When meeting any potential new customers, it's essential to let them know who you are and what your business does. You'll also want to make an impact so prospects remember you after the meeting. A business card helps you do both. It provides visual confirmation of your name and business details and is 'very impactful', according to 68% of small business owners.
In this article, we'll talk about what business cards are and how your business will benefit from using them.
What is a business card?
A business card is a small printed card containing business information for a company or individual. Also known as a visiting card or calling card, it usually includes the name of a business and its logo (sometimes with a strapline). It states the name of the person it belongs to, their job title, and business contact details, e.g. address, phone number, email and web address.
Calling cards are helpful for formal introductions with prospective customers, suppliers or stakeholders who haven't interacted with your business much before. They're typically given out at first-time meetings, conferences, exhibitions, brick-and-mortar stores, and business premises.
The size of a business card is similar to that of a credit card, so it can conveniently fit into wallets or pockets. They're easy (and cost-effective) to design, print and distribute compared to other marketing materials. They provide a strong visual impact, boost credibility and look professional, helping to create a great impression.
How to send a business card via SMS
While printed business cards are still very much used, many first-time communications now happen digitally. Hence the concept of 'virtual' business cards is becoming increasingly popular.
Let's first look at what a virtual calling card is, and then we'll explain how to share one with your target audience.
What is a virtual business card?
A virtual business card is simply a digital version of your calling card. It's viewable on a device screen instead of a printed piece of card. The best way to share a virtual card is via mobile, as the recipient can easily add it to their phone's 'Contacts' app.
Usually, virtual calling cards are sent as a vCard in .vcf file format (Virtual Contact File). When received, it opens up directly inside the Contacts app and can also be added to Outlook or other compatible mail client address books. They can also be sent in other formats, such as image files (JPEG or PNG) – you'd do this if you're designing your card using online design tools like Canva or Illustrator.
The process of sending business cards virtually
There are two ways to text message business cards – via an attachment or link sharing.
Sending as an attachment
You can attach your contact file to your text message, just like a document or media file. Attachments must be in the form of a .vcf file or an image, as mentioned above. You can also create a business card in Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail and export it to a .vcf file. Or use a tool like vCard Maker to generate your .vcf file directly.
Sending via link-sharing
if you don't want to attach your card directly to your SMS message, upload your .vcf file or image to Dropbox, Google Drive or other platform that supports public file-sharing. From there, you can obtain a shareable link for your file.
Then, copy and paste the link into your text message. If the URL is overly long, shorten it with a service like Bitly. However, unbranded shortened links can trigger spam filters, so exercise caution here.
The step-by-step process to follow:
1. Sign up for a professional texting service
Once you've decided how to send callings cards (through an attachment or link-sharing), you'll need to use a business messaging service that supports electronic business cards and lets you send them out in bulk. Your provider will assign you a virtual phone number, either a long number or a shortcode.
Ensure that two-way text messaging is set up so prospects can reply to you (or request your calling card).
2. Obtain individual consent
Due to data protection laws, you can only market to prospects or new contacts if they've permitted you to do so. As sharing a virtual calling card is a form of marketing, you'll need to collect opt-ins before you send your first text message.
There are a few different ways to collect consent, and one is encouraging prospects to text your virtual phone number with a particular keyword. For example, a copywriting agency might display a notice on its website like this:
Text 'INFO' to 12345 to discover how professional copywriting elevates your online presence and to benefit from our new customer discount.
3. Send your business card
Share the card attachment or link as a text message. Write impactful SMS copy to support it and provide relevant context. A packaging supplier might write the following message to an online retailer:
Hi Jack, good to meet you at the e-commerce conference last Thurs. Here's my business card – let's connect to see if I can save you money on packaging?
Bonus tip: set up SMS message automation (if your provider supports this) to save time. Any new subscribers will immediately and automatically receive your calling card as soon as they opt-in.
The benefits of virtual business cards
Virtual calling cards offer the same benefits as physical cards. They're easy to create and distribute. They're cost-effective, provide a great first impression and leave recipients with a solid reminder of who you are and what your business does.
In addition, they're highly convenient and enable quick, two-way conversations between you and potential customers. And once you've captured consent, you can send marketing messages via text in the future (provided individuals stay opted in).
Other benefits include:
They never run out – no more missed opportunities!
They won't get discarded as easily as paper-based cards (88% get thrown away in less than a week).
They won't get lost – texts stay in the SMS inbox until deleted, and .vcf files can be added as a contact.
They're easy to share, which helps with organic referrals.
Send business cards with SMS
Electronic business cards are a useful marketing tool when meeting a new business contact or prospect for the first time. They provide several advantages over printed cards, including being eco-friendly, less likely to get discarded and easy to share with others.
Getting started is simple once you've signed up with an SMS provider such as Messente. You can then begin to collect opt-ins and send out your calling card to many prospects all at once if required.
Register for a free Messente account today to see how our platform works.