Many of our readers work as insurance agents which means they are responsible for building and promoting their own brand. If you're one of these people, or you work independently in any other industry, you probably consider your business cards to be your best friend. Business cards offer a physical, permanent reminder to people that you exist and they're virtually free to produce.
A Harvard Business blog recently pointed out that in today's increasingly online world, business cards aren't as valuable as they once were. The post suggests that rather than having a business card, you should just have a website that people can find on Google. Building an online presence is certainly important, but it's not quite as easy to rise up the Google ranks as the article makes it seem.
First, why is a website so much better than a business card? One of the main reasons is because your contact information is bound to change from time to time. If you get a new phone number or email address, every business card you've ever handed out becomes worthless. If you have a website, you can simply update your contact information on the site and you're all set. Websites also provide a lot more information than you could ever fit on a small card.
The problem with the suggestion to simply get your website on Google is that, aside from how hard it can be to make the website in the first place, it can be really challenging getting your site on the first page of Google results if you have a common name.
So what should you do? Well, if you've got the resources, there really is no replacement for your own customized site. If you don't want to spend the time and money it takes for that, make sure that you've got a strong presence on a site like LinkedIn. Being on LinkedIn isn't enough if none of your contacts know about it. You should put a link to your profile on a business card to make sure that everyone you meet knows where they can find you online.
There are also tools out there that let you put up your own website without having to make it yourself. At Zane Benefits we have a program specifically for insurance agents that provides a customized website along with some other tools most independent business people need. If you want to see other ways you can establish an online presence, check out my post on the 5 tools that every insurance agent needs.