When choosing a suitable alternative to physical business cards, it is crucial to consider an option that will provide the highest ROI for your networking efforts.
You may have already encountered many paper business card alternatives. But which of those alternatives can yield the best results for your networking?
To answer this question, let us look at the following data points:
#1 The pandemic has fast-tracked the digitalization of customer experiences by at least 3 to 4 years. (Source: McKinsey)
#2 The increasing significance of sustainability while networking and smartphone usage has accelerated the adoption of digital business cards. Their global market is forecasted to reach USD 242.3 Million at an 11.2% CAGR by 2027. (Source: MRFR)
The above statistics reveal why digital business cards, also known as e-business cards, are replacing their paper counterparts at a rapid pace.
Digital business cards efficiently address the limitations of physical business cards and other popular alternatives in every crucial networking aspect. Through this article, you will understand why a digital business card is the best physical business card alternative in today’s market.
We will drive home the point with the top eight reasons. Let’s get started.
Table of contents
- 8 Reasons why digital business cards are superior to other paper business card alternatives
- Move away from physical alternatives and create digital business cards
- Frequently asked questions
8 Reasons why digital business cards are superior to other paper business card alternatives
- Leverage more card-sharing opportunities
- Access first-party data and track client engagement
- Showcase as much information as required
- A cost-effective alternative to paper business cards
- Capture your client’s contact details in real-time
- Superior interactivity than other paper business card alternatives
- Avoid tedious business card procuring processes
- Conduct 100% eco-friendly networking
#1 Leverage more card-sharing opportunities than other paper business card alternatives
All known alternatives to physical business cards (with the exception of e-business cards) can only be shared face-to-face, which requires physical contact.
One alternative that many consider an exception to this rule is NFC business cards.
NFCs provide recipients access to a business card via a tag printed in a physical medium–such as a PVC card. This gives the notion that you can share them in a contactless manner. However, this notion is incorrect because of 3 reasons.
Firstly, as mentioned, you still need to use a physical medium for your NFC business cards. Secondly, the medium you use for your NFC business card still needs to be printed. Lastly, your recipient needs to physically tap a printed tag to access your business card.
Because of the above reasons, NFC business cards do not make for a truly contactless and paperless experience.
To increase your networking reach, you must go beyond just sharing your business cards via physical means. You must rely on more efficient, paperless, and contactless distribution methods.
This can be done by opting for digital business cards.
E-business cards are the only alternative that can be shared using multiple contactless methods. For instance, Beaconstac lets you send your digital business card to your Apple Wallet or Google Wallet so you can easily share it contact-free with a prospect.
In addition to using convenient wallet passes, you can share your digital business cards in the following contactless ways:
- Send your e-business card to your client using Apple’s Siri.
- Directly share your digital business card on social media.
- Share your business card as a QR Code.
- Distribute your card’s URL on various channels, such as email, SMS, and instant messaging.
You can learn more about these sharing methods by referring to our guide on how to send a digital business card.
You might want to know: Out of all the best digital business card solutions available today, only Beaconstac provides the ability to:
1. Share your card as a Google Wallet pass, and
2. Automatically send a card to its owner’s wallet pass (Apple or Google) upon creation.
#2 Digital business cards allow you to access first-party data and track client engagement
You might encounter business cards embedded into hardware tools and other useful objects. Due to their utility, these alternatives are not likely to be thrown out in less than a week like their physical counterparts.
But despite their longer retention rate, they don’t offer a way to ascertain engagement.
Even if your prospects keep your business card due to its utility, there’s no way to verify if they are actually interested in doing business with you or just keeping your business card for its practicality.
If you wish to determine if a client is interested in your services and is likely to contact you in the future, you must opt for an alternative that can track user engagement.
Digital business cards are the only paper business card alternative that is completely trackable. They let you obtain the following meaningful metrics:
- The total number of card scans received.
- The number of unique clients reached via your cards.
- Your best- and worst-performing digital business cards—based on the total number of scans each card gets.
- Your card’s engagement by location, time of day, and device—you can monitor when and where your team members engage with clients.
