easily send you something in the mail?

Remember, the job of a business card is to market
your business. If a street address helps you do that,
put it on your card; if it doesn’t, you certainly don’t have to include it just for another’s convenience.

That’s frustrating, I know, to networkers who want to
send cards or catalogs or newspaper clippings to business
contacts, but I feel it’s only courteous to use the
contact methods that people indicate they prefer.

It certainly doesn’t mean you can’t GET someone’s
physical address, if you need it, simply that you need
to do so another way. Ask them for it in person. Ask
for it via a phone call or an email message. Asking
for an address directly also has an added benefit —
it gives you the chance to pinpoint the prospect’s
interests and needs, and also gives you a chance to get better acquainted.

It boils down to what I’ve said all along.

Imagine your typical/ideal prospect or customer, what
they need to know most urgently, and what you want
them to do with your business card. Do most of them
need your physical address? Would you lose business
if it’s not included on your card? Would it be more
important if they saw your guarantee, or the brand
names you carry, or your many years of experience,
rather than your address?

Let the answers to those questions be your guide.

I’m sure you’ll have comments on this article,
and I welcome them!

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