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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!

Covid-Busting Business Boosters: 6 Tips to Stay in Touch with Clients

The Coronavirus pandemic has made it more difficult than ever to connect with your clients and customers. Without real face to face contact, it’s much easier for a client to switch to a competitor, or to forget how much value you deliver with your service.
Whether your business is open as usual, operating at a reduced capacity, or has had to temporarily close, it’s vital that you keep in touch with your clients. Stay at the forefront of their minds, and they’ll never forget that you’re just a phone call away. Your aim is simple: keep your clients loyal throughout these unprecedented times.
We’ve made a list of six personalised business boosters that you can use to maintain that all-important relationship with your clients during the Covid-19 pandemic. Read on to find out how!

1) Business Cards

The very point of business cards is to serve as a gentle reminder to a client of who you are, what you do, and how to get in touch with you.
In normal times, business cards are useful enough. Take a conference, for example; a snazzy business card helps somebody remember you even though they met a hundred other people that day.

If anything, they’re even more important now. Conferences are cancelled, many businesses have ground operations to a halt, and things are only just opening up again. With a timely, personalised and attractive business card, you put yourself at the front of the queue when things open back up.

But your clients probably already have your business cards stuck on their fridges, or filed away somewhere. So why send another one? Simple – to let them know you’re open!
Our personalised business cards let you fill out your address, company name, phone number, email address, and so on. But there’s also more than enough room to include a small message, like ‘Open for Business’, ‘Open during lockdowns’, or ‘Opening soon’. Mail one with a flyer to your list of former clients, and you might even win some business back.

2) Personalised Business Stationery

Personalised business stationery is the best way to convey your brand to customers. Something as simple as an envelope with your company’s logo on it creates an image of your business as one that’s big, organised and professional—all for the cost of pennies.
There are lots of ways that business stationery can help you keep in touch with clients during a lockdown. You can send reopening offers using branded envelopes and paper, for example. Email might still be the king of convenience, but nothing conveys quality branding like professionally printed company letterheads, appointment cards, notepads and address labels. People don’t want the new normal of the pandemic; they want to get back to what’s real, and quality stationery can help you provide that.

On a different topic, business stationery will also be a boost to your employees. If any are working from home, providing them with their own personalised stationery like notepads or paper with company letterheads will help them stay professional despite not being at the office.

3) Flyers

Throughout the initial pandemic panic, and the subsequent lockdown, the Royal Mail carried on. As a treasured national institution, and a vital way of keeping in touch, they couldn’t have considered closing.
That’s good for the country—but it’s also good for you. That’s because flyers are a fantastic way of reaching clients new and old.
They’re especially good for local businesses. With uncertainty over which businesses are allowed to stay open, how many people are allowed to visit, and how safe certain establishments are, you can talk directly to your clients or customers through a flyer! You can tell them:

1. That you’re open! Fewer people are out and about, so your clients may not have walked down the High Street to see that you’re open again. You can tell them directly! If you haven’t been able to open up again yet, why not include an estimated date?
2. The exact steps you’re taking to keep your business Covid-safe. Have you invested in a new air filtration system? Have you hired extra cleaners? Set tables further apart? Set up protective screens? Let your clients know and boost their confidence.
3. What current guidelines advise with regard to your business. There are lots of mixed signals, and official advice seems to change every day. You can spread a little certainty with your flyer.

The best thing about flyers, though, has always been how cheap they are. You have a choice of varying sizes up to A4, can choose your own imagery and font, and they’re still as cheap as chips.

 

4) Personalised Mugs

Mugs personalised with your business’ logo are nowhere near as popular as they should be! They might seem like an odd choice, but they work—just ask Sports Direct.
What’s great about personalised mugs is that they stick around. A business card might get crumpled, dog-eared and sun damaged. Papers with corporate letterheads get filed away or go missing. But a mug can last a lifetime!

What’s even better is that mugs get used. Every time your client makes a cup of tea, does their washing up or just looks around their kitchen, your brand is right there in front of them. Not every person who gets one will use theirs, but the percentage that do will have a constant reminder of who you are, what you do, and why they should care.
Personalised mugs are best used as promotional products. So, if you’re running a grand re-opening, why not offer one to every new client who signs up? Alternatively, send them out as thank-you gifts to all of your oldest and most loyal customers. And like personalised stationery, they’re great for the workplace too – perhaps to welcome back every employee who returns to the office.

