Last updated on May 10th, 2019
Business cards are essential for small to big businesses and consumers alike across all industries. Today, these cards help in building a brand, besides giving contact details. Knowing the significance, modern entrepreneurs have transformed the conventional paper-based cards into modern digital business cards.
In the modern world of business, marketers are inventing new ways to engage the target audience. One of the cost-effective ways to draw clients’ attention is to hand out business cards. The cards provide contact details. Clients or customers can get quick access to some key contact information. But providing the details is not the sole purpose of the cards for today’s businesses.
The modern cards are designed to impress clients. They have a planned use of color, typeface, space, logo, image etc. These elements combine to make the desired impact. The impression remains at the back of the clients’ mind and creates some perception about a brand.
Digital business cards, like their paper counterparts, also make a great lasting impression. But the designers have a challenge here. The digital cards are lacking the sense of touch that paper-based cards have.
For example, a thick card paper signals that the company’s products or services are top notches. This advantage is missing when with a digital card. The virtual card relies solely on its overall design for an impact on viewers.
Some marketers believe that the paper card has become obsolete. They list out many disadvantages of the conventional cards. For them, digital cards are the future. A study also has pointed out that in the US; nearly 77 per cent of small and medium businesses believe that digital presence helps them in customer acquisition. This shows that the future is digital and it includes digital business cards as well.
However, the fact is that both the types have their pros and cons.
Here Are The Key Advantages And Disadvantages Of Paper And Digital Business Cards
Paper Business Cards
• Grab Attention Quickly
Paper-based business cards can instantly make an impression the moment a client touches it. This is because of the thick paper of the card. A thick and quality paper speaks favorably about the high quality of a company’s products or services. You grab the client’s attention in quick time. But you need exciting graphic design ideas to create an outstanding business card that catches the attention.
• Easy To Share
You can easily share paper cards with people. All you need to do is to give them the cards personally to your valued clients. Additionally, distribute them randomly at the sideline of a seminar or in a trade fair.
• Establish Personal Connection
With the paper cards, you build a strong personal connection and relationship with people. The cards are usually shared in warm and happy moments. Therefore, clients have more value for these cards. This ultimately helps in building a loyal customer base.
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Most small businesses can afford to have paper-based business cards. The printing costs are within budgets of startups and other small and medium companies. That is a huge advantage for many startups.
• Need Professionals To Design Cards
Not all small companies can afford to hire an expensive professional graphic designer. Only a designer with many years of experience can create cards that make the desired impression. The average cost of a designer is usually out of the reach of small budgets of new companies.
• Require frequent redesigning
Most companies change to add new contact details such as web address, phone numbers, email address, fax numbers, etc. This should prompt them to redesign the card. This also results in the reprinting of a new set of cards.
• Take Up A Lot Of Space
Paper business cards become a good heap of cards in a few months as clients get them so regularly. They occupy a good space in the office. Sometimes, the presence of hundreds of such cards becomes overwhelming.
• Need A Scanner
When sending contact details to someone, you need to enter the information into a CRM. So, you need a business card scanner.
• Discarded In A Few Days
Most paper business cards end up in a dustbin in a few days. In fact, many studies have revealed that 88% of such cards are thrown out within a week.
• Not Environment-Friendly
Trees in a large number need to cut for making paper. This means that paper business cards are responsible for the damage to our environment in which we breathe.
Digital Business Cards
• Easy To Share
You can easily share digital business cards with your clients and people. All you need to do is to send the card to them via email, social media, text [SMS], and other ways. You do not have to shake a client’s hand before sharing your card.
• Stand Out
Since not everyone is using digital business cards, you can easily impress clients and stand out with these cards. While others are still sticking to conventional paper cards, just because of the digital cards, your business looks different. So, make sure that your business card ideas stand out from your competitors’ cards.
• Attach Media
Another significant advantage is that businesses can attach a variety of media with digital cards. They can add videos, links to their surveys, subscription lists, sign up forms, etc. This is useful in many ways. You promote your business by sharing video etc. A client receiving the card has a good impression of your business due to a variety of media included. It ensures a better engagement. You do not have to hire graphic design services to incorporate the media as you can do it yourself.
• Store The Information Conveniently
One of the most significant advantages of digital business cards is that it is a convenient way to store as much information as you want in one place. Unlike the paper cards, there is no lack of space here. So, include your URLs, website addresses, social media accounts, fax number, phone number, and more in the card.
• Updating Is Easy
A problem with the paper cards is that whenever you update information, you need to redesign and reprint the cards. That made them costly for small businesses. But that is not the issue with the digital counterparts. A digital business card design lets you automatically update the information. You do not have to reprint a new set of cards and no need to redesign either.
• Great For Contact Management
Another advantage of digital business cards is that you have a great experience in managing your contacts. Some apps have optical character reader [ OCR ] that can scan a business card. The scanner, including a special business card scanner, get the contact details converted into digital text. The app either saves the information or syncs the details with your CRM program.
• Easy To Customize
Customizing of the paper cards is a difficult task as you have to incorporate new elements of colors etc. Then the card has to go again through the printing process. But digital business cards can be quickly customized to a brand with the help of a business card maker software. Just choose the contact details, colors, typeface, etc., and you have the new card. There is no need to go through the time-consuming designing and printing process.
The digital cards do not require you to spend a lot of money unlike paper cards on printing and designing. In fact, the cost of printing of cards on paper is very high for many small businesses. But the digital cards are free to have as there is no printing required. You will spend some money only on designing the card.
Digital business cards eliminate the need to cut tree for the paper. This helps in keeping the environment safe and secure for healthy breathing of pure air. It also helps in preventing deforestation.
• Not Accessible To All
A significant disadvantage with digital business cards is that a larger section of the population is still not equipped well to access these cards. They are simply not accustomed to getting the cards digitally. Others do not understand the ways to obtain the cards, and contact information, and how to save it. So, while you get free business cards, not all of your clients may be seeing them.
• Lacking in personal touch
Since you share these cards digitally, the personal touch involved in the paper cards is entirely missing. The handshake, talks, welcome, and other gestures while presenting a card personally to a client are absent when sharing the cards online.
• Risky app
In case a digital business card application has bugs, it can cause some issues when sharing the card with your clients and others. So, be careful. Choose a business card app only if it comes from a reputable company.
• A Tedious Task
For some people downloading and installing an app as well as creating an account for digital business cards, is a boring task. As compared to this, you can quickly hand out paper cards to clients.
• Email Not Opened
What if the client does not open email containing your digital business card? In that case, the chances are that the email is buried down in the inbox and remains unread.
• Blocked Images
If may be that the client has blocked images in an email to save data or due to spam blockage mechanism activated. That will result in preventing of your card.
• Depends On Internet Access
Both you and your client must have quick access to the Internet for sharing your digital business card. If the client has no Internet connection or access, the card becomes useless.
In the end, we can say that both paper-based and digital business cards are excellent for making an impression and brand exposure. Both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
But whether you opt for digital or paper business cards, you must design them professionally for an impact. When designing, you can depend on Designhill, a leading marketplace to outsource different design solutions. This platform is home to hundreds of talented designers whom you can access after launching a design contest. You get many design ideas at an affordable price.
Both paper and digital business cards are excellent when it comes to sharing your contact details and making a lasting impression. Both the cards have their own advantages and disadvantages for businesses. Their use will depend on your branding strategy. It will be good to use both types of cards to gain from their advantages.