Raise your hand if you’ve ever purchased 1,000 business cards only to have them become obsolete after you hand out the first hundred or so. It happens: we move, our websites move, our phone numbers change, and our job titles change, too. But despite all of these things, the business card is still a very important part of the small business owner’s marketing kit.

While just about any business card is better than no business card all, it’s good to do a little research before you buy. Spend your money wisely, and your cards won’t be just another expense; they’ll be an investment. Like your company’s website, your business cards make a lasting impression on leads. Different cards say different things about your business. Here’s what you should know before you start shopping around for a designer and printer.

Digital Business Cards

Digital business cards are a great way to make a lasting impression on potential clients and business contacts. They provide an easy and efficient way to exchange contact information with a professional look. Digital business cards are typically shared via email or text message, making it easier than ever to quickly send your information without having to worry about printing physical copies. With digital business cards, you can include more than just your name and contact information—you can add logos, photos, social media links, and more. The best digital business cards are completely customizable and can include WAY more information than you standard business card.

Standard Business Cards

When your contacts value utility over design, the basic black and white card is the way to go. A simple, no-frills card says to others that you’re a no-nonsense kind of entrepreneur who values the facts and information above all else. While standard cards may be the most affordable option, they are not necessarily the most memorable. You’ll have to weigh these facts as you consider your other options.

Portrait Business Cards

When you put your mug shot on the front of your business card, you’re saying to your contacts that you aren’t just a part of the business, you are the business. That’s why I like portrait or picture cards for solopreneurs and freelancers. They allow others to put a face with a name and then remember it later — an essential part business networking.

Tactile Business Cards

If you want a lead to not just see but feel something when they hold your card, then tactile is the way to go. Tactile cards may be made of unorthodox materials like metal or plastic instead of paperboard. Or they may feature relief lettering or embossed designs that make them appeal to a person’s sense of touch. Tactile cards say to your leads that you value making an impression more than you care about saving a buck. In some industries, a more flamboyant card design is a necessity.

Multi-Function Business Cards

What multi-function cards may lack in the form department, they more than make up for in the function department. Usually double-sided, these cards serve as a standard business card on one side and can be used as a discount coupon or reminder card when you print a message on the opposite side. Above all, these cards emphasize convenience, a big plus for you and your customers.

Business cards are a lot like people in that they seem to have a personality all their own once they have traded hands. In that regard, it’s important for you to think about what your clients and customers would value in a business card before you settle on a specific type and design.

What do you think your current business cards say about you?