You can monitor the above metrics in real time by choosing a trackable digital business card solution. This way, you can easily determine if your recipients are engaging with your cards or not. As a result, these metrics help you optimize your networking efforts.
Good to know: In addition to capturing and monitoring first-party data, you can retarget users on Facebook and Google through Beaconstac. This helps you convert people who have scanned your business card but haven’t yet converted.
#3 You can showcase as much information as required with e-business cards
Some business card alternatives appeal to a recipient’s desire for practicality. This is why functional business cards, such as those printed on bottle openers and keychains, are now being used to certain extents.
While these substitutes provide a functional appeal, they do not address a critical aspect of successful networking: The ability to convey as much information as required.
What does this mean?
All physical business card alternatives have one thing in common—they force you to work inside a limited content space. Hence, it can be difficult to include all the information you need to fully convey your value and services.
For instance, if you wish to share multiple phone numbers, emails, web URLs, and social handles, it will be difficult to embed them all in something as small as a keychain or bottle opener.
Opting for digital business cards can help you overcome the spacing issues you encounter with other physical business card alternatives.
With digital business cards, you can showcase as much information as you need. There is no limit to the number of emails, phone numbers, web links, and social handles you can include. Moreover, you can add your comprehensive profile information, Google Maps location, and more.
FIND OUT: What information can you include on a digital business card
#4 Digital business cards are the most cost-effective alternative to paper business cards
In the US, the annual cost to print paper business cards, on average, is $194 per employee. If your organization has 500 employees, your annual business card expense can get as high as $97,000.
Keep in mind that this is merely the average cost. The more you opt for design-heavy and sophisticated business cards, the more expenses you incur.
If you wish to utilize the most cost-effective solution, consider choosing digital business cards.
Despite offering far superior benefits, digital business cards come only at a small fraction of the cost of paper business cards AND other alternatives.
For instance, your card expenses can get as low as $48 annually per employee, depending on your chosen pricing plan with Beaconstac.
As a result, you can save as much as 75% on your business card expenses.
#5 Capture your client’s contact details in real-time via your e-business cards
Successful networking relies heavily on exchanging contact information.
Due to their physical nature, most paper business card alternatives introduce friction and manual efforts during business card exchanges.
For instance, when exchanging physical business cards, you and your recipient must manually save each other’s contact information on your respective mobile devices. In addition, you may also need to manually record your client’s contact details in your company’s lead management system.
To streamline contact information exchange, you must switch to an alternative that offers two-way contact-sharing: digital business cards.
Two-way contact-sharing lets you capture your recipient’s contact details directly from your digital business card. Once your recipient submits their contact details via your card, they will be instantly recorded in your digital address book. This address book (the list of your collected leads) will be available on the dashboard of your chosen digital business card solution.
Via Beaconstac, you can use this address book to view and manage all the leads you capture through your e-business card.
You can export this list of leads into your organization’s primary CRM software—directly (Salesforce or HubSpot) or via Zapier. If you wish, you can manually export your list as a CSV file before uploading it to your CRM.
#6 Digital business cards provide superior interactivity than other paper business card alternatives
According to a Demand Metric report, interactive content generates 2X more conversions than passive content. Based on this finding, adding interactivity to your business card content can increase the likelihood of your recipients performing your desired action.
Physical business cards and most alternatives are passive rather than interactive.
For instance, due to its attractive design, a 3D business card may pique interest immediately after you share it. However, acting on that interest can still prove cumbersome for your recipients.
Because any information you convey via a physical medium is not instantly accessible. If a client wants to store your phone number on their mobile device, they must manually type it and save it by hand. If a prospect wants to visit your website, they must manually enter the URL on a browser.
Opting to go completely digital is the only way to provide a genuinely interactive experience.
With digital business cards, every piece of your business card information becomes accessible with a single tap.
A client wishing to store all your contact details can do so with a single tap on their screen. Moreover, your other business card information, such as your web links, social media handles, and Google Maps location, becomes instantly accessible.
