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Which is More Effective: Business Cards or Flyers?

Both business cards and flyers are two of the most effective forms of mass marketing. Each one allows individuals and businesses to quickly and efficiently relay their company’s message to potential new customers and or clients. While both are tools used by companies to get out their message, they are both different. Determining which one you should pass out likely will depend on the situation. However, is one more effective than the other? How effective is handing out business cards compared to flyers? Does one get more leads that the other? The answer will depend on your intent and the situation.

When and who to give your Business card to

business cards

Business cards are a great way to get the word about your business or professional services out. During networking events you should always be sure to have your business cards ready to hand out at the proper moment. Likewise, you can expect to receive several. Like with everything, there are ways to over-do it. For example, handing your business card to someone before you actually decide to maintain contact can be a turn off. You wouldn’t give someone your phone number before you even start talking, would you? 

Secondly, you should be sure to only hand out your business cards to those you make genuine connections with. Let’s say you’re at a mixer or even just a bar and start hitting it off with someone there. There’s a chance at the end, you’ll want to stay in touch and exchange business cards. You should not exchange business cards unless you made a genuine connection. It would be weird to start giving your business card to everyone at a bar. This would be the equivalent of sending every person in your ‘recommended’ section a friend request on Facebook.

Marketing with Flyers

business flyers

Using flyers to promote your business or services is a quick and easy way to mass market your brand. Flyers can be placed almost anywhere and allow for wider exposure. Rather than just handing your business card to a couple people, flyers allow you to promote your business all over to vast swaths of people without much effort. 

Posting flyers to market your company reaches a wider audience and has the potential to drive more leads. One example of a place to leave your business flyer is at coffee shops. Lots of coffee houses have cork boards specifically designed for people to hang flyers to advertise local businesses and events. Other places where people frequently leave flyers include; laundromats, bus stops, and community centers. 

Differences between Business Cards and Flyers

Which is more effective, business cards or flyers?

It should be clear now that while both forms of marketing service the same purpose, depending on the context, you’ll want to use one or the other. While business cards are great for personal face-to-face connections, the scope of reach is limited. When you hand someone a business card you are distributing your contact information to one person. Flyers on the other hand can garner far more impressions and can be located strategically. The main differences between the two mediums is the formality and the number of impressions each one has the potential to bring in. 

Another way to compare and contrast the two beyond how they are used, is comparing what goes on each one. A typical business card will include your name and your title as well as your company’s name and the address of the company and the company’s logo. Additional information includes your contact information such as a phone number, extension, email, and fax. 

By contrast, a flyer, typically 8.5″x11″ can include much more information. A flyer can include a graphic, your company name, a slogan and essentially anything else you want to include. Your business flyer can include special promotional deals and alert potential customers of any news or specials you are offering. To that effect, flyers are better at mass marketing since the primary function is to directly showcase your business and any promotional content you wish to conclude. 

Size does matters

While business cards tend to be more personal, they do not always have to be. Several businesses ‘create business card sized’ flyers. The standard size for business cards is 3.5”x2” which is certainly enough to include some promotional material if needed. Often when you see promotional materials left on your windshield, it is flyer size. However, sometimes those materials are postcard or business card size. A company will frequently print out business card promo codes for people to take. The idea is that it is a small and effective way to convey a very specific message. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and it gets right to the point. 

For example, with this kind of marketing material, a business may include its name, what it offers, and its logo on one side, and information regarding a special promo code on the other side. As for which size is better, again it comes down to intent. If your intention to hand one person a special promo code during a personal interaction, informing them of your company’s services? If yes, then a small 3.5’’x2’’ business card sized promo card can be highly effective. If however, your goal is to reach as many people as possible and generate leads, then a full sized 8.5”x11” flyer is still likely the most efficient route to take. 

When to use each one

business flyers

For more formal and personal settings you should use business cards. Typically a business card is something you give to an individual after building a repertoire with them. Business cards often have your individual name on them along with the company you work for. If you’re a web developer and you meet someone at a mixer you develop a good rapport with, you may want to exchange information. You card will then show you name, your extension and your company’s information. Business cards should be used for personal professional relationships.

Flyers by contrast are best used in mass advertising strategies. Flyers are a great way to get your message out to a wide range of people. Flyers are efficient because once you hang up one, it can be seen by tons of people in one location. As you replicate that process you will be able to expose your brand to huge amounts of people. With that much larger of a pool, you greatly increase your number of potential leads.

Think of this as the difference between a DM and a grid-post on Instagram. With a DM, you are sending content to one person specifically. When you make a grid-post, you are marketing to potentially tens of thousands of people. In a direct message, you’re content is tailored more specifically to a single individual, much like when you exchange business cards with someone. It’s a much more personal experience that is used to build individual connections organically. In a regular post on your feed, you are opening up your audience with things such as hashtags and location tags so that lots of people can see and access your content.

Which is more effective?

To answer the initial question, which tool is more effective, the reality is that each are effective when used the right way. While both are tools used by individuals and businesses to market their services and reach new audiences, there is a time and place for each. When trying to build a professional connection and expand your network, business cards are likely the most effective. However, they have limitations as they typically are only seen by the one person you give it to. 

Flyers are much more effective as far as getting your name and brand out to the most amount of people. Especially with the use of mailers, marketing with flyers is one of the most effective ways to generate business leads. Yet, the downside of hanging a flyer in a coffee shop is that people may see and walk right by it without ever reading it. Sure it may get your company’s name out, but it may not directly connect with people. Compared to business cards, flyers reach more people, but they are less formal. However, in terms of brand exposure and getting out your companies message, flyers remain one of the most effective methods for mass marketing. 

Business cards are great ways to make personal connections and network. They are multi-purpose and can be great at distributing quick promotional information, but largely are for personal relations. As far as creating quality connections, business cards are the best way to go. Like with everything, it depends on what you or your company is trying to accomplish.

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