How to choose a digital business card

Digital business cards are growing fast in popularity. Driven by ‘going paperless’ strategies inside of companies they offer a great opportunity to implement a powerful digital sales tool for your teams. But with lots of offerings popping up in the market, what are the key factors that you need to look out for with digital business cards when making your choice? At GoUpscale we work with wealth and investment industry organisations and these decision factors are especially critical for our client’s industries. Some are quite literally legal requirements!

Here are our top 5 factors you need to consider before choosing a digital business card provider.

1. What is the data security and data privacy offered?

Before you get too deep into the websites of business card providers there are two key considerations you must check-off.  

If your company is in a highly regulated industry, such as financial services, it is a requirement that your data inside of the software is ring-fenced from any other organisation’s data. It’s also sensible, no matter what industry you are in, to ensure your data is private to your organisation only.  

If you use digital business cards then the software will collect sensitive data. Not just about you and your team, but potentially about your contacts too.  Where is that data kept?

Well, in most digital business card companies the data is kept in one cloud.  All the data. That means your data, the next company’s data and all of the client company data that the digital business card provider is working with. In one cloud. All mixed up.

The data is often not private either, meaning that the digital business card provider can see inside your software and access all of your data. That doesn’t seem right to us but that’s the common retail software model.

GoUpscale tip: Make sure your digital business card provider can not see inside your software. And make sure that the data that you have inside of the software is stored in a cloud that is only for you.

There are few, or no, retail digital business card providers who offer this level of data security and privacy. Why? It’s costly to set up, and most of their client audience, one person clients or small-time entrepreneurs, aren’t concerned about these issues (or don’t realise the risks!).

For those businesses who are concerned, the data privacy and security offered by GoUpscale’s Smartcards is a key feature and foundation of what we offer. 

2. How do digital business cards drive two-way communication?

With a traditional paper business card, our research shows that 22 out of 23 get thrown in the trash without ever having been saved in an address book or CRM. A massive waste - both environmental and for sales prospecting!

With digital business cards it must be better? Well not necessarily and here is what you must consider.

When you meet a prospect and or hand over your business card to someone for the first time, how can you increase the chances that they will contact you in the future, or indeed that they will give you their own contact details (as many clients don’t even hand over a business card)?

We see many digital business card solutions that show the recipient a list of contact details.  This is useless as there is no impetus for the recipient to ever revisit and reach out. It’s simply presenting the same lack of engagement challenges from paper cards but a digital format.

The most popular method of digital business cards is also flawed - that is ‘add to contacts’. This is the functionality that allows the recipient to save the sales person’s details into their phone address book. This is a very ineffective sales method. Why?

Firstly because more and more people do not wish to clog up their address book just because they have met you. This is very common amongst your contacts!

Secondly there are user experience challenges that cause at least a third of recipients who opt for this route to never actually save your details. Take Apple for example: In the heat of the moment of meeting someone, clicking add to contacts, many people forget to ‘create a new contact’. They think this screen already has saved the contact - but it hasn’t!

Thirdly, adding to contacts is NOT engagement. It has no guarantee they will remember you tomorrow let alone ever contact you again.

So what’s the solution to make better sales connections?

The key is to give the recipient the ability to foster an immediate two-way connection. To send you a message, to connect with you on LinkedIn. That way they are not only on a journey of amazement when they engage with your digital business card (which is always a great driver of client engagement) but it also enables you to say, ‘Click there and send me a quick message’.

GoUpscale tip: Fostering a two-way connection in the business card handover is a total game-changer that can lead to significant increases in prospect sales conversion.  

With Smartcards, your recipients can WhatsApp, Line, telegram, WeChat, Facebook Message you and more - with a great user experience that has minimal taps and minimal typing. So in moments from meeting someone not only have they messaged you, and by definition have your contact details, but you also have their contact details too, and far more powerful than an address book entry it’s on a communication channel that they have chosen like WhatsApp.

By the way, Smartcards also have ‘add to address book’. We just don’t think it’s the most powerful option to steer your recipients towards.

Read the next point to understand more context around ‘impetus’ to connect.

3. Does the user experience suit my brand?

Many businesses have high end brands. Brands they are proud of and brands that fit a certain client market.  Cookie cutter cheap digital business card designs not only detract from the brand but are not even allowed by the brand police who sit in the marketing department. When a recipient arrives at a digital business card page it must adhere to the brand positioning of the company, it must impress the recipient who is likely a prospective client or partner, and it must provide comfort, reassurance and aspiration in variable quantities. 

Retail business card solutions usually design their digital business card pages for the audience that we defined earlier - the one man band, the mom and pop business - not for the enterprise grade organisation.  That means the emphasis on brand is very diluted, and the flexibility with which the page can be manipulated design-wise is quite constrained. 

Another part of the brand experience is the ability to showcase brand material on your digital business card page.  Elevating the recipient experience beyond just contact functionality, digital business cards become so much more powerful if you can showcase your presentations and current sales and marketing collateral. This transforms the page into a sales springboard and drives far greater impetus for the recipient to engage with you beyond that first hand shake.