5) Personalised Magnets

Just like personalised mugs, fridge magnets are a hardy product. They won’t get crumpled or torn like a flyer or business card might, and they’re designed to be used over and over again. However, the big advantage of magnets is that they’re significantly less bulky than mugs, and also much cheaper to buy (and to post). So, if you have a lot of clients you’d like to stay in touch with, magnets might be the perfect choice.
You can bet that each of your clients visits their refrigerator multiple times a day. What could be better than for them to see your company’s logo every time they prepare themselves a snack, or grab the milk for their cup of tea?

Design a personalised magnet with your logo alone, or include a personalised message wishing your customers well in these trying times. Send them out alongside a flyer, to remind your customers of the services or products that you offer.

6) Christmas Cards

Last but not least, you should consider personalised Christmas cards as a way to keep in touch with special clients.
While professionally printed flyers and letters on company letterheads look good, the expectation is that they would be sent to any client. But if you have certain special clients who you want to maintain an excellent relationship with, a Christmas card might be the answer.

This Christmas is shaping up to look pretty different to Christmases of the past. Even if we’re not in a full lockdown, we probably won’t be able to celebrate exactly as we usually do. Our usual festive activities, such as Christmas fairs and parties, may have to be put on hold this year – and for many of us, this may mean that Christmas spirit is a bit thin on the ground.

By sending out Christmas cards to your most valued clients, you’ll help to remind them that the season is still worth celebrating – and that someone cares for them. You’re letting them know that you’ll still be there for them throughout the festive season and beyond, bringing some semblance of normality to your clients’ lives. Choose a photo-upload card, and add your business’s logo – or even a picture of yourself in a Santa hat, for that extra personal touch.

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How Often Should You Update Your Business Card?

Business cards are still very important marketing tools today, even though we currently live in the digital era. Understanding this, you have spent time and money carefully crafting the perfect business cards to represent your business.

But as well as creating a top-notch, stand-out business card, it’s also important to keep it up to date. Some common questions that people have when it comes to their business cards is whether or not they should update their business card, and how often it needs to be done.
By reading on, you can learn everything that you need to know about updating your business card, including when it’s time to think about re-designing it.

What Are the Signs That You Need to Update Your Business Card?

You might have been plodding along with the same old business cards that you designed months ago, or even years ago. But when is the right time to give your business card an overhaul – whether a complete redesign, or simply an information update?
There are some signs to look out for that quite clearly indicate that your business card should get an update.

Here they are:

Your Current Card Has Outdated Information

It’s absolutely vital that your business card doesn’t contain incorrect or outdated information. This can hinder a person’s ability to contact you – and that means lost business. Your information might need updating if:

1. You’ve switched to a new retail or office premises
2. You’ve changed your phone number or e-mail address
3. You’ve acquired new social media (e.g. a Twitter or Instagram account) since creating your business card
4. You’ve changed your business’s name, tagline or motto
5. You’ve updated or redesigned your logo, or changed some important design aesthetic, such as your business’s overall colour scheme

If any of the above apply, you will need a new business card to reflect these changes.

Your Business Card Isn’t Translating into Clicks or Customers

Maybe you’ve been tracking the response rate from handing out business cards (for example, by adding a unique QR code to each one, so you can see who’s actually read your card) and you’re not noticing the results you were looking for. Perhaps you’ve handed out hundreds upon hundreds of cards, but haven’t noticed an increase in new customers or clientele.

This might be an issue with your business card’s design. If it isn’t eye-catching and memorable – in other words, if it doesn’t stand out in the crowd – then you’re missing out on your card’s potential, and it’s time for a redesign.

In many cases, business cards just get tossed together in some pile and are only searched for when the person needs a specific service or product. As they pull out a card, they will try to remember the person that gave it to them. Make your card unique and memorable, then you will start noticing results.

Your Current Business Card is Uninspiring

Sometimes you just put together a business card hastily and without much thought because you needed one ASAP. If you rushed your business card, you probably didn’t put as much work into the design as you should have – perhaps you went with a boring template that you didn’t even spend time editing. There’s also the chance that you just didn’t know what you wanted at the time, but now it’s been a while and you’re feeling uninspired by the design you chose.

You need a business card that you find inspiring because this means it will also leave an impact on your potential clients. A revamp for your business card may be required to get something more inspiring.

Why It’s Important to Redesign Your Business Card

A good business card should accomplish the following aims:
1. Get the attention of/acquire prospects
2. Quickly tell people who you are and what you do
3. Encourage your prospects to keep in touch or engage with you via phone, email, social media, or visiting your business premises
4. Spread brand awareness and recognition (get your logo out there)
5. Let readers know of important information, such as store opening hours or prices (if applicable)

If you are not getting these results from your business card, that means it’s time for you to update and redesign your business card. These changes could be as minor as just changing the colours or going for a complete overhaul. If your current business cards aren’t working for you, it’s time to update your business card.

