There’s been a massive push to make all things digital over the past two years. Everything from networking conferences to baby showers now has a virtual option, and in the United States, over 4.7 million work people remotely at least half the time. Because of the ever-increasing reliance on technology, routines that generally took place offline are now making their way to our phones and computers, including a practice that’s been around for centuries: exchanging business cards.
Digital business cards gained traction in 2021 and are taking 2022 by storm. The days of swapping paper for another are over. They’re harmful to the environment and outdated. Digital business cards are emerging as the tech-forward favorite for individuals and businesses alike.
So, what exactly is a digital business card? This guide will cover everything you need to know, including the benefits of going paperless, how to make and share electronic cards, digital cards for small to midsize businesses and enterprise companies, and more.
A digital business card (also known as virtual business cards, electronic business cards, and digital visiting cards) is an online means of sharing contact information. You can create a digital business card on an iPhone, iPad, Android, or computer, and they’re often more affordable than their paper counterparts. Like typical business cards, electronic business cards can be customized, designed, and shared with anyone. There are no space constraints with digital cards—you can add as much or as little information to your card as you’d like. In addition to your standard contact information (like your name, company, email, and phone number), you can enrich your card with a photo or video, a logo, social media profiles, badges, PDFs, and more.
There are several digital business card apps out there, and you’ll need to find the one that works the best for you. We recommend HiHello—HiHello is a free digital business card, business card scanner, and smart address book app. HiHello lets you make multiple digital business cards with different information on each card so that you can have a card for your work contacts, one for clients or customers, and one for your friends. Unlike other business card apps, with HiHello, you can share your card with anyone, even if they don’t have the app.
There are several reasons why virtual business cards are the way to go. They’re convenient, eco-friendly, affordable, contactless, and lead to better follow-ups.
As long as you have access to your phone, computer, or Apple Watch, you’ll never be without your business card. Because everything is online, you’ll never need to worry if your card supply is low and if you need to order more. Digital cards are also highly flexible. Did you switch jobs, get a new phone number, or simply make a typo? That can be a costly mistake with paper cards. Digital business cards allow you to edit your cards at any time, so they are always up-to-date with your latest contact information.
Paper business cards aren’t the most environmentally conscious way to exchange contact information. Did you know that over 90% of business cards are thrown away within one week? Switching from paper to electronic cards would save over seven million trees each year. Several UN Climate Change Conference 2021 attendees even used HiHello’s digital business cards at the COP26 conference!)
Digital business cards are often more affordable than their paper counterparts. (In HiHello’s case, they’re free!) There’s no need to pay hundreds of dollars a year on paper cards that are going to get thrown away almost immediately—save that money and reallocate it to another aspect of your business, like your marketing budget.
If you are interested in a premium business card experience, many apps allow upgrades. HiHello offers multiple digital business card subscriptions with premium features like custom URLs, colors, QR codes, and more. HiHello Business is an excellent and affordable digital business card platform for teams and organizations looking to switch from paper to digital, but more on that later.
When you receive a paper business card, what do you usually do with it? Most people will toss it in their purse or wallet, where it’s forgotten and, when found, almost immediately thrown out. When you share a digital business card, it doesn’t get lost in the oblivion of old receipts, gum wrappers, and hair ties. Digital business cards go directly into the receiver’s inbox, so your new contact can easily integrate it (and you!) into their workflow. Virtual cards make following up more manageable and more efficient, which can lead to fostering more robust connections.
Now that online meetings and virtual events are the new norms, virtual business cards are a staple of everyday life. You can share digital business cards with anyone; simply send the link via email, text, or social media. During a Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet video call, you can hold up your QR code, and anyone in attendance can scan your code and will have instant access to your card. Even when in-person gatherings resume, digital business cards stick around because they’re germ-free, and no physical contact is required.
Making a digital business card is simple and can be done within minutes. First, you’ll need to download a digital business card app. Once you have the app on your iPhone or Android device, you’re ready to get started with your first virtual card. With HiHello, you can also create a digital business card on your computer—simply create an account on (or log in to) the HiHello website, and you’ll be able to make and edit your cards, as well as view your contacts.
Once you’re ready to create your first digital business card, use the following guides to help you get started:
Wondering what to put on a business card? Digital business cards make it easy—you can put as much or as little information as you want on your card and you’ll never run out of space. (No more trying to pack in as much information as you can—while still trying to make it look somewhat presentable—on a 3.5x2 piece of paper!) When it comes to what exactly to put on a card, here are a few things that you should always include:
On HiHello, you can add more than your first and last name. Add any prefixes or suffixes, as well as any accreditations, your preferred name (for example, a nickname or the name you go by professionally, like Dr. Jones), or a maiden name. You can also include your pronouns on your digital card, so people will know how to refer to you.
If you’re currently employed, include your title and company name on your virtual card. If you are currently looking for a new role, you can even use your digital business card during your job hunt.
Include your preferred means of contact on your cards, like your email, phone number, website, WhatsApp, or any other links.
Unless your physical address is crucial to your business, adding a generic region is entirely acceptable on business cards (for example, “San Francisco Bay Area” or “New York, New York”).
Adding a picture or video to your card is important—it will help connect the “name to face” for your contacts. If you have one of HiHello’s premium plans, you can make your card even more memorable by adding a live photo or video on your business card instead of a static picture!
Add your company's logo to your business card. You can either upload your own from your files or Photos or—on HiHello—you can search for a logo directly within the app.
People in highly regulated industries like real estate or financial services pay attention! With a HiHello Professional subscription or higher, you can add credential and affiliation badges to your card.
You can add any marketing or sales collateral PDFs to your business card with a HiHello Professional subscription or higher.
On HiHello, you can choose from any of the ten colors that come with the free app. Premium accounts give you access to any color on the color wheel, and you can customize both the card design and buttons.
