Why You Should Switch to a Digital Business Card (+9 New Uses for Paper Business Cards)
The business card has been ubiquitous for more than a hundred years. You probably have some tucked into your wallet right now. They’re great for networking and sharing important information about your business to customers. They’re simple and serve a straight-forward purpose.
But when you need a plumber, an auto mechanic, or a car detailer, how often have you gone through your wallet or desk drawer of business cards to help you find a good one nearby? Odds are you just look up local services online, check their reviews, peruse their website, maybe surf through their social media to get a good sense for the kind of work they do.
What do you think your customers do when they are looking for a woodworker? Business cards just aren’t serving the same functionality they used to.
VIRTUAL BUSINESS CARDS
If potential customers are looking online for woodworkers, you have to meet them where they’re at. Rather than handing over a paper business card, introduce them to your business with a virtual card. It does the same thing, but you can include so much more than what will fit on a 3.5”x2” card. The virtual card itself can be a device the same size and width as a paper business card, but it can also be anything that can hold a microchip: a display stand on the countertop, a phone grip, or a smartwatch band! As long as a phone can scan it, you can share your business with anyone.
A virtual business card can leverage the smartphone in everyone’s pocket to instantly send your potential customers to any online presence you want, including, of course, your website or online shop. Right then and there, you can lead a customer through your website, show off a digital portfolio of your work, and let them read the positive reviews from other customers. (Did you know that 93% of customers say online reviews influence their buying decisions?) Like we said, meet them where they’re at. If they’re looking for unique serving trays, show them the ones you’ve made!
One particular virtual business card we like is Linq. Linq is a networking platform that sells both the physical device containing the scannable virtual business card and the digital software that hosts your profile (with your business information) or sends your customer to another website. All you (the business owner) need is the app to get your account set up, but no one else needs the app to receive your virtual business card. Custom Linq business cards with your logo are available here. (We can help with your card setup if you purchase through George Supply Company)
In their store, Linq sells cards, wristbands, phone grips, and many other devices with your virtual business card. Other virtual business card services offer key fobs and phone buttons and some integrate with emails and smart watches. So if you don’t keep your phone on you in the shop (or just set it down a lot), you can still share your virtual business card with devices on your wrist, sitting on a front table, or attached to your shop apron.
Even if you just buy the card, at least you can update the information received by your customer whenever you want! No need to order new cards every time you need or want to change anything. That saves a lot of time and money since you don’t have to reorder bundles of cards.
Plus, like other services we like, Linq has a free, basic account option for people to try things out first before investing any serious money. The free account lets you:
- Add social media profiles to your virtual business card
- Show custom links to your website, online store, and Google Business page
- Add photos of your products and work
- Display contact information for how to get a hold of you
- Analyze basic traffic data on which links your customers explore
For $5 a month, they do have a Pro account, which lets you customize your devices with your business logo, embed videos on your virtual page, create more than one page, and even schedule meetings!
Virtual business cards (through Linq or another service you find!) let you give your customers more of the resources they are looking for when making a decision: an inventory of products, information on websites, reviews from other clients, pictures of finished projects, etc. And it’s all on their phone, in their hands, already.
9 NEW USES FOR PAPER BUSINESS CARDS
So when you decide to upgrade to a virtual business card, you have 2 important questions to ask: What do I do with the paper business cards I already have lying around? And what else could business cards do for my business?
Virtual business cards do not have to replace paper business cards. After all, people may prefer the physical object in their hand, or their phone might be dead, or they just aren’t sure how to use the mobile sites. We suggest still having some paper cards around, but here are some ideas how these cards can be pulling double-duty to earn their real estate on your front counter.
Punch a hole on the side or top of your business card and tie it around your products! They can accompany your product information cards or be attached to other products without information cards. Maybe you convert them to price tags as well!
If you are ordering some more cards soon, consider changing the design to include a mini-ruler on the back (or front!). So even when your customers purchase and begin using your products, they still have a reason to look at your card when they need a short measure in a pinch. Heck, maybe you’ll use it too!
Mini Woodworking Cheat Sheet
On the back of your card, include a small cheat sheet that converts chart imperial measurements to metric, or linear to board feet. Your customer can learn something quick about woodworking, and maybe be able to show off a little to their friends when they explain the item they bought from you!
