Over the last few years, we’ve seen content and conversations pop up about whether business cards are still relevant. We live in the digital age after all, and anything based in the paper is often labeled as out of date. Business cards may not be as important as they used to be, but they can still be a useful tool to build your network if used correctly.

First, there is really no reason not to at least have business cards available to you. If you work for a company, they will usually cover the cost of printing and delivery. If you are a business owner or have a side hustle, Vistaprint often has deals that offer 500 cards for as little as $10. Of course, the cards are useless if they gather dust on your desk. Spend a few extra dollars and get yourself a card-carrying case that fits in your pocket.

Presenting a business card to a new contact accomplishes 3 things. First, it legitimizes you as a business owner or clarifies your role within your company. Second, it provides a website for them to view and learn more than can be covered in a conversation. Lastly, they leave the conversation with a way to contact you.

There is the most significant difference between the past and the present when it comes to these cards, however. You can no longer assume that someone is going to contact you just because they have your information. Always make sure you get their card as well and that their contact information is on it. Then, reach out and make contact the next day. If they don’t remember you right away, they may look at the cards they collected and recall your conversation. We often write a sentence or two on the card to remember our conversation with them.

Business cards can still be useful, as long as they are used as a part of a detailed and proactive networking strategy.