The way we connect with others is rapidly evolving. Perhaps the highly infectious coronavirus pandemic accelerated this, but an increasing reliance on technology as a way to interact with our peers was eventually inevitable.
Because of the push for remote-everything in 2020, remote work, online networking, and virtual events became common practice. With that, naturally came the need for a virtual way to exchange contact information. As we head into 2021—despite paper business cards being around for centuries—the act of exchanging one piece of paper for another (and placing it in your wallet, never to be seen again) is quickly becoming antiquated. In its place emerges a rising favorite: the digital business card.
A digital business card (also known as virtual or electronic business cards) is an online means of sharing contact information. Digital business cards can be created on an iPhone, iPad, Android, or computer, and are oftentimes 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 normal 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, 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 contact manager app. HiHello lets you make multiple digital business cards with different information on each card, so 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. Here are a few benefits of going digital.
As long as you have access to your phone or computer, you’ll always have your digital business cards on hand. Because everything is electronic, you’ll never need to worry if your card supply is low and if you need to order more. Digital cards are also extremely 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 edit to your cards at any time, so they are always up-to-date with your latest contact information.
Let’s admit it—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 of receiving them? Talk about wasted paper! If everyone switched from paper to electronic cards, over seven million trees would be saved each year.
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're interested in a premium business card experience, many apps allow for upgrades. HiHello has a Business plan, which allows for more customizations, like custom URLs, colors, QR codes, and more. HiHello for Business is a great and affordable digital business card platform for teams and organizations who are looking to make the switch from paper to digital.
With online meetings and virtual events becoming the new norm, virtual business cards are becoming a staple of everyday life. Digital cards can be shared with anyone, anywhere—simply send the link over 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 will stick around because they’re germ-free and no physical contact is required.
When you receive a paper business card, what do you normally 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 easier and more efficient, which in return can lead to fostering stronger connections.
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:
You can put as much or as little information as you want on your digital business 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 names. 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, check out our blog post, “8 Examples of Digital Business Cards for Jobseekers.”
Include your preferred means of contact on your card, like your your email, phone number, website, WhatsApp, or any other links.
Unless your physical address is crucial to your business, adding a generic region is completely 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. Make your card even more memorable by opting for 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.
If social media is relevant to your business, you should include it on your digital business card. Here are a few different options of social media accounts you can add, as well as 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, your trying to grow your number of LinkedIn connections, or if you’re on the job market.
If you have any video content to show off, place it in the YouTube field! On HiHello, if you want to embed the video in your card turn the “Feature” toggle on, and the video will appear at the bottom of your digital card. 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.
If you’re an engineer or developer, adding your Github to your card is a great way to show your work.
If you’re a business owner, add the link to your Yelp page to your card. This can help drive traffic to your business, and can also encourage your clients or customers to leave five-star reviews!
If your business accepts electronic payments, adding your Venmo, PayPal, CashApp, or Zelle to your card makes it easier for clients or customers to pay you on the spot, instead of them having to search around for your user name, email, or phone number.
If you rely on Calendly for all your scheduling needs, you’re in luck—you can add your Calendly link to your business card! Anyone who taps on your Calendly link will be taken to your calendar, where they can schedule a meeting with you.
Virtual meetings aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Make it so people can easily give you a call by including your Skype handle on your digital business card.
Any streamers around? Include the link to your Twitch or Discord so people can watch your streams!
Various chat apps are popular in different countries. No matter where you live or which chat app you use, there’s a field for it on HiHello.
Include your friend codes and gamer tags on your business card so people can easily connect with you on your favorite gaming consoles. Game on!
You can add birthdays and anniversaries to your cards underneath the “Date” field.
If there’s anything else you want to add to your card, you can write it in a note.
So your card is personalized and ready to be shared, now what? Sharing your digital business card is simple, and can be accomplished in seven different ways:
Every HiHello 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 aim their phone’s camera at your QR code. Not in-person? You can also share your QR code over Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet—hold your code up to your computer's camera and have the other meeting attendee scan it with their phone's camera. When someone scans your code, your digital business card will appear on their phone, and from there they can save your card as a .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.
Text or email your digital business card from within your business card app! On HiHello you can double-tap your card to pull up the send screen, and then select “Email” or “Text.” You’ll be prompted to enter the recipient's name, email or phone number, and an optional message. Please note that if you choose the text method, the recipient will receive a text from a HiHello number, not your number. If you want the recipient to have your phone number, make sure you include it in your business card, or in a message that goes along with the text you send from the app.
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.
HiHello has a feature called Nearby, and it works similarly to Airdrop on iOS. If another HiHello user is near you, you can send them your digital business card—no QR code or link required.
Online meetings aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. 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 (and let’s face it—more and more people are working from home these days). When you create a virtual background, it’ll link to your digital business card and will show your QR code 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:
If you have an iPhone, you can share your business card with a widget. The HiHello widget for iOS 14 (or greater versions) will prominently display your card’s QR code, so anyone can scan your code right from your Home Screen. Learn how to set up the HiHello widget on iOS 14 or greater in the blog post, “How to Add the HiHello Widget on iOS 14.”
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 an email signature that links to your business card. You can learn how to create an email signature in the blog post, “How to Create an Email Signature.”
Learn exactly how to share (and how to receive!) a digital business card with the following guides:
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.
This article includes modifications and was originally published on July 21, 2020.