For as long as I have been networking, I have used traditional business cards. Sexy, custom designed rectangles that fit inside any wallet. But as my venture into the digital world began to flourish, so too did the thirst for streamlining and digitising every part of my world.
Unfortunately, business cards have been left out of the loop for years. Many have tried to create sharable online versions and failed, but now companies like Cardcloud are working* on changing that.
How it works: When you meet someone at an event, pop out your mobile and open the iPhone App (or the website for Android etc). Then simply enter their email address and click send. They will now receive an HTML email (in the shape of a business card) and downloadable VCF with all your links and contact information. *I should point out that Cardcloud's app is Beta and you cannot create/modify a card via the app just yet - for now, you have to use the website.
Example of a card received via email (all links and icons are click-able)
Now this isn't just a plug for Cardcloud (however I do think what they are working on is superb), it's about the concept of the digital business card. While I do think digital business cards have a place (definitely in the future), they are merely strong additions to the business card world - not killers of the physical version.
As with all digital versions of a physical product, there are pros and cons. Here's a simple run through of them to which you can draw your own conclusions.
- Often, you will be the only one in the room using them (Unique & Memorable)
- Get someones email address and send them your card straight away (avoiding the need to collect business cards)
- Change your details in a second for free (instead of ordering new business cards each time)
- They're FREE
- Click-able links
- Accessible by checking email from anywhere (vs one physical card left at home)
- Recipients don't need to have the app installed
- Cardcloud saves geo-location for where you met the person
- Cardcloud saves a list of who you sent your cards to
- Save a tree
- You have to open an app and get an email address (Slower speed than handing over a piece of paper)
- If you can't access the net, you can't access your cards
- Design-wise it's not as sexy as a custom card (future feature to be implemented)
- You are stuck with their layout
- They contain images (which are automatically blocked in most clients - looks a bit messy)
- The big Get Cardcloud button underneath is very distracting*
- You have to make your card online instead of in-app (future feature)
- If you spell an email address wrong, they won't get your card
- Some people may freak out
- Constant education for people who don't know about it**
*Distracting as it may be, sending a business card and introducing them to a new tech product at the same time is a win for making a memorable impression. **That education is often worth it once they receive the card and start using the service themselves.
Overall, Cardcloud has a long way to go to supporting the majority and wiping out most of the cons. But early on, I am already finding great benefits of using such a service. The day after I sent a few from a networking event, I had many emails thanking me for the meet up, a few new followers via my Twitter and Facebook profiles and some even visited my website and read my latest posts - which is a much quicker response than I have ever had via traditional business cards.
I recommend you try them out for yourself and you like the service please let me know! You can also let them know via @getcardcloud.