Category Archives: Ideas

QR code business cards

Are Business Cards with QR Codes a Good Idea?

Even if you don’t know what a QR (Quick Response) code is, you’ve doubtless seen these odd barcode type squares of dots, popping up in marketing information and posters over the past few years. QR codes are essentially barcodes, evolved.
You might then wonder what QR codes bring to the party when it comes to business cards—and the answer is quite a lot. While the traditional barcode deals with a limited amount of data, the QR code may include any form of computer-readable data, including a file containing up to 7K of data. The uses of QR codes are many and diverse. For instance, have you ever used your phone to check-in for a flight? That’s a type of QR code.
This article will discuss what QR codes are, what they add to business cards, and will go through the pros and cons of adding such a technology to your own card.

What Is a QR Code?

Japanese conglomerate Toshiba, with the help of a sister company, developed the modern form of QR code technology after becoming dissatisfied with the reliability of traditional barcodes. Since its development in 1994, QR codes have become an open international standard, used all over the world, in many industries.

How Do QR Codes Relate to Business Cards?

To answer this question, you need to know something about their use in marketing. Most modern smartphones include barcode scanning functionality, enabling the scanning of both traditional barcodes and QR codes.
The information in a traditional barcode is of limited value, outside of its intended use. However, the QR code on a marketing poster may contain a link that, when scanned, takes the user directly to a promotional website, or provides some useful piece of tourist information if scanned from a museum exhibit.
That’s a great function—no requirement for the user to type a fiddly website address into their smartphone—almost instant access to the information.
A QR code may contain any information usually printed on a business card, enabling a user to scan your contact, or other promotional information, directly into their smartphone.

What Information to Include in Your QR Code

If you’re thinking about including a QR code on your business card, you may wonder: what information should I include in it?

Personal Contact Information

If it’s for personal contact information, the QR code should include a vCard containing all contact information.
A vCard is a file format used for sharing contact information between smartphones, computers and PDAs. A customer may scan your business card details directly into their smartphone or computer.

You may use either a static or dynamic vCard.

1) Static vCard QR code: The static vCard contains all contact information. Advantage: the customer may import this directly into their smartphone. Disadvantage: The details can’t be edited and if your contact details change, you must print a new card.

2) Dynamic vCard QR code: The dynamic vCard directs to a landing page on a website, which hosts your vCard.

Advantages: It’s possible to track how often the business card is scanned and also record the IP address and location of the scanning device. The details in the vCard may change without updating the QR code. Disadvantages: The customer’s device must have Wi-Fi or Internet access to use this function—the static vCard doesn’t. It’s more complicated to set up and less straightforward for the customer.

Business Promotion

If the card is part of a business promotion, the QR code may include a direct link to a sales promotion. If, for instance, your business sells printing supplies, include a direct link for the customer to reorder their toner or paper.
It’s common practice to use QR codes to link to free competitions or giveaways, enabling instant sign up on the website.

Other Uses and Benefits of Business Cards with QR Codes

You might think that the most obvious advantage of business card QR codes is the ease with which your customer can scan the information, but that’s only half the story.
After most sales conferences, trade shows or seminars, events where attendees exchange huge amounts of business cards, an unfortunate intern has the job of inputting all that contact information into their company’s CMS.

For traditional business cards, that’s feeding them through an OCR enabled business card scanner. These scanners are pretty good, but they are not perfect and depending on the quality of the printing and the typeface used, things can go wrong.
An observant intern might check and manually correct, but no guarantee. With a QR code, the contact data will transfer perfectly.

Here are some other advantages of using QR codes on business cards:

1) Direct link to Your LinkedIn Profile: LinkedIn is a popular business-oriented social media platform. A link to your profile encourages a customer to follow you on the platform.

2) Direct link to Your Business Portfolio: Direct a customer to your portfolio or list of business services. For instance, the profile for a graphic designer might show a gallery of their work, or writing, in the case of a freelance writer.

3) Quick Access to Your Contact Details: If a customer is looking for the service provided by your business and they have several competitor cards in front of them—Would they spend minutes typing in a web address from each business card, or access your company details directly from the QR code?

4) Save Space: A QR code uses less space than printed details

5) Show Your Techy Side: If your business is in technology, it’s good to show the customer that you’re keeping up with popular trends.

QR code business cards

Not to mention, they simply look attractive and professional. When handing a card to a potential customer, a cool-looking business card with a QR code is a good conversation starter.

What Are the Downsides to Using QR Codes on Business Cards?

Unfortunately, like any technology, QR codes aren’t perfect – they have their downsides, too. Here are some potential disadvantages to think about before you go sticking them across all of your promotional materials.

