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Are QR Codes on a Business Card a Good Idea?

Are QR Codes on a Business Card a Good Idea?


Business cards aren’t known for their size. On the contrary — they’re small by design. A large business card would be unwieldy. It wouldn’t fit in a wallet or card carrier and would be clunky to carry and hand off to others.  

 But they don’t need to be large. They aren’t intended as a marketing piece. They’re supposed to carry your contact and other basic information and nothing else. Business cards are precise and surgical in their application. 

 The question is, is it a good idea to use a fair amount of your business card’s limited real estate for a large QR code? Does the code crowd out other information that needs to be on the card? Does it add more value than simply listing a website would? Is it worth paying for double-sided cards to allow more space for a QR code? 

 The short answer to all of these questions is, “yes,” particularly if you want to share more information than can fit on your card or if you’d like to give people quick access to some other functionality. Let’s dig deeper.

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WHAT IS A QR CODE?

You’ve probably seen a QR code before, even if you don’t know the name. They’re similar to barcodes, but because they’re two-dimensional versus one-dimensional, QR codes are able to hold more information in the pattern of lines contained in their recognizable square shape. 

 In all, a QR code can hold about four thousand characters. In most cases, this capacity holds website URLs. Scanning the code with a smartphone would send your browser to the included link. You could alternatively list the address on your card, but a QR code is far more elegant for complicated URLs.

WHY ARE QR CODES ON A BUSINESS CARD A GOOD IDEA?

Some people are nervous about adding a QR code to their business card because the mark takes up valuable real estate that could be used for other purposes. But this lack of space is precisely why QR codes make an excellent addition to your cards. 

 As we mentioned, QR codes can hold a lot of information. Four thousand characters are the equivalent of roughly 700 words — that’s about two-thirds the size of this blog post! Imagine trying to include 700 words in the spot on your card where a QR code would go. Imagine even trying to fit that much text across both sides of the entire card! You can see how QR codes make your business cards significantly larger than they are.

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A person scanning a QR code with their phone.

SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF USING QR CODES

There are several good reasons to use QR codes on your business cards. All of them point to one essential truth — QR codes free the contents of your business card from the confines of a 3.5” by 2” piece of paper.

Your Business Card Can Contain Any Content You Like

You could use the four thousand characters encoded in a QR code in an inordinate number of ways. In another blog post, we’ll focus more on use cases.  

 For now, understand that the text in a QR code could be a website, a link to a web application, a digital contact card, a menu, price list, product brochure link, or just a large block of text. QR codes give your prospects access to an enormous amount of data and any number of valuable applications, right from your standard business card.

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One person handing another a business card.

You Can Track Usage Habits

It’s typically tricky to A/B test business card designs. But with QR codes, you could attach a unique URL to each batch of business cards, along with tracking data, and then log statistics each time the code is scanned. 

 You could also use this method to attach a different landing page for use in various places. You might have one set of business cards that link to a trade show landing page and another that takes the scanner to a free webinar.

Attach a vCard

vCards allow a device to input a new contact automatically. You can encode a vCard link in a QR code, allowing your physical business card to go digital with a quick scan. Your recipients might appreciate not having to type your contact into their phone.

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ARE THERE REASONS TO AVOID QR CODES ON BUSINESS CARDS?

Not everyone will benefit from a business card QR code. A QR code won’t profit you much if you use your cards to pass basic contact information and nothing else. If you have to wedge in unnecessary data just to rationalize the code, you probably don’t need it. Here are a few other reasons why a QR code might not be for your card.

They’re Unattractive

You likely spent quite a bit of time or money to create a nice-looking, brand-centric card design. Adding a large square filled with seemingly random lines and dashes does little to improve this. Particularly if someone doesn’t know what a QR code is, the code’s hulking data block looks pretty ugly. If you don’t need the benefits a QR code delivers, don’t drag down the design of your card.

People May Not Recognize It or Know How to Use It

QR codes have gained considerable acceptance in the last decade, but they’re still not ubiquitous. Depending on your potential customers, they may not recognize a QR code or know what to do with it. If this is a concern, you might consider adding short instructions under the code.

SEE ALSO:  What to Say in a Business Thank You Card

A thank you card featuring pine trees.

BUSINESS CARDS, QR CODES, AND HANDWRITTEN MAIL

If you regularly send business cards by mail, you could extend the utility of the attached QR code by including them in a handwritten card. Handwritten cards are a warm, friendly way to introduce yourself or reach out to existing customers. Add a few business cards, attach a QR code, and you have a ready-made referral machine. 

 With Simply Noted, you can automate handwritten cards with the most advanced handwriting machines in the industry. We create personalized, handwritten mail at volume with results that are indistinguishable from real handwriting. And, we’re happy to include small items like business cards, coupons, or gift cards. With Simply Noted and a QR code, your business card becomes a digital dynamo!

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