Do you still have a Rolodex on your desk for filing business cards? Stacks of cards in a filing cabinet? A case or wallet full of them? Each of those cards represents a potential lead, sale, or at least a useful connection. Data shows that around 1 in 12 can do just that.
If you don’t digitize your cards, you’ll probably never get in touch with the person again. With a good scanning app, digitizing business cards is simple, even fun. It lets you get rid of the Rolodex and the card piles. And if you’re typing your cards into an Excel sheet or use some other 1990s solution, your life will get much easier.
Card Scanning Apps
There are many card-reader apps on the market, and they’re not all the same. Most use some form of optical character recognition (OCR) technology to read your card. Some add another layer of confirmation – either human or automated.
OCR is fast, but it’s not perfect. With basic OCR, there will be unread characters, which leaves cleaning up. On top of that, if you have fields of information, the app needs some form of intelligence to distinguish them, make sense of them, and organize them.
The user scans a card with their smartphone. The app separates the information into individual fields, such as name, organization, e-mail address, etc. The process creates a database of records that then becomes searchable.
Some apps simply scan cards and add them to your smartphone’s address book. Some connect to the user’s customer relationship management (CRM) system like Salesforce or HubSpot. Some offer cloud backup. A few (like Eight) are more properly called contact management apps. They are fully cloud-based and create a central database and network for an entire organization.
But Aren’t Business Cards Obsolete?
Simple answer: no. Business cards are still widely used in many countries and throughout Asia. Many Americans still use them as well.
However, some businesspeople think they’re both outdated and unneeded. In fact, a study done in 2018 found that 88% of all paper cards distributed are tossed out within a few days.
However, those who use them feel they still play a vital role in business. The most common reason they give is that exchanging cards adds a personal touch to a business greeting. And it does.
But interestingly, that same 2018 study found that business cards have a 12% conversion rate. That may not sound like much. But consider that conversion rates for website landing pages average only 2.35%.
When you look at the numbers, it’s clear that all those tossed business cards represent lost opportunities.
Even in the digital age, business cards can be more valuable than many people realize. If you’re not being proactive with those business cards, you’re throwing money away.
10 Reasons to Digitize Your Business Cards
Not convinced? Maybe this will help:
- Digitizing is instant and lasting. Just use your smartphone to snap a photo of a business card. That contact will remain in your database (and on your radar) indefinitely as part of your active network.
- Digitized information keeps you in your contact’s mind. A business card is easy to lose. But when you exchange digitized profiles with another person, you are instantly added to their network (and they to yours).
- Digital profiles have unlimited space. You can include much more information with a digitized profile. For example, you can embed video, add external links to a contact’s LinkedIn and social media profiles, or include a link to their portfolio. Digital cards offer an enriched profile of who they are and what they do.
- Entries are searchable. Once your contacts are digitized, you can search them by any field, and some apps allow you to add notes and tags. Finding the contact you want is fast and easy.
- Digitizing contacts makes scheduling and follow-up convenient. Some apps sync with your Outlook, Google, or iCloud calendar. Once you’ve scanned a contact, scheduling meetings and reminders is easy to do from within your reader app.
- Digitizing can create full networks. Some card readers connect to a CRM and a central database. Each contact you enter becomes a resource for everyone in your organization. And contacts aren’t lost if an employee leaves the company.
- A digitized system can update automatically. Let’s face it—your Rolodex won’t update itself. If you’re like most people, you probably have a lot of contacts who have changed jobs several times since you first filed their card. With some contact management apps, if a user in your network changes their contact information, it’s instantly updated for all users.
- Communication is easy and efficient. Many apps allow you to communicate with any contact via text (SMS), e-mail, LinkedIn, and more, from within the app.
- Digitizing is perfect for trade shows. A card-reading app is a must-have at trade shows and networking events. You can quickly scan a stack of business cards on the spot. You won’t need to transcribe them all when you return to the office.
- Digitizing lets you create a network designed just for business. If you’re like most people, you have hundreds of contacts on LinkedIn and Facebook, but how many of them are useful to you? It’s easy to lose track of business contacts when your business, casual, and personal contacts are all grouped together on the same platform. Again, this can result in missed opportunities.A card-digitizing app like Eight is designed for business and focuses on business contacts. It allows the user to create rich profiles for those contacts by adding relevant links, video, and information. You can track relationships and even coordinate data with your CRM.
So, are you ready to digitize your business cards? Or are you tired of apps that give you junky scans?
Scan with a snap. Create rich profiles. Connect instantly. Communicate efficiently. Update automatically. Even create a robust social and professional network. That’s what Eight can do.
Digitize that Rolodex and put those cards to work for you.