Electronic business cards
Has the advent of Electronic business cards signalled the end of traditional, printed business cards?. Now we have entered the digital age is there still any need to carry around and distribute traditional printed cards? – in order to answer these questions we need to look at the pros and cons of digital business cards :-
- Cheap to produce
- No storage costs (and very easy to store)
- Almost infinite design options
- Fast and easy to change
- Can be tailored to client / event
- Not everyone has gone digital , there are still people without the desire or capability to receive digital cards
- Cannot be left in strategic locations for collection by passers-by (e.g. you cannot easily leave electronic business cards on an unattended stand, a shared noticeboard, trade counter etc – although to a degree this is changing due to QR codes and similar technologies)
- Not tactile – there is much to be said for having a physical item that can be touched and felt, indeed in some cultures the physical exchange of a tangible card can be of great significance.
- May need specialist software e.g. a digital business card manager
In the real world electronic business cards tend to be little more than signatures at the bottom of email messages – it is now common practice to exchange little more than email address during first contact and then follow up with a short email. It is important to note that as your email signature now in many ways replaces your business card it is important to ensure that it is correctly formatted and presented. The basic rules of business card presentation still apply – be clear, include all relevant information, be concise – do not pad out with unnecessary information and finally try and inject some style (but not at the expense of substance). Whilst there are software packages available that will create custom digital business cards these are almost certainly unnecessary, nearly all modern email clients give you the ability to design perfectly acceptable email signatures. In fact the use of bespoke digital business card software may be counterproductive as any cards produced by such software may not be readily exchangeable due to format compatibility issues (and in all likelihood they will need to be exchanged via email anyway !)
So in summary the electronic business card has not killed off the traditional paper based card but it has forced it into niche applications. Traditional business cards are still useful in a wide range of circumstances, particularly when dealing with a wide range of unknown contacts such as at a trade fair, exhibition and point of sale.