#7 Avoid tedious organizational and logistical processes when procuring business cards
The typical organizational procurement process for paper business cards takes 30 days to complete– from start to finish. Even if you choose other paper business card alternatives made from physical material—edible, cotton, rubber, or USB business cards—it will likely involve lengthy procurement times.
Why? The main reason is that these alternatives take time to manufacture, print, and deliver–especially if you order them in bulk.
You can avoid these lengthy procurement timelines by switching to digital business cards.
With a capable digital business card solution, each team in your organization can be granted access to create their own e-business cards–whether as a standalone or in bulk–in minutes.
A specialized solution will also present several automation and API integration features that will make business card creation instant and convenient.
Pro tip: Automate your organization’s digital business card creation and distribution with the new Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AD) and Beaconstac integration.
This integration allows you to automatically create a digital business card as soon as a new employee’s details are added to your organization’s Microsoft Azure AD.
Once created, you can automate the distribution of your e-business cards to their owners as long as the auto-send feature on Beaconstac’s dashboard is toggled on.
Performing this integration can significantly save you time when managing your employee’s business cards. As a result, you can focus more on other crucial employee onboarding tasks.
#8 Digital business cards offer 100% eco-friendly networking
Currently, a wide variety of paper business card alternatives are considered eco-friendly. For instance, you will come across business cards made from edible products, fibers, and recycled paper.
As opposed to virgin paper, these alternatives leave lesser carbon footprints in their manufacture and use. So, adopting them to your networking can prove more sustainable.
However, it’s important to note that the business card alternatives mentioned above still emit their share of carbon dioxide.
For instance, producing a metric ton of recycled paper leaves 0.15 metric tons less carbon dioxide equivalent vis-à-vis making the same amount of virgin paper.
What does this tell us?
To achieve 100% sustainability in your networking, you must switch to the sole alternative that does not rely on paper or any physical mediums: digital business cards.
E-business cards can be created and managed virtually–without the need for printing and manufacturing from raw materials. Once you create them, you can begin sharing them via numerous contactless means.
This absence of paper and other physical mediums makes digital business cards the most eco-friendly alternative.
As an added benefit, digital business cards can be edited virtually as and when needed. This way, you completely eliminate the need for reprinting anytime you need to update your contact information.
Move away from physical alternatives and create digital business cards with Beaconstac
Now that you understand how digital business cards outperform other paper business card alternatives, you might wish to adopt them to enhance your networking results.
To strengthen the impact of your e-business card creation, management, and sharing, we recommend choosing a capable and robust digital business card solution.
As a specialized digital business card platform, Beaconstac provides all the features and capabilities you need to maximize your networking ROI.
You can leverage features such as extensive card customizations, contactless card-sharing options, and team-level analytics—without the need to download any app. Moreover, all your business card activities are safeguarded under industry-leading enterprise-grade security measures.
Suggested Reading: 5 Features that make Beaconstac the best digital business card solution
Frequently asked questions
What are the disadvantages of paper business cards?
Here are the 8 main disadvantages of using paper business cards in your networking:
- Paper business cards limit you to a 3” x 5” content space. It can be difficult to include all the information you need to convey in such a small content space.
- Paper business cards are only shareable face-to-face, severely limiting your networking reach.
- Paper business cards are costly to print (as high as $194 per employee, per year).
- The procurement process for paper business cards–from start to finish–takes an average of 30 days.
- The information displayed on a paper business card is not interactive. A recipient must manually type your information on a mobile device to access and use it.
- Paper business cards can’t be tracked and do not provide performance metrics.
- Paper business cards are prone to errors and updates, leading to needless reprints.
- Due to its apparent carbon footprint, creating and sharing paper business cards is not considered eco-friendly.
What are the alternatives to paper business cards?
Here are 8 of the most common alternatives to paper business cards:
- Digital business cards
- NFC-enabled business cards
- Edible business cards
- Functional business cards (bottle openers, keychains, hardware tools, etc.)
- Plantable business cards
- Cotton-based business cards
- USB business cards
- 3D business cards