Adding your website to your business card is crucial. Not only does your website give your customers information about you and your business, but it can also drive sales and leads.
If social media is vital to you or your business, you should include it on your digital business card. Here are a few different options of social media accounts you can add and a few tips and tricks.
Most people are on Twitter these days. If you’re active on Twitter, adding your Twitter handle can help you grow your online following by including it on your virtual card.
If you’re in the creative industry, including your Instagram account on your digital card could be a way to show off your portfolio to potential clients.
Adding your personal or company’s Facebook page to your business card can be a great way to stay engaged and connected with your audience.
LinkedIn is great to include on your card if you rely on it for your business, you're trying to grow your number of LinkedIn connections, or if you’re in the job market.
If you have any video content to show off, place it in the YouTube or Vimeo fields! HiHello will even let you embed a YouTube video on your cards with a subscription. Featuring a video is a great way to further engage the people you meet. If you’re a realtor, perhaps consider adding a video of a virtual house tour. Working on pitching a new product? Include a marketing promo video on your card!
If you’re a content creator, influencer, social media manager, or are simply making a digital business card to give to your friends, add a little spice to your card by adding your Snapchat and TikTok handles. As always, be mindful of your audience—only include these if they pertain to your business.
Pinterest is often an afterthought when adding social media to your business card. However, in 2021 Pinterest reported having 444 million monthly active users. That said, if you have a Pinterest account and it’s relevant to your business, absolutely include it on your card!
HiHello supports several different fields and is constantly adding more. Currently, additional fields include:
Your card is personalized and ready to be shared; now what? Sharing your digital business card is simple and can be accomplished in several ways, like using a QR code, text, email, social media, Apple Watch, Siri, and more.
HiHello is the most versatile business card app for card sharing and offers nine different ways to send cards. Once you have a digital business card, use the style (or styles) that work best for you and your business. Here are the nine different ways you can share your card with HiHello:
HiHello is a QR generator and reader app, and every digital business card has a unique QR code. If you’re networking with someone in-person and want to share your card with them, have them scan your QR code. (New to QR codes? Simply have them aim their phone’s camera at your QR code, and your card will appear). When someone scans your code, your digital business card will appear on their phone, and from there, they can save your card as a Virtual Contact File (.VCF). Your code never expires, so if you save your business card’s QR code to your phone or computer, you can print it on any marketing collateral. When scanned, it will always link back to your digital business card.
If your brand is important to your business and a QR code is a primary way to share your business card, consider subscribing to HiHello Professional or HiHello Business. Both plans allow you to insert your logo into your QR code for optimal branding.
HiHello lets you text or email your digital business card from within the app. Double-tap your card to pull up the Send screen and select “Email” or “Text.” You’ll be prompted to enter the recipient's name, email, or phone number and an optional message, and then you can send your card.
If you’re networking from a distance, you can share your digital business card by copying the link to your card and then paste the link in an email, text message, social media post, and other means of communication.
If you plan on sending the link to your card often, you may want to think about upgrading to HiHello Professional or HiHello Business. With either plan, you can customize the link to your card. The link will always begin with the prefix “hihello.me/hi/” but you can customize anything that goes after the “/.”
If you have an Apple Watch, you can share your card on the go with HiHello’s Apple Watch app. This great feature allows you to share your digital business card wherever you are, even if you don’t have your phone on you.
Widgets are a great way to share your business card without opening the app. HiHello’s widgets will prominently display your card’s QR code so that anyone can scan your code right from your Home Screen. Read the following guides to learn how to add the HiHello widgets on iPhone and Android:
Did you know that iMessage has apps? HiHello has an iMessage app, so if you have an iPhone, you can easily send your digital business card to someone using iMessage. Follow this guide to learn how to send your card with iMessage:
Next time you’re on a Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet call for a networking event, a job interview, or a meeting with a potential customer, use a HiHello virtual background. Virtual backgrounds are great to use when networking online—they look professional, hide any background distractions, and keep your home private. (Let’s face it—more and more people are working from home these days). When you create a virtual background, the background will link to your digital business card, and a QR code will appear in the upper right corner. Anyone on the call can scan your QR code with their phone and will be able to see your digital business card.
Learn how to create and add a virtual background to Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet with the following guides:
On HiHello, you can use your digital business card to create professional email signatures. With multiple templates to choose from, HiHello’s email signature generator will allow you to easily create a professional email signature that links to your business card. Not sure where to begin? Learn how to create an email signature.
If you have an NFC tag, you can transform your HiHello digital business card into an NFC card. (Unfamiliar with NFC? Read on!)
A new type of business card to enter the market is a Near-Field Communication (NFC) business card. You can share your business card with a single tap with an NFC business card. While they allow you to send contact information electronically, NFC-only business cards have a few drawbacks.(For example, NFC cards require you to carry around an additional piece of hardware at all times in order to share your card). While this can be burdensome to some people, others like the idea of tap-and-go technology.
If you’re interested in using an NFC business card, we recommend staying away from NFC-only apps because of their price point. With HiHello, you can create an NFC business card for free. All you need is an NFC tag, which you can buy on Amazon for a fraction of a typical NFC business card.
Digital business cards are becoming a standard replacement to paper business cards within organizations. While there are a few platforms that provide business cards to companies, HiHello is our top pick. HiHello is the leading digital business card provider for teams and companies of all sizes, from SMBs to enterprise companies.
If you’re interested in learning more about digital cards for teams, fill out this form, and one of HiHello’s Account Executives will be in touch.
HiHello is a free digital business card and contact manager app designed to help you curate and grow your network. If you’re ready to make the change from paper business cards to digital, sign up for HiHello for free on iOS, Android, or desktop.
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This article includes modifications and was originally published on July 21, 2020.