GoUpscale tip: Ensure your brand can be well represented on your digital business card page with flexible branding configurations.  Whilst showcasing the user is important in digital business cards, showcasing the brand is just as important and is an important factor in brand memorability. Smartcards give brands a high end canvas to showcase their true colours AND enable users to show their key content on the page too. So when you meet a new prospect the digital business card experience goes beyond simply contacts, it’s a place where recipients can engage with relevant content too. Even better, the central team can then view engagement data with the content and analyse content performance!

4. Do I have adequate control over my team’s digital business cards?

This is a really important and frequently missed consideration.

Whether you are a 5 man team or a 5,000 strong-team, there may be a defining philosophy to maintain quality control across your sales and marketing.  That means going beyond every user having the flexibility to update their digital business card profiles but being able to manage this centrally.

Allowing individual users to populate their own digital business cards may be fine for some but not others. It opens the door to manual error, and deviation from brand guidelines, let alone potential abuse.  Whilst branding is usually at a company level, it’s things like the contact details that users can choose to show that may be controversial.  Many organisations large and small simply won't allow it, indeed they are not even allowed for clients to be contacting their sales team via unmonitored channels. 

The same goes for content.  Showcasing content is an amazing feature if your digital business card allows it, as covered in the previous point, but it is open to manual error and manipulation.  

In many cases the organisation does want to rely on, or burden, the sales person to have to update their content on their digital business card, so fixing it centrally across user cards makes sense.

Central control is really important. The effectiveness of digital business cards, and therefore their ultimate adoption and success, can really depend on it. Let alone that it might be a business risk to not centrally control various elements.

Find out from digital business card providers what they offer in this area. Especially if you have aspirations of your digital business card user numbers growing in the future.

GoUpscale tip: Central management is key and allocating a small group of admin users (it could be just one person) to . Smartcards have been built with this flexibility in mind because that’s exactly what our clients have asked for.

From the perspective of users it allows you to activate and deactivate users with a click - important in the context of leavers and new arrivals. For communication channels it allows you to centrally control what your team shows as their contact channels. You may not wish your team member to include his or her personal Instagram! But you may wish there to be a small set of channels like Email, SMS, WhatsApp and LinkedIn for them to populate.  And content. When it comes to showcasing content, marketing teams love the ability to control what is shown on user’s digital business cards rather than relying on them to manually update themselves.  That new quarterly thought leadership piece, that new campaign landing page – these can all be mastered centrally.

5. What else can the digital business card provide?

Most digital business card providers are just that - they just do digital business cards. Perhaps they have raised lots of money from investors with the plan of one day soon everyone having digital business cards. Perhaps they have pivoted from printing paper cards. In this fifth key consideration we ask you to have a look at what else the digital business card company is doing. What other services do they provide? 

Why is this important? It provides us with two important insights.

Firstly in a world where we are inundated with technology solutions, the winners are very often the ones who are offering a range of solutions, not just one isolated product. Having yet another technology provider for one isolated area of your business is more money and more hassle. It’s also a risk if that provider disappears in months and years to come. And in the world of digital business card providers there is only so much to go around, there will be winners and losers if they are only offering one product.

Secondly it speaks volumes about the digital business card provider if they understand their context in the sales cycle and offer other complimentary products.  Not only does that show a stronger business model but it also helps  you with being able to grow into more suitable sales relevant features with the same provider. There’s more compatibility amongst your solutions, more solutions with the same user experience and design thinking.

And this is especially powerful with integrations into existing systems that you already use. If you have a CRM like Salesforce or a campaign marketing system like Hubspot it makes so much more business sense to adopt a digital business card solution that can connect with these and that can actually do MORE with these systems, not just through a few new contacts over the fence.

GoUpscale tip: Look for digital business card solution providers who can do more than just digital business cards and who can integrate their solutions with other software that you use. It’s going to save you time and money, not to mention derive more business benefits such as productivity gains.

Smartcards are just that. GoUpscale are sales engagement solution providers of which digital business cards are just one solution in the sales lifecycle.  We are experts in sales engagement and so all our products are united in their drive to engage more prospects and clients.  But also integrations to other systems are at the backbone of what we offer so that our customers can continue using their core solutions. We offer integrations to hundreds of software solutions in the market.

There are other considerations too, from support, pricing models, QR code flexibility and more. Look out for our other posts that will cover these topics.

So, what’s the next step?

If your business is serious about engaging your prospects and customers in the most effective and secure ways then these top five considerations are crucial for choosing your digital business card provider.

With a backdrop of going paperless and improving environmental sensitivity in our business processes digital business cards are going to become the norm across the world, replacing their paper based grandparents. But the environment and sustainability is only one dimension of opportunity for you to capture and the decision to migrate to digital cards carries huge sales engagement opportunities.

At GoUpscale we have built our Smartcard offering for organisations large and small who need what we call enterprise grade solutions. That means solutions that are robust, can scale as you do, offer security, deliver team controls, provide data analytics and enable higher sales performance.

Smartcards power over 100 organisations today, including many multinationals.

Find out more about our Smartcards HERE and order today or book a call with us HERE to discuss further.

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