Security Concerns with QR Codes

The one downside of QR codes that attracts the most headlines is security. Banks, always keen to protect their customers from phishing scams, issue warnings about clicking on risky emails or web links. Now they include QR codes in these warnings.
Unlike traditional barcodes, which contain a limited amount of data, QR codes can contain detailed computer-readable data. This might include links to malicious web pages or even malware contained directly in the QR code data.

It is important to realise that a QR code is a black box, and it’s impossible to know what data it includes without first scanning the code.
The encouraging news here is that security companies and anti-virus software vendors are becoming more proactive in combating these risks.
In terms of smartphones, anti-virus companies provide free QR code scanner apps, which scan the QR code for security risks before loading the data.

How to Encourage Customers to Scan Your QR Code

It’s all about trust. If your brand is well-known, your customer is more likely to feel comfortable scanning the QR code. However, if not and you’re engaging in a new promotion, carefully consider how to integrate the QR code in your business card design.
It has become commonplace in the tech industry for people to go all out with QR codes on their business cards. For instance, someone might include their name and job title only (Dave Martin, The World’s Best Games Programmer) and include everything else in a vCard, encoded in a QR code.

While that approach might seem ‘cool’ and appeal to techy types, others might feel nervous to scan such a QR code into their device. This is especially true if you decide to distribute your cards in public.
When designing the business card, include printed contact information, don’t just rely on the QR code. In that way, someone would feel more confident to scan the code.
There are other reasons for not relying 100% on the QR code. If your business is in a traditional industry, not all of your customers would be tech savvy, or even own a smartphone!
The moral of this story is unless you are 100% confident that a QR code only business card works for all of your customers, take care to include sufficient printed contact information.

The Importance of Good Business Card Design

As mentioned in the previous section, the place where you distribute your card will subliminally affect how trustworthy the customer considers your card.
Make sure that your card looks professional and well printed. If the card that you’re distributing looks ‘spammy’ or poorly printed, the chance of it being picked up is minimal and less than minimal that a person would scan a QR code on such a card.

By using a professional business stationer such as 123Print, you can be sure that your business cards will look professional and be printed to a very high standard. If you decide to include a QR code, simply use the upload artwork feature in our easy editor to paste the code directly onto your design.
With our 100% satisfaction guarantee, you’ll get your money back if you’re not completely happy with the end result. Choose from one of our thousands of templates to get started!

10 Things You Should Never Put on a Business Card

Business cards play a major role in someone’s first impression of your business. How you present your business cards to potential partners, clients, or customers can have a significant impact on whether or not they will want to work with you or your business in the future.
Because business cards are so important, this means that you really need to be sure that your business cards are well-designed, and carry all the vital information your contacts will need to get in touch. However, did you know that there are certain things you should never put on a business card?
By reading on, you’ll discover the top 10 things that you should never include on your business card. This will help you avoid making a bad first impression, and create the best impact possible on your potential business contacts.

1. Hard-to-Read Text

Small font sizes and cursive typefaces can be extremely appealing from a stylistic point of view, but this may not be the most functional option for a business card. After all, business cards are designed to convey information quickly and clearly.
The font should be instantly readable by everyone who receives your business card. The font doesn’t need to be too big for the card, otherwise you won’t be able to fit everything that you need to on it. But, the font should never be so small that it’s unreadable. The same goes for low-contrast fonts, and swirling, cursive typefaces.

2. Clutter and Fluff

Clutter isn’t good in the home or office, and it’s especially not good on your business card. A cluttered and ‘busy’ business card won’t be visually appealing for your potential customers.
Every bit of information on the card should be concise, important, and immediately redable, allowing people to access the information that they are looking for.
If it’s too cluttered, with too much ‘fluff’ (unnecessary text that doesn’t serve any real purpose), it may be confusing and/or overwhelming for the customer. Only include an inspirational quote, tagline or testimonial, for example, if there’s adequate space for it.
If you want to share any additional information that there’s not space for, simply put it on your website, and include a link to it on the card – or a QR code.

3. Hobbies or Personal Interests

When people take your business card, they are interested in what your business can do for them. They want to know, in short, how you can help them. What they aren’t interested in is what you like to do in your space time.
Business cards aren’t like CVs or resumes. While you can have fun when designing them or using them, you should leave any non-essential information from the cards. Linking back to the previous point, this can help prevent the card from getting too cluttered and allow people to just see the information that they need from you.

4. Typos, Spelling and Punctuation Errors

Since business cards are the first impression that someone gets of you, and because they are supposed to be professional, typos and spelling or grammar mistakes can have a negative impact on your brand. Believe me, your customers will notice mistakes – so be sure to double and triple check your text before your cards are printed.
It’s easy not to notice a simple typing error, or a repeated word, on the first look over. And if you’re no great shakes at grammar, punctuation or spelling, it may be worth having somebody else read over your design before you finalise it.

