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In our recent article on Corporate Innovation, we highlighted how embracing digital transformation and new technologies is needed to maintain competition. Agile competitors have regularly displaced their less agile counterparts.

This has been clearly visible as companies leveraging digital tools to streamline or create advanced features, innovate faster, upgrade offices and using innovation to attract or keep top talents have succeeded. QR codes have been one of these cost effective approaches.

Sustainability, another buzzword, has been a key focus for corporate innovation in recent years. Multiple businesses are under pressure to reduce their environmental impact and improve social responsibility. Innovation and the introduction of efficient new digital tools to replace old processes is an easy way for businesses to build their ESG profiles with quick wins.

Corporate Innovation & Events: An Overview

Events have returned as a core feature of any enterprises’ marketing strategies.

While they may be biased, 80.4% of organisers identified in-person events as their organisation’s most impactful marketing channel, with 95% of marketers believing in-person events help achieve business goals.

They also expect the majority of their events across the next few years to be in-person, despite the increase and improvement in smaller-focused hybrid and online events. The same study found that both organisers and attendees trust in-person events to be the best networking environments.

These events offer a perfect opportunity for sales lead generation and meeting new contacts. Your choice of networking tools can have a dramatic impact on your success.

So why has the process for exchanging contact details, attending networking events and managing them changed so little?

3 Event Statistics for 2024

Innovation for Networking Events: Pre-Event, In-Event and Post-Event Planning

Despite a hiatus and digital leap during the Covid years of 2020-2021, many events and attendees are still using the same software and approach that seemed to serve them well before we went online.

Multiple technologies have sprung up in the meantime that could have a big impact on a company’s, or a sales person’s, success at events. So why has the approach to networking at events remained largely unchanged?

Alternative Innovations for Networking: the QR code, digital business cards, the NFC Card and more

The QR code has long been considered as a positive addition to events – and locations like sports venues. This has been slow to roll out and rarely used to best effect.

This is where digital business cards (also known as an electronic business card) and the surrounding digital business card solution come into play. Paper business cards used to be the norm, despite Adobe’s research showing that 88% are thrown away within a week. Traditional business cards are easily lost, and have no way to track engagement such as views, contacts actually made or more.

Switching to digital business cards gives much deeper connection, the ability to instantly share contact details in a helpful manner, and provide analytics opportunities for events.

Unlike traditional cards, they are centrally controlled by a digital business card platform, that allows you to create and distribute the best digital business cards possible for every stage and function of your event.

Below, we go into how digital business cards can help across all stages of your event, and the benefits that a digital business card solution brings. Hopefully, this should also help you identify the best digital business card for your needs.

How do Event Digital Business Cards Improve Networking?

Pre-Event: Considerations & Planning

Planning your attendance at an event is rarely straightforward.

The pre-event is focused on plans, tickets, designs and targets. Networking efforts require comprehensive planning, while printing costs for posters, booths and more test the organiser’s cost effective approach.

Know your goals from the start

A good place to start is understanding what you need to get out of the event. You can focus on specific attendees using an Account-Based Marketing approach, or set targets that are more explorational in nature.

These can often look like number of new contacts created or new leads qualified or generated. Another factor in this is whether you consider them qualified in-event, or have post-event targets.

With your goals firmly in mind – who needs digital business cards from your team? What benefit do you need from this digital card? How are you going to make sure that you stand out?

This is a great time to trial a free digital business card from a vendor, so you can truly understand what comes with the digital card and digital business card platform.

Digital Business Cards for Your Team

Diagram showing organisational chart for event attendance numbers

In reality, practically everyone at an event should have a digital business card. You never know when your booth or sales staff will be busy and someone else needs to step into the breach. If all of your team have a consistent professional identity to your prospects, you’ll look like experts. Additionally, digital business card functionality is beneficial to most, if not all of the goals you might set for the networking event.

  • Booth Staff: Your booth is the central