When It’s Time to Redesign Your Business Card

You should redesign your business card whenever you need to. There’s no exact timeframe on how often you should redesign it – whether it’s every quarter with the seasons, once a year, or every few years.
The most important thing to remember is that all of your business marketing materials should be updated at the same time, in order to ensure brand consistency. This is vital for raising brand awareness for your company and keeping your business recognisable across the board.
One of the biggest reasons why people don’t benefit from business cards is because of the design. Your business card design may be too confusing or not memorable enough for your prospects. Redesigning your card could be the solution that you are looking for. Remember, there is no real timeframe on how often you redesign you card; just do it when you feel it’s time.

How to Redesign a Business Card

After you realise just how important your business card redesign is, you can move onto how to best go through this redesign process for the best results. The last thing that you want is to go through this entire process of redesigning your card, only to not have the results that you are looking for.
Here, you can see the steps that you need to take to make the most out of your business card redesign.

Know Who Your Audience is and Your Value

The first place that you need to start is to determine who your audience is and what value you have to offer. Why do they need your services? Why are you the best team to help them with what they need? This is an important first step because this will help you design the most appealing card for them.

To do this, ask yourself a couple of questions:
1. Is your company in the tech industry? Show off your tech skills by adding a QR quote for your website or landing page to your business card.
2. Can people find your company on social media? Be sure to include your social media profiles/handles to the card so people can find you.
3. Do you work in a very formal industry? You should stick to business cards that are sleek and minimalistic, only offering the most essential information for your prospects.

Create a Business Card the Matches with Your Brand

You don’t want some generic looking business card that could look like it belongs to any business. You want something that is unique to your brand, so that customers can immediately recognise who the card is for without having to do read it.
You will get best results when working with a professional company such as 123Print, as they can create a truly eye-catching design for your business card that will really make you stand out.

Some things to think about when doing this:

1. Which colours best represent your brand or work best for your audience? For example, blue and purple give off vibes of calm and relaxation, whereas red and orange create an aura of energy and vitality
2. Would a specific shape aside from the traditional rectangle better represent who your brand is? For example, would a vertical business card help you stand out from the crowd?
3. What’s the best way to layout the card so that there’s no clutter and the business card is easy to read?
4. Which type of paper will it be printed on?
5. Are there any design trends that interest you that you want included on your new design?

Be Creative

You need to stand out from your competition when you are creating a business card. That’s why it’s such a good idea for you to get creative and think outside of the box. If your card stands out, then your business will stand out to the prospects when they are thinking about specific products or services.

Take the time to find something that represents you and your brand while also being creative enough to be memorable for your prospects. For example, maybe you want to add a loyalty card section to your card that customers can have stamped when they buy from you? Perhaps you want to go against the grain with a funky font or loud colour scheme?

Where Can I Buy Business Cards?

It doesn’t hurt to take the time to freshen up your business cards. There are many reasons as to why you should update your business card, but it’s always a worthwhile change to ensure that your cards always represent who you are as a person and a business.
Once you determine that it’s time to redesign your business card, head over to 123Print to browse our extensive range of full colour business cards. Choose your favourite from thousands of templates and edit it to perfection, or create your own design completely from scratch!

We offer several paper options such as standard, heavy, and recycled. You’ll find a fabulous array of designs from the bold to the understated, and vertical, horizontal and double-sided formats. With our 2-day shipping and 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can’t go wrong!

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What Should You Say When You’re Handing Out Business Cards?

It can be exciting to have your very own business cards, especially if you’re just starting out in your professional career or have just started your own business. You may be tempted to hand your business card out to everyone that you see.
However, there is some etiquette about business cards that you should be aware of in order to make your business cards as effective as possible. What you say and what you do when you hand them out can have a significant impact on whether or not people are going to take your business card and use it. The goal here is to help you understand the important etiquette surrounding giving out business cards, including what you should say to be as successful as possible in your professional endeavours.

Create a Good First Impression

You want to be very tactful when handing out business cards. This is often the first impression that someone gets of you, which means that you want to make sure that it’s a positive one.
Of course, you should be polite: smile, make casual conversation and ask questions about the other person – don’t make it all about you. If you come across as conceited or only concerned with yourself, they won’t be interested in working with you.
When you hand out your business card, you should say something along the lines of “Here’s my business card – I look forward to potentially working with you and your company.” You should also ask for their card, giving you the opportunity to follow up with them rather than having to wait for them to contact you.

