Category Archives: New Features

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!

Business Card Clear Print

12 Creative and Inventive Ways to Use your Business Cards

Giving out business cards is an excellent way to spread the word about your company, increase brand awareness, and generate sales. However, handing out a bog-standard, basic business card to a passer-by or at a meeting is only ever going to be so effective. Think about how many business cards the average professional gets handed on a weekly or monthly basis – you’ve got to give them a way to remember you!
Fortunately, business cards don’t have to be boring. We’ve come up with 12 creative and inventive ways for you to use your business cards. Read on to discover how to give your clients, peers and customers a reason to contact you again.

1. Loyalty Cards

People love to be rewarded – especially with discounts or freebies. So why not turn your business card into a loyalty card?
As people frequent your store, café or other establishment, they will get a stamp or hole punched into their card. When they get all of the stamps that they need, they will receive a reward and a new card. For instance, if you own a salon, they can get enough points for a free haircut. At a café, they may earn a free cup of coffee.
Just turning your business card into a loyalty card could be enough to make you stand out from your competitors. Be sure that you brand it well, making your logo and contact details stand out on the front of the card along with space for stamps or holes.

2. Appointment Cards

You can also use your business cards to remind customers of their upcoming appointment. These hybrid business and appointment cards should be designed with your company’s logo, branding and contact details in pride of place. Include a space on the card where your staff or your client can fill out details of their next appointment or meeting with you.
If you’ve got the space, add space to record not just the date and time of the upcoming appointment, but also who the appointment is with (if relevant) and other important notes – such as a deadline for cancelling or rearranging it.

3. Bag Stuffers

Including an eye-catching business card with every order that you send out can be a great way to turn your one-time customers into repeat clients. These aren’t just great to stuff in the bags of guests that check out at your company, but also for swag bags that you create for charity events or conventions.
When customers notice the business card in their bag (providing they liked your products or services, of course), they will keep hold of it so that they can contact you again!
Be sure that in addition to containing your contact information, your business cards use an exciting colour scheme or a call-to-action to encourage the customer to pick it up. Why not try a magnetic business card so that your clients can easily stick it to the fridge?

4. Discounts or Coupons

As we’ve touched upon already, customers love getting freebies, and discounts on goods and services. So, why not kill two birds with one stone and create a business card that also functions as a coupon or voucher?
Include all of the standard information that your customers need on the front of the business card, such as your company’s name, address and telephone number. But somewhere on the card, you can display a coupon code, money-off voucher or exclusive discount offer . This can be great incentive for new customers to check out your business – and it also forces them to keep your card, otherwise they won’t be able to take advantage of the offer.

5. Referral Cards

Referral cards are business cards that your customers can hand out to their friends and family to raise your brand awareness to other people. This can be an especially beneficial use of business cards for retailers, accounting firms, and tax preparation businesses.
These will look like business cards, but have spaces for the referrer to put their name on there so that you can know who gets credit for the referral. Just be sure that the referral cards follow along with your other branding to stay consistent with your company image – they should contain the same logo and colour scheme, for example.

6. Swing Tags

If you sell a physical product, you can consider using your business card as the swing tags on your merchandise! One side will have your logo and your contact information (email address, phone number, etc.) while the other side has the product information on it.
Your customers will automatically interact with the swing tag as they read the details of the product, such as the price. When they get the product home they can keep the tag as a business card, and this will make them more likely to do business with you again.

7. Event Tickets

Are you hosting an event, such as a special sale, an opening party or a late-night shopping event, where current and potential customers will be in attendance? Try using your business cards as event tickets too! You can get a barcode or QR code added to a business card to turn it onto a ticket.
Your attendees will be forced to keep hold of your business card while they wait for the event – and they can save the card after the event, which will inspire them to come to your business in the future, rather than patronising a competitor.

8. Convenient Price List

If you offer products or services that you frequently get price requests for, you can save yourself some time by creating business cards with a mini price list of your most popular products and services. The front of the business card might look like an ordinary business card – your logo, address and contact details prominently displayed – while the price list can be found on the back.
Whether you’re a bakery listing the prices of your most popular pastries, or you’re a hair salon and you want to let people know how much you charge for a dry cut or foils, a price list is super helpful. It gives your potential customers not only the answer for pricing right at their fingertips, but they also get your contact information so that they can get in touch.

9. Place Settings

If you are hosting a corporate event, using a business card as a place setting can be a great idea. This will not only be something the guests can take home with them, but also something that adds more branding (and professionalism) to your event.
Whether you’re hosting a fancy dinner to welcome some international clients, or a buffet for your shop’s grand opening, business cards make the perfect place cards. You don’t even need to order a specialised card – you can simply hand-write your attendees’ names on the back of your ordinary business cards. (Use a calligraphy pen for effect!)

10. Feedback Cards

Receiving feedback is absolutely essential for the successful running of any business nowadays. While most businesses rely on online feedback – such as Facebook, Google or TripAdvisor reviews – there’s nothing better than receiving hand-written feedback straight from your customers.
So, why not turn your business cards into feedback cards? Simply add some space onto the back or bottom half of the card for your customers and clients to leave thanks and suggestions. For best results, offer some incentive for giving feedback – such as the chance for whoever leaves feedback to be entered into a prize draw.

11. Promote Social Media Campaigns

Once you launch your brand on social media, you’ll need to find new ways to promote your social media pages. If your customers don’t know that you have a Facebook page, for example, you might not get any engagement there – particularly if a large percentage of your clientele are older.
So, once you’ve opened up your social media accounts, use your business cards to advertise them to your customers. Keep your standard details on the front of the card, for example, while the back proudly displays your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram handles. Again, incentives are key – why not advertise a special offer or discount only available for customers who visit your socials?

12. Raffle Tickets

Hosting a raffle is a great way of drumming up interest in your business. Who doesn’t love winning a prize?
Whether you’re hosting a raffle for charity and selling tickets to raise funds, or giving out raffle tickets for free with every order (with the grand prize, of course, being one of your bestselling products), why not use your business card as the raffle ticket? You guessed it: your contact information is on one side, while a unique identifying number is on the other.
Are you inspired yet? Head to 123Print today to browse our extensive range of business card designs, or even create one yourself from scratch. We print business cards to the highest standards using the best quality cardstock, and aim to dispatch all orders within 48 hours. With a 100% satisfaction guarantee, what are you waiting for?

4 New Design Studio Features to Help Make Your Business Cards Rock

Whilst we’re not entirely sure if we’ve made the perfect design studio, we definitely believe we’re starting to get close. This month we’re super happy to introduce a couple new features which should help making your business cards rock – that bit easier (Not that they didn’t already, but you know what we mean). Take a look at our 4 new features below and let us know in the comments if there’s anything we can add that will make your design experience that little bit easier.

4 new features

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