Mini Biographies or Stories
Ok, one more mini idea. Use the space on your paper card to tell your customer more about the person behind the shop goggles. Let them get to know more about you and your story so they feel a connection to your business. What motivates you? What obstacles have you overcome? What’s your connection to woodworking? People want to like the companies they are shopping at -- give them a good reason to like yours!
While the front of your business cards can still have your workshop name, logo, website, phone number, business hours, etc., the back side can be turned into a loyalty card! Buy 5 wall shelves and get the 6th one free! Spend $275 and get a free product worth $25. On the back, make room for stamps or a hole-punch and a little explanation of the reward. Make sure you have a matte finish on your cards, though, otherwise the stamps may rub off.
Discount Code Coupons
On your business card, print a coupon code or referral discount to share with customers. This can be especially useful at tradeshows, where people are getting a lot of paper and information. Make them want to keep track of your card by making it worth their while when they shop at your store. In addition, referrals can be a game-changer. According to Hubspot, word-of-mouth is directly responsible for 19% of all purchases, and on top of that, it at least influences as much as 90% of your sales. Incentivize your customers to share your company with their friends and family by offering a discount for doing so.
Format your cards to allow space for customers to write their names on the business card, then turn it in to you. You can hold on to the business cards and host a live stream on Instagram or Facebook where you pull the winning card! Customers can keep a separate card as a reminder of the raffle and so they have your business information. Or they can tear off half the card like an actual raffle ticket. What are they going to win? A product outright or an add-on that usually costs extra (like installation or nicer stain)? That’s up to you!
QR codes are perfect for directing your customer specifically where you want them to go. Of course it could be your website, but maybe it should be to a landing page featuring your current promotion, or newest product, or your instagram page.
Digital Promotion Card
Include a QR code or a lnk.bio link on your new cards moving forward and encourage your customers to follow your social media accounts. Maybe the QR code takes your customer to a special page on your website with a unique discount code only available from the business card! Or it takes them to your review site of choice (Google Business or Yelp, for example) to leave a review of your work. Remember, 93% of customers look at reviews when deciding whether to buy something or not! Make sure your reviews accurately reflect the quality of your work.
We admit, this is kind of like your virtual business card, but it’s still something physical your customers can walk away with. They can’t take your Linq devices with them, so a business card with a QR code to a landing page with all the same information is the next best thing.
Emergency Fix Card
On one side of the card, offer ways to use your business card around the house: Fix a wobbly chair or table, prop open a door, start a fire in a fireplace, use as a coaster, use as a bookmark, etc. Your card can even have “Need to fix a wobbly table? Put me under a leg!” written on it. Then on the other side of the card, remind your customer that you do repairs on furniture or sell new furniture that is guaranteed to be level! Seeing your business card under their wobbly side table is guerilla marketing at its finest.
Paper business cards have been integral for decades, and they probably aren’t going extinct anytime soon. But the next generation of business cards are going to take precedence. Virtual business cards offer many advantages: you don’t have to order and store hundreds (many thousands) of them at a time, you can’t lose them (they are online!), they are dynamic and easily updated, and they offer your customers much more information than just your business hours and email address.
Virtual business cards can be shared via QR codes or physical objects with microchips, so you still benefit from perhaps the most important part of having business cards: the chance to talk face-to-face with potential customers. But unlike paper cards, you can use your virtual card to give customers the exact resources they are looking for. Show them your good reviews and portfolio of completed projects. Let them look through your shop and social media profiles. They were going to look up this stuff anyway, might as well give it to them and let them ask you questions while they’re in the shop with you! Or make it easy for them to find this information on their own time.
Virtual business cards don’t mean you have to recycle all your old cards or never order new ones again. There are tons of ways paper business cards can support your business and your virtual card. But virtual is pretty darn cool! And it’s an amazing tool to make a lasting impression and connection with your customers. That’s a really important part of business cards anyway.
Scott Chervitz is owner of George Supply Company, dedicated to helping woodshops build their brand. See more at GeorgeSupplyCo.com. You can reach him at Scott@GeorgeSupplyCo.com or on Instagram at @GeorgeSupplyCompany
Special thanks to Brian Chervitz for all his time, energy and incomparable writing skills. This project is immeasurably easier with his help and guidance.