Scannable Business Cards: How They Work + Benefits & Best Practices
Move away from outdated business card practices and start networking in a digital, interactive, and contactless manner. How? Read this article to learn about scannable business cards and how they pave the way for better, ROI-driven interactions between you and your clients.
A business card is an indispensable networking tool that can help you attract new customers and build genuine connections to grow your brand or business.
However, in today’s digital and post-pandemic world, traditional business cards are losing their appeal as a suitable networking medium. Many professionals and organizations are now shifting to a more effective alternative.
Enter: QR Code-based scannable business cards.
These interactive and scannable business cards allow you to conveniently share your contact information instantly and professionally. Your recipients only have to scan a QR Code within your business card to access and save your contact details on their smartphones.
This post dives deep into the benefits of scannable business cards, how to use them, and some of their best usage practices. We will also demonstrate how to create them—as a standalone or in bulk.
A scannable business card refers to a business card—either physical or digital—with a visibly embedded QR Code. Scanning this QR Code allows your business card recipients to access and save your contact information on their mobile devices in a few clicks.
How does a scannable business card work? (The 2 methods)
Method 1: Embedding a business card QR Code on a paper-based card
A scannable business card can take the form of a paper business card embedded with a dynamic QR Code. Your clients can scan the QR Code on the paper-based card and access the business card landing page containing all your relevant information.
In addition to your contact details, your business card landing page can contain unlimited multimedia content—such as links to your career portfolio, social media profiles, and other relevant web URLs.
For this method, you will need a dynamic QR Code. If you use Beaconstac, each business card you create will come with a dynamic QR Code you can print and embed on any physical medium.
Top 4 Benefits of adding a QR Code to a physical business card
#1 Share more information than a physical business card can accommodate
Traditional business cards restrict your information-sharing to a 3” x 5” cardstock. For certain use cases, this content space might not be enough to convey your complete value proposition.
Adding a QR Code to your business card lets you go beyond this restrictive content space issue. The business card landing page—which your QR Code links to—can accommodate unlimited information. For instance, in addition to your contact details, you can add multimedia elements, such as web URLs, social handles, Google Maps locations, and more.
#2 Scannable business cards establish an interactive two-way communication channel
According to a Demand Metric report, interactive content generates 2X more conversions than passive content. So making your business cards interactive goes a long way in boosting client conversions or establishing new connections to grow your network.
In addition to allowing you to add comprehensive details, each element in your QR Code-based scannable business card is interactive. A client only needs to click a phone number, email, or web link to access it in real-time.
#3 Monitor your scannable business card’s performance with card-scan analytics
A scannable business card—courtesy of its dynamic QR Code—allows you to capture meaningful engagement metrics. These metrics include unique scans, total scans, and engagement by location, time, and date.
Good to know: Beaconstac organizes card-scan metrics into an intuitive analytics interface. This analytics provide you with a clear view of your scannable business card’s engagement performance so you can optimize your networking efforts as necessary. In addition to obtaining and analyzing first-party data, Beaconstac lets you retarget users on Facebook and Google. This gives you another opportunity to re-engage and convert people who have previously shown interest in your business.
#4 Update your scannable business card as and when required—without reprinting
Another significant advantage of using a scannable business card is that you can update your card details as and when required. Anytime you need to change a phone number, URL, or any other element in your business card, you simply make the updates at the back end.
Once implemented, these back-end updates will instantly reflect on your live QR Code-based scannable business card. This capability lets you avoid the needless AND costly reprints of updating a non-QR-based paper business card.
Top 3 Tips when using a QR Code on a physical business card
#1 Customize your QR Codes to reflect your branding
Make sure the QR Code in your scannable business card is designed in a way that reflects your branding. Add your logo and customize your QR Code’s visual elements, including its background, pattern, and CTA frame, until it mirrors your brand’s visual aspects.
#2 Resist over-customizing the QR Code in your scannable business card
While you might get a plethora of ways to customize and design your business card QR Codes, it is best not to overdo it. An overly customized QR Code can cause scannability issues. For this reason, avoid adding unnecessary tweaks, such as a contrasting background and pattern colors.
Added tip: Scan and test the QR Code before deploying it to ensure it leads to the correct information. Here’s how Beaconstac reports the scannability of a poorly customized QR Code:
#3 Ensure your business card QR Code is in the ideal size and format
A QR Code, either too large or too small, can pose scannability issues. At worst, it can result in a scan failure and, with it, lost business.
Here’s a simple formula to determine your QR Code’s ideal size: QR Code Size (width*length) = Scanning Distance/10 For a 3” x 5” cardstock, the typical scanning distance using a smartphone is 10 cm. Running this distance into the above formula gives us 1. This means your QR Code has to be at least 1 cm – 1.5 cm x 1 cm – 1.5 cm to have excellent scannability at a distance of 10 cm.
Another crucial aspect to consider for scannability is the format you choose when downloading and printing your business card QR Code. A high-quality image format, such as a PNG or JPG, works ideally for most physical mediums.
Method 2: Using a business card QR Code as a digital or virtual business card
Embedding a QR Code on a physical business card constitutes one significant drawback: high printing costs. Depending on the number of business cards you need to print and the complexity of their designs, you might incur a significant amount of card printing expense.
To avoid printing costs altogether, simply use your business card QR Code as a digital business card. You can share this virtual business cardin various paperless and contactless ways—via Google or Apple Wallet, email signature, or social media.
