As business technology evolves, technology for business networking and sharing contact information follows suit. While printed business cards have been a staple in networking, we now have the technology to scan business cards and quickly organize referrals. Even the business card itself is evolving. In an increasingly paperless world, we now have digital business cards available as an alternative.
Also known as virtual or electronic business cards, digital business cards are fully-customizable ways to capture and share your contact information in real-time. It can be accessed by a QR code or a URL you can share in-person from your phone or virtually from your computer.
There are a number of business card apps available for your smartphone. Some of the free versions can only share your digital business card with people who have the same app. But others let you share your information with anyone, even if they don't have the same business card app.
Besides the obvious difference (they’re digital and not printed out), there are a few other ways digital business cards differ from traditional printed business cards. Here, we will look at three ways digital business cards can change how you network with other business professionals and get referrals.
With traditional paper business cards, you have to deal with keeping them in stock, remembering to bring them to professional networking events, and having to reprint all new cards whenever you make a change to your title or contact information.
But you'll always have an unlimited supply of digital business cards with you everywhere you go as long as you have your phone or digital device handy. You never have to worry about running out or forgetting them at home (unless you forget your phone). Another major convenience of digital cards is they're editable. You can add or change anything on them any time you want with just a few keystrokes.
With traditional paper cards, you have to pay the cost of design and printing. And to get a break on the price, you usually have to buy them in bulk. If you run out or lose them, you'll have to order more. And if at any time you need to make a change in contact information or job title, you have to start the process all over again. Over time, those costs can add up.
You can easily find free templates for digital business cards online and create them yourself, saving you the money you would otherwise have to spend on printing costs. If you're looking for a digital business card that's on the premium side, certain apps let you upgrade your design to add QR codes, custom URLs, and even videos. While premium options may cost money, they do offer a lot of benefits you can't get from a paper card.
Business networking looks a little different in the post-pandemic world. In-person networking events are back in full swing, but many people still prefer to follow social distancing recommendations. That can make it more difficult to shake hands and exchange physical business cards if potential business referrals are six feet away. Fortunately, digital business cards let you share contact information easily without worrying about close contact.
Another thing to think about is that printed business cards can’t be shared in an online or virtual business networking group. But you can share your digital business card remotely through email, social media, or text.
Digital business cards offer a lot of features you just can’t get from printed business cards. But we don’t recommend that you ditch the paper and go all digital just yet. There are still many business professionals who prefer paper cards over digital cards at networking events. So it’s best to have both for now.
Once you’ve created a digital business card, or if you have a newly designed print card, a great place to show it off is at one of 4BR’s business networking groups near you!