I recently read an article that showcased 30 of the most creative business cards ever. The piece on boredpanda.com opened by stating that “A good business card definitely won’t ensure your success but it sure can help”; it then paraded images of the 30 clever card designs that either represent a profession in some aesthetic way, or that have a design quality that would encourage you to keep it close by. The narrative goes on to say that first impressions make a difference, but admits that “many of us are guilty of accepting a business card out of politeness and then just throwing them away.”
I’ve collected hundreds of business cards from colleagues, customers and various potential supply-chain partners over the years, and whilst I’ve certainly never intentionally disposed of any, I have managed to lose a few along the way; usually, frustratedly looking for them soon afterwards.
The original social media
Designcrowd recently published a survey of US businesses, almost 90% of whom, maintain that they exchange business cards when meeting someone for the first time and, it seems, a great deal of emphasis is placed on making business cards stand out. The good old-fashioned business card is not going to disappear any time soon; in fact Designcrowd says the number of projects on their website for creating business cards grew by more than 350% in 2013. Whilst a standout business card can, undoubtedly help to make that memorable first impression, the fact that two thirds of the survey’s respondents said that they then enter the contact details into a smart-phone almost straight away, begs the question: “why not simply exchange a business card via your smart-phone?” After all, it’s all about the contact details, and not the design, right?
Whenever anyone offers me their business card, I’m always reminded of the scene in the movie American Psycho. Christian Bale’s lead character, Patrick Bateman and a group of his Wall Street cronies, sit around a boardroom table and compare their latest business cards (fresh from the print-shop), drooling over “subtle off-white paper tones, raised lettering and even killer water-marks”.
But, no matter how many business cards we exchange, and no matter how innovative, beautifully crafted or ingenious the design, the holder’s contact information is something that can only ever be guaranteed as accurate, at time of print.
If only business cards were dynamic
Have you ever swapped your business card or contact details with someone, (making a great, first impression at the same time), only to find that by the time you attempt to make contact, they have moved to another division, changed employer, switched mobile numbers or even moved abroad? Losing contact with a potential prospect or business associate this way is disappointing and I suspect that many of us have at least one tale of the one that got away.
Wouldn’t it be great if business cards could instantly update themselves (whether they’re still in the box, in your wallet or even the Rolodex on your desk), if any of the contact information were to change? Imagine how much easier it would be for us all to stay in touch, even if we change job, address or phone number!
What if you could create a business card to share contact information with someone, based purely on the type of relationship you have (or plan to have) with them? Imagine being able to keep on top of the people you’ve exchanged that particular business card with.
How about if you could display your business card to prospects or potential business contacts that may be searching online for people like you? Imagine being notified that, say, a stockbroker in New York or the Creative Director of an advertising agency has “grabbed” your contact information; what a great opportunity to make a new warm contact.
If business cards could be exchanged via a smart-phone, how much time and money could the admin department of a large enterprise save on procuring printed business cards for ‘000s of employees at local, regional or even national level?
All this is about to change
Swap Once is the brand new online business card exchange that’s destined to become an everyday part of business networking activity for individuals and professionals alike.
Anytime you change your contact details, Swap Once will automatically notify all your connections that your business card has been updated; you only ever need to swap your business card with someone once to be able to stay in touch! How smart is that?
Visit SwapOnce.com and sign up to create different Swap Cards (your online business cards) for different purposes. Download the app from Apple and Android app stores onto your mobile. The app is only available to individual users right now, sign up is FREE and you can start building your dynamic address book straight away. Inviting others to connect with you is easy and you can import contacts via your Outlook, Yahoo, GMail account or from a CSV file. Business packages will be online early in the New Year (2015) and a range of affordable subscription models are designed to make it perfect for organisations of all type and scale.
As people are spending more and more time managing every aspect of their work and social life on their smart-phone or tablet; having a business card in the form of an app suits individuals and business professionals alike. There will always be demand for the physical business card, and with each different Swap Card you create, the app generates a unique QR code that you can reproduce in print; making it easy to exchange your contact details online and integrate Swap Once into your everyday networking efforts.
When you log in, the Swap Once dashboard makes it easy to check for any new connection requests, contact updates or notifications from other Swap Once users. You can create and look up lots of different contact lists, and the powerful insights feature lets you view your connection profiles and helps with statistics-based marketing,
You can also manage who sees any of your Swap Cards by adjusting your preferred security levels; you can even revoke your Swap Cards in the event that you no longer wish a connection to have your contact details.
The product road map includes features for integrating Swap Once with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and for branding each of your Swap Cards with the logo of your company, social/sports club or association.
So, every time someone hands you their business card, tell them about Swap Once and stay in touch with them for ever. You’ll be glad you did.
Is this the World’s smartest business card? – I certainly think so.
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