Woman holding up a blank business card

Unlike everything else made of paper, business cards still make sense for the modern worker. Technology might be killing the newspaper, murdering the magazine, and forcing the evolution of pretty much every media into faster forms, but until we start implanting it into our heads, we’ll still need to tell people how to find us later. Even the flashiest web developer might meet the meat version of potential clients, and a business card speaks volumes of professionalism — while scrabbling for pens and paper in pocket lint shouts “amateur” in every language.

PDAs have been trying to replace business cards with “beaming” for years, and you can tell how well that’s going: PDA isn’t even a phrase anymore (replaced by smartphone and Blackberry) while any trade show attendee still turns twenty cards out of their pockets at the end of the day. So how has progress affected the printed words? We’re all connected now, so can’t technology help us to do this better and smarter? That’s why you read this blog! Here’s how to move with the times:

1. The Google

Google Cards

Google Cards

Everything about the Internet encapsulated in one clever card. Reactions to Google Cards can be mixed: some people appreciate the idea, associating sharpness and practicality with the bearer, while others see it as smug. Or worse, annoying – as well as digging out the card, they have to fire up the “Inter-net” to find out about what you do, and they may well not bother. It’s important for Internet-enabled workers to remember that everyone they meet is online because they usually meet them online.

Many potential clients still need phone and fax; judge where your target audience is and act accordingly. Remember that it’s just as easy to make a Google card with old-school information on it.  Most importantly, make sure your name really is the first match before you make any!

2. QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

Quick Response (QR) codes are small, sharp machine-readable grids of black and white. They translate into words or web addresses, and they’re already a fact: many modern smartphones can translate them (especially if they’re able to download applications), and advertisers are already getting into the act.

QR Codes

QR Codes

A QR code on your business card is a great way to advertise experience with the latest in web technology (though that depends on your career — great for a web designer, not so hot in baking). Just make sure not to overdo it. Most people still aren’t able to read them, so a QR code on the back of a regular card is a great idea. One instead of a card isn’t.

Some are going even further: computers can already identify QR surfaces and use them for Augmented Reality (AR). In AR computers, they add virtual items to real pictures, using the QR code as a location identifier, and one man has already built the ultimate online business card with it:

QR Codes

QR Codes

3. Make MiniCards

The above are awesome extensions of the business card idea, but we wouldn’t be very Smartlifey without a labor-saving service. Step forward MiniCards: make them online, instantly, and get them delivered to your door. The only reason you even have to stand up is the postman won’t come into strange people’s houses (no matter how technologically-aware said stranger is).

MiniCards

MiniCards

MiniCards make excellent awareness tools, combining all the advantages of business cards with the convenience of modern design. They’re also much cheaper, meaning they can be used for any number of events. Hosting a party? Need to leave contact details for when you go on holiday? Making fun tickets for a promotion? Whatever you need, minicards can deliver.

Image credit: hidesy / iStockphoto

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