This article originally appeared on SMPS Boston’s website.
by Vanessa Schaefer
I sometimes look at my colorful, paper business cards, printed on heavy stock with a really neat-o orange edging, and fondly remember the days when I handed them to new acquaintances who would often say, “Oooh! How pretty!”
I hope I will be able to meet people in-person again soon, but in the meantime, many clients of mine have asked questions about digitally sharing their contact info. Here are a few ways to make that happen:
Vcards are easy to generate and email to people. They work pretty seamlessly so recipients can add your contact info directly to their address book. You can include a link to your vCard in your email signature, or your IT person can add them to everyone’s email sig throughout your firm. They can also be added to each person’s bio page on your website. When we build sites, we usually code the site so vCards are dynamically generated, saving lots of time and minimizing upkeep.
You can use a QR code in place of vCard, but a QR code will need to link to a vCard (or digital business card). You can include a QR code in each person’s email signature but it’s typically not as common, since the point of a QR code is that it’s scanned. If someone receives an email from you that has a QR code in the email signature, they’d need to hold their phone up to the computer screen to scan the QR code to access the vCard and download your contact info. Unlikely. It’s far more feasible to use a QR code when in-person networking.
Some of our clients have added QR codes to their business cards. Obviously, this does not replace paper cards, but it allows recipients to quickly add the person’s contact info to their digital address books.
If you have never made a QR code and are confused about the different kinds and how to get going, here’s a good place to start.
Digital Business Cards
For in-person networking, a newer solution is a digital business card like Linq. These are sturdy cards (like a credit card) that are uniquely coded for each person. When interacting with a client or prospect, you can share your contact info with that person’s phone. Do some research before you dive into investing in digital business cards for your firm. There are a number of options out there, and all have their pros and cons. We liked that Linq allows you to customize the cards with your firm’s logo and brand colors, for example.
Are Paper Cards Over?
I love designing printed stationery and business cards, and hope they do not go the way of the dodo. For me, beautiful cards are like little gifts. I love touching the paper’s texture and admiring the colors. But many get tossed away, and there are, of course, environmental concerns. So what do you think, should we retire the printed business card?
Vanessa Schaefer is the president and creative director of Clockwork Design Group.