You still leverage all the benefits of a physical, scannable business card—sharing limitless information, capturing card-scan metrics, etc.—but without the massive printing costs.
This method also introduces a number of new benefits unobtainable in the previous method. Let’s dive into these benefits.
Top 3 Benefits of using a digital medium for sharing your scannable business card
#1 Eliminate the high cost of printing paper business cards
The average cost to print paper business cards in the US can go as high as $194 per employee per year. But you can eliminate this printing cost simply by sharing your scannable business card digitally—as opposed to sharing it using a physical medium.
For instance, adding your digital business card to Apple Wallet or Google Wallet eliminates the need to use cardstocks. You can just share your business card directly from your smartphone. This results in completely paperless and contactless networking and steers you clear of card printing expenses that might cost you thousands of dollars annually.
#2 Conduct eco-friendly networking
According to a recent report from Statista, 82% of consumers prefer companies that put people and the planet before their bottom lines. If your target audience belongs to this consumer category, eliminating paper entirely in your networking makes your value proposition significantly more appealing.
Remember, digitally sharing your scannable business card does not involve any form of printing or paper usage. In addition to eliminating card-printing costs, sharing your scannable business card digitally allows you to network in a paperless and eco-friendly manner.
#3 Avoid the tedious process involved in procuring organizational paper business card
The administrative procurement process for paper business cards—from start to finish—takes an average of 30 days. While this 30 day-period can prove lengthy enough, it can further prolong if you find errors on the printed business card batch.
You can simply move away from this tedious procurement process by using a digital medium when creating your scannable business cards. With this method, you can create batches of scannable digital business cards within minutes. This is significantly more efficient than going through lengthy procurement procedures which take weeks to complete.
Pro tip: With the Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AD) and Beaconstac integration, you can automate the generation of digital business cards as soon as a new employee’s details are added to your Azure AD. Then, you can toggle on the auto-send feature on Beaconstac’s dashboard to automate the distribution of digital business cards as soon as they are generated. This means Beaconstac will handle the entire process of creating and distributing digital business cards, so you can shift your time and resources to other crucial employee onboarding tasks.
Top 3 tips when digitally sharing your scannable business card
#1 Leverage Apple or Google Wallet when sharing your scannable business cards
Using Google or Apple Wallet is a contactless and instant way to share your digital business card with your clients. You only need to open your wallet pass, then present the card. Your client then scans the QR Code on your virtual business card to instantly save your contact information on their mobile device.
#2 Ensure your digital business card includes more than just your basic contact details
To increase the networking impact of your digital business card, it must showcase your full value and services—not just your contact details. Through Beaconstac, you can flesh out your profile information and include your branding elements. You can also add every relevant URL, including your portfolio and social media handles.
How do I create a scannable digital business card?
The most efficient way to create, manage, and distribute scannable digital business cards is via a specialized digital business card solution. A dedicated solution gives you access to the full suite of features needed to maximize your networking efforts—regardless of your niche or unique application.
How to generate 2,000 scannable digital business cards in less than 5 minutes
You don’t have to spend hours manually creating hundreds or thousands of scannable digital business cards. Beaconstac’s digital business card generator lets you bulk-create a batch of up to 2,000 unique virtual business cards in less than five minutes.
Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Go to Beaconstac’s dashboard, navigate to the left panel, and click ‘QR Codes’
Step 2: Click ‘Bulk upload’ and choose the ‘Digital Business Card’ campaign
Click the Bulk upload button.
Next, select the Digital Business Card campaign.
Step 3: Download the spreadsheet template and fill it with the required details
You can download either a CSV or an XLSX version of the bulk-upload template.
The information you put on this spreadsheet template will reflect on each scannable digital business card in your batch.
Pro Tip: You can add or delete columns as per your requirements. However, you need to ensure a consistent data arrangement to avoid errors.
Step 4: Upload the populated spreadsheet template
Note: You must upload your spreadsheet in either CSV or XLSX formats.
The platform will begin generating the virtual business card batch after uploading the file. You move on to the next step if there are no data inconsistencies.
Step 5: Customize your batch’s business card QR Code
Note: All visual customizations you make apply to every digital business card QR Code in your batch.
Once you’re done with the customizations, click Finish.
Step 6: Label your batch for easy identification
Adding a label and a color code to your batch will help you easily manage multiple digital business card batches in the future.
After assigning your batch label a suitable name and color, click Apply.
Step 7: You will be notified via email as soon as your batch is ready
Upon clicking Apply, you will get a notification that your bulk request is being processed. This takes 1 to 5 minutes to complete.
Upon completion, you will receive an email informing you that your batch is ready.
Note: The option to bulk-generate scannable digital business cards is available on our Lite plan and above.
Create a scannable business card using the best digital business card solution
Through Beaconstac, you get access to all the features and functionalities you need to create scannable digital business cards—at scale. Once created, share your digital business cards via Apple or Google Wallet, email signatures, or other channels.
This platform offers its full capabilities—card-scan tracking, multiple sharing methods, and extensive card customizations—without forcing you to download an app.
Beaconstac is also safeguarded by industry-leading, enterprise-grade security, ensuring you and your clients operate in a safe and secure environment.
Reuben is a Content Marketer who helps businesses drive audience engagement and conversions through compelling content narratives. Currently, he explores the impact of simple yet innovative business tools, such as digital business cards, on organizational ROI.