Don’t Hand Out your Cards Indiscriminately

The idea of handing out business cards can be so exciting that you may just start handing them out to everyone that you talk to. However, this can give off the wrong impression of you. The people receiving the card may think that you’re too anxious to give your card away or are insecure.

In either case, they may be hesitant to use your card to contact you. You don’t want to look desperate. Wait until the time is right to give out your card, after you’ve discussed what you can do and if they seem interested.

Time it Correctly

There is actually a right time when it’s ideal for handing out your business card. You just need to be patient enough to wait for it. Ideally, you will wait until the moment that the other person will want or need the information that you have on your business card, or will specifically ask for your details.

There may be a moment where you and the other party agree that you want to talk further on the topic of doing business together. This is the perfect time to give out your card. Don’t forget to ask for theirs in return if they don’t hand it to you at the same time.
If such an opportunity doesn’t naturally arise, wait until your conversation naturally concludes, and then say “I’d love to work with you/hear from you in the future – here’s my card”.

Say, Don’t Ask

Try to avoid asking if the other party would like one of your business cards. This, of course, gives them the opportunity to say ‘no’ – and you don’t really want to give them that option, if you’re trying to reach as many potential clients or contacts as possible.
Instead of asking “would you like a business card”, simply hand them one. Most people will automatically take something if it’s handed to them. Accompany it with something like “oh by the way, here’s my card – don’t hesitate to contact me any time!”

Handing Out Business Cards: What Not to Do

Now that you know exactly what to say and do when handing out business cards, here is a brief list of the things you shouldn’t do. These are all common mistakes that people make, especially when first starting out.

1. Never hand your card out to people as soon as you meet them. The only exception to this rule is when everyone is handing them out at the beginning of a meeting. Otherwise, this could make you seem desperate, and this will make people less likely to work with you.

2. Don’t give out your card to everyone you meet. The point of the business card is to be memorable and leave an impression on the person. Make yourself stand out by being selective on who you give your business card to.

3. Never give out multiple cards to a person unless they specifically ask you to. This can be misinterpreted as being presumptuous, which will have a negative impact on their impression of you. If they do ask for multiple cards, then you can do this without it reflecting poorly on you.

4. Don’t forget to write a follow-up email the next day, if you received their contact information too. This could be just to start a conversation, such as “Hey, really enjoyed meeting you” type email or you should send them information that you promised to. End the email saying that you hope to keep in touch.

5. Don’t forget to make notes on any business cards you receive after handing out your own. This will help you to refer back to the previous conversation when contacting them. This is a personal touch that will make the other person feel special and be more likely to work with you.

Business Card Design and Presentation Tips

Finally, before you start handing out your business cards, here are some general tips to follow when it comes to business card design and presentation. These tips will help your business card advertising to stand out and be memorable.

Your Business Cards Should Be Easily Accessible

Where are you going to keep your business cards when you’re handing them out? You don’t want to be in a position where you are saying what you need to say, then end up searching around for your business card and not being able to find one. This will look unprofessional.
Your business card should be in a memorable place that you can easily access. This can save you from some embarrassment in these important situations. And don’t just stuff them into a pocket, where they could get crumpled – consider keeping them in a folder or wallet.

Always Have Enough Business Cards

It’s a good idea to make sure that you have fully stocked yourself with plenty of business cards. You never know how many cards you are going to need for a meeting or event, so making sure that you have enough on you before attending any gathering is a good idea.
The last thing you want is for a potential client or professional contact to ask for a card, only for you to discover that you don’t have one to give.

Make Sure the Card Looks Good

Business cards can leave an impression on the person that you are handing your card to. It’s up to you to make sure that’s a positive impression. You don’t want to give them a card that isn’t visually appealing because this will reflect poorly on you and your business.
From having a stellar design to making sure that the card is crisp looking (not wrinkled or unevenly printed), you want to make sure that your business card is presentable. A professional printing site such as 123Print can help you design appealing and eye-catching business cards.

Reflect Your Desired Brand Image

It cannot be emphasized enough just how important your business card is to first impressions. That’s why it’s crucial that you take the time to see what your business card says about you and your brand. You want a card that you can be proud of, one that perfectly represents who you are and what your business is. You want a high quality card that is visually appealing, with the company logo for brand consistency.

Business cards are such an important part of doing business, but you need to make sure that you are doing the business card thing right. By using proper etiquette and knowing exactly what to say, you are going to be able to make the most out of your business card marketing tactics.

You just have to be sure that you have well-designed business cards that you are proud of and that you have enough on you for any event. Order your professionally printed business cards today at 123Print!