5. Handwritten Information

Business cards can be pricey, and it can also be a hassle to have new cards printed when your information changes. For this reason, some people are tempted to hand-write new information on the cards.
The problem is that handwriting on business cards can leave a negative impression of you. Business cards should be professional and presentable, and handwriting can make your cards look messy. There should never be handwriting on a business card unless you are taking notes for yourself on someone else’s business card – or you’re writing down details of an appointment.

6. Inappropriate Slang or Jargon

A business card, first and foremost, should be professional. That doesn’t mean you can’t use any slang, contractions, or colloquialisms on your business card: it merely means that they should be appropriate.
For example, using contractions and slang might be perfect for a business card representing a kids’ soft play centre, or a roller rink where the target market is teenagers. But for an accounting firm, it would look downright unprofessional.
But be sure not to go too far the other way. Using long words and complex industry jargon on your business cards may be off-putting for customers and clients – they may not understand what you mean, and will simply throw your card away.

7. Outdated or Incorrect Contact Details

It’s crucial that you check all of the information on your cards to make sure that all of the information is current and correct. If people go to your website or call the number on the card but can’t get through to you, they will likely give up and move onto your competition.
Double-check to make sure all of the information on your business cards is up to date and accurate. If you change any of your contact details, such as your telephone number, socials or physical address, immediately discard your old cards and order new ones.

8. Jokes and Sarcasm

Remember when we discussed the use of slang, and how you need to tailor it to your business? The same goes for jokes, sarcasm, and irony. If your business is in a very serious sector, such as family law, your business card might not be the best place for you to show off your comedic skills. But if you’re a stand-up comedian, or a kid’s birthday party clown? Go for it!
When it comes to sarcasm and irony, it’s best to avoid it altogether. Sarcasm doesn’t translate well over text, and you can never be sure whether your reader will think you’re serious. You don’t want to miss out on custom due to a joke that didn’t land.

9. Low-Resolution or Pixelated Images

Of course you should use images on your business card – they’re important for catching the reader’s eye. The most important image, of course, is your company’s logo. You can also use photos of your products, or stock images to set the tone of the card.
However, you should never include a picture on your business card if it’s low-resolution. When printed, it will look blurry and pixelated – and this will immediately make your business card look unprofessional. Even a professional printer won’t be able to make a low-res image look clear and sharp.

10. Too Much Empty Space

White space is important, as previously mentioned. So why not take advantage of the back of the card to fit all the information you need, without worrying about the card looking too cluttered. Whoever you hand the card to will automatically turn it over to see what’s on the other side – so don’t present them with an empty page.

You can use the back of your card for promotional purposes, such as a coupon or as a space for loyalty card stamps. You could use it to write a basic pricing list of your most popular products or services. There are plenty of things that you can add to the back of the card to make use of all of that real estate.

What Should You Include on Your Business Card?

Now that you know what shouldn’t be included on your business card, you need to be familiar with what you should put on there. This final section will discuss the most important information that should always be present on your business card:

1)  Your Name and Title
This is one of the most important things that you need to have on your card because it introduces who you are. The title is particularly important – especially if you own your business. List yourself as the CEO, director, founder, what have you – just make sure there’s a title of some sort!

2) Company Logo and Tagline
This is important because not only will it tell customers where you work, but it will also help to spread your brand image and ethos. A contact should know what your business is about just by looking at the card.

3) Contact Information
Without your contact information, they won’t be able to communicate with you. Include your premises address (if applicable), your phone number, email address, and any socials. Double-check that your details are all correct before sending your design to print.

Where Can I Order Business Cards in the UK?

Your business card should be representative of who you are as a brand. That’s why it’s vital to use a professional stationer, such as 123Print, when it comes to designing and ordering your business cards. With a professionally printed, high-quality business card, you’ll instantly create a favourable first impression of your brand with customers, clients and peers.

At 123Print, we offer hundreds of full-colour business card templates, all of which are completely editable and customisable. Simply select your preferred design to open our easy editor, and begin inputting your information.
With a 100% satisfaction guarantee and thousands of satisfied customers, you can trust us with all of your business stationery needs. Browse our business card templates today!

5 Ways to Make Your Business Cards Stand Out!

A business card is arguably one of the most important tools in your marketing plan. They are an extension of you; a piece of you which a prospective customer gets to take away and the moment you exchange a business card,  you’re telling your potential customer exactly who you are, what you do and how you can help them.

5 ways to make your business cards stand-1 Continue reading 5 Ways to Make Your Business Cards Stand Out!