GlobeNews has reported that the digital business card market is set to grow by 10% and reach over $250M by 2027, which is a sharp rise vs the last 5 years. But are digital business cards worth it?
Many businesses are now starting to make use of digital business cards for their employees’ contact information, sharing digital assets and links, as well as for their brand recognition.
Some businesses feel that they have become an essential sales tool by providing prospects with digital content at the point of exchanging contact details.
So, what are the pros and cons of digital business cards, how can you get started on the best path for your business and are digital business cards worth it in the long run?
Electronic business cards and digital business cards are the same with interchangeable terminology. When talking about virtual business cards, these are only online and in apps with no physical card component.
What Are the Benefits of Digital Business Cards?
Digital business cards offer a number of advantages that traditional paper business cards do not.
They can be shared electronically via QR Codes, SMS, Email, NFC and many other ways. With products such as Blinq, you can share via your Apple watch which is pretty cool.
Paper cards are usually pretty boring in their appearance but digital cards are far more visually appealing, and they can usually be customized with photos, logos, and colors to help build brand recognition.
They can also be customized for specific events and even tailored to a large account you might be trying to go after.
Digital business cards are more environmentally friendly. They don’t require any paper or ink and to update them you don’t need another print run.
4. Lost or Damaged
Virtual business cards cannot get lost or damaged unless you opt for some kind of physical card as well. If you do, these are often made of materials such as plastic (usually eco-friendly), metal, wood, and bamboo and can be costly to replace – something to keep in mind.
Digital business cards are more cost-effective than traditional paper cards. You can even get free digital business cards which do a decent job and the NFC-enabled cards don’t cost any extra either. You don’t have to worry about printing costs either and they can be shared quickly via email, text message, QR code, and NFC technology.
6. Brand awareness
You can add links to websites, social media channels, product sites, landing pages and so on which is a big plus vs paper cards. You can also embed videos if you so desire!
Digital cards can be used to track who’s looked at them. You can get insights into who viewed your card and for how long which is great information if you are a sales rep and want to follow up with your prospects.
What Are the Drawbacks of Digital Business Cards?
Although digital business cards offer numerous benefits, there are some drawbacks that you should consider.
1. Reliant on Technology
One major issue is that digital business cards are reliant on technology. If the recipient does not have internet access or doesn’t know how to use the sharing feature, then the card is useless.
Although sharing capability on most digital business cards is pretty good, it can’t be argued that when in a hurry, a paper card is easier.
Some people simply prefer paper cards for their perceived professionalism and sense of tradition.
This shouldn’t be understated and you should consider who your target audience is and whether you feel they will be tech-savvy and accept the digital card method.
Nothing is worse than a prospect leaving you at an exhibition as it seems ‘too complicated’ to get your details!
4. Costly to Replace Physical Cards
Another potential issue with digital business cards is that if you opt for a physical card, they can be costly to replace. I have seen some businesses charge the sales reps if they lose them, it can help to make sure they look after them but won’t be for everyone.
5. Hard to Customize
Some digital business cards can be difficult to customize as some products overpromise and underdeliver. Worth understanding exactly how the customization tools work and who will handle that within your business.
How Can You Maximize the Benefits of Digital Business Cards?
Its important to ensure that recipients are able to open and view the cards if they are new to the concept.
Consider using QR codes or links on printed materials or even on outgoing mail to make it easier for people to access the card. You should also consider using an email or text message template that clearly explains how the card works and how they can view or share the card.
You should make sure that the card looks professional, accurately reflects your brand identity, and is easy to use and navigate.
Make sure it’s optimized for mobile devices. Most providers solve this for you but worth thinking about if you make them yourself.
Lastly, use the analytics that the card provides. This will help you understand how effective your card is and how you can improve it in the future.
How Can You Get Started With Digital Business Cards?
You can create your own card using existing software such as Canva, or purchase a template from a company that specializes in digital business cards.
Another option is to use a specialized digital business card solution such as HiHello, Haystack, or Popl. Whichever option you choose, make sure it is compatible with your target demographic and that it accurately reflects your brand identity.
When creating your digital business card, it is important to consider the design elements that will make it stand out. Think about the colors, fonts, and images that will best represent your brand.
You will also want to make sure that you include all of the necessary information such as your name, contact information, and website. You can also include a QR code that links to your social media profiles as well as links to other digital assets you might have.
Once you have created your digital business card, you can share it with potential customers and partners. You can send it via email, post it on social media, or dare I say it, even print it out and hand it out at events!
By making your digital business card easily accessible, you can ensure that your contacts have all the information they need to get in touch with you.
Do Digital Business Cards Make a Good Investment?
So, are digital business cards worth it? With over 100 billion paper business cards being generated every year, then environmentalists certainly think they are an investment well made.
But business owners must think of other aspects as well.
Electronic business cards are often much more cost-effective than traditional paper cards if you consider the print cost and volumes required. They can also help to build brand recognition and increase the visibility of your business.
Digital business cards can also be a great way to stand out from the competition. By creating a unique design and incorporating interactive elements, you can create a memorable experience for potential customers.
Comparing products like Popl and Dot will help you understand what the technology can provide as they offer great NFC-enabled tech that can leave a lasting impression.
However, if your target demographic is unlikely to use digital cards or may not have access to the information, then it may not be worth investing in them.
Ultimately, the decision to invest in digital business cards should be based on your individual business needs and goals taking into account the factors discussed in this article.
What Are the Alternatives to Digital Business Cards?
The only alternative to digital business cards is paper business cards. Although paper cards still offer advantages, modern technology is replacing them quickly as other alternatives are more cost-effective, offer more features, and are environmentally friendly.
What Are the Best Practices for Using Digital Business Cards?
Best practices for using digital business cards include choosing the right platform to share the cards, making sure that the card can be easily opened and viewed without any issues, and ensuring that the design accurately reflects your brand identity.
You should also consider adding a call-to-action to the card. This could be a link to your website or a contact form. Finally, make sure to update your digital business card regularly to keep it fresh and relevant.
Deciding whether digital business cards are worth it is ultimately a business-by-business decision. Only you know how you intend to use them and the type of person that you want to share them with.
A good test is to think of the last 10 people that you gave a paper business card. Can you see yourself easily getting your phone or digital card out and sharing your details that way? Would that person be confused and say ‘oh don’t worry about it?’. If the answer is yes then think hard, if not, then it should be an easy decision as the benefits far outweigh the cons.
One thing is for sure, in a few years we won’t be sharing little pieces of the card hoping that our prospects and contacts manage to keep hold of them, and then remember to add your details to their Filofax! With the advancement of chatbots being used in sales, sharing details digitally will only become far easier in the years to come.