Virtual business cards from Google - is this the future?
Anyone who’s ever read the 1991 novel (or seen the movie), ‘American Psycho’ will know the consideration and social standing that seemingly goes into a quality business card. In it, the central character and his colleagues compare their business cards and it plays a crucial part in distinguishing their hierarchy in the group. Fast forward 30 years and things are pretty different.
Our business cards are used as a fast transaction of information rather than a means to establish ourselves within our market.
Is the traditional business card a dying art?
Many of us still have business cards to hand out at networking events or conferences. We distribute them to potential clients and interesting people we meet. The idea is that we’ll then catch up or connect online. But when you take one from someone else, do you use it? Or do you never look at it again? An increasing number of people argue that the cost of designing, printing and distributing business cards is an unnecessary expense in the modern, digital world. And when we say expense, we mean both financially and environmentally.
However, there are a large number of people that believe a quality business card gives off a more professional impression when meeting people face to face. Arguably, emails can get lost in spam folders, whereas a business card is forever. In addition, business cards can give a taste of your overall brand that you might not necessarily get from someone’s LinkedIn profile.
With the introduction of virtual business cards, will there still be a need for the pocket size profile?
Seeing this shift in business introductions, Google has combined the traditional with the modern. They’ve recognised the mobile nature of networking (both physically and digitally) and designed a platform to accommodate the need for speed.
By simply using an app on your phone, you can bring the taste of your brand to your prospective clients through a digital medium; ultimately saving on printed resources. But Google has gone one step further. The platform they’ve created allows you to view a dashboard of analytics including your main link clicks, profile clicks, and hits on your social media profiles.
And you needn’t worry about falling into people’s email spam. Your virtual business card can be shared by direct SMS message with your prospect; creating a direct line from the off. The introduction is still by all accounts transactional. But you know you’re where you need to be: on the mobile device of the person you’d like to talk to.
What are the benefits of a virtual business card?
Firstly, you’ll never run out. You’ll never get to a networking event and realise that you’ve left them at home (I think we can all relate to that). You’ll always have your most up to date business cards at the touch of a button. Secondly, you’ll save valuable funds on design and delivery.
Additionally, we’re all trying to make a positive difference to our environment in whatever way we can. Obviously, this paperless method of sharing your information saves on valuable resources. You’ll no longer have a stack of old business cards piling up on your desk only to head straight for the recycling bin when a fresh batch comes in.
Could now be the right time to make the change?
Particularly in more traditional industries, making the move to a virtual business card can be a big shift in mindset. In some ways, it feels like a commitment to modernisation. We’ll soon see how successful Google’s virtual business card programming is. As we speak, there’s currently a trial in India whereby Google are adding a virtual business card to their search engine to showcase potentially small businesses who don’t currently have a website built. But remember, the rules around Google verification have changed. You can read more about this in our previous blog.
What do you think? Are you staying old school or are you taking your business introductions digital?