It doesn't matter if you are in a convention center or a coffee shop, business cards seem like a must have when making a new contact.
Often though, these slips of paper can seem to be more of a burden than a tool. Going to the convention center? Hope you brought a small mountain in cards. Coffee shop? Do you even have wallet space left for more business cards, let alone remember to put in more of your own?
Okay, so cards are not the most convenient thing to use, but what about cost and effectiveness?
Well, according to one research*, out of the 10 billion business cards being printed every year, over eight billion of those will end up getting thrown away. That's good news though for print companies like Vistaprint, since on average, people spend $194* on business cards each year.
Or, to be more precise, you might be throwing away over $155 each year. More if you decide to print double sided.
For the high-performance business or environmentally conscious person, this is not good news. It's the digital age! Surely there must be a better way!
There actually is a better way, and it’s called the vCard. It’s a file format designed specifically as a digital business card, able to store regular business card information like name, phone, and email, along with extra information like slogans, social media, and links to any other marketing material you can think of! This electronic business card has been in standard use in most phones; in fact, if you have an iPhone, Samsung, Pixel, LG, Motorola, etc, you have been using them already, since vCards are what your phone uses to store your contacts in your contact book!
So, what does all this mean? Well, since a vCard is a digital file, you can email or text it directly to anyone. Most phones(iPhones, Samsung, Pixel, LG, Motorola, etc) can already scan using only the camera. Usually you might expect a QR code to be something boring like a singular website link, but a vCard can contain up to 4096 characters, more than what you could ever hope to cram onto a business card, as much as some of us try.
Your reciever will also immediately see a contact already filled with information without needing to type anything in. And, because they are scanning a vCard with their phone’s camera, they can automatically save the information directly into their phone’s contacts.
In addition to having information already nicely formatted, any website will automatically become a link that can open up directly onto your phone’s browser. Though, even without an internet connection, you can still get the vCard’s information, since all you need is your phone’s camera to scan the QR code, which means there is no need for a third party app to be installed, which also means better privacy for your data!
So how can you do this? Well, you can use some of the free tools available online that can make vCards. Some online tools even allow you the option of embedding the vCard in a QR code. For the example above, I used a free generator from bvcard.com to quickly generate a vCard as a demonstration.
Now you can print out a QR code and save money on printing: no need to cram information on your card.
Or, you can keep your QR code on your phone and never have to print out a business card again. You’ll never have to worry about forgetting to bring enough business cards either.
Now the secret is out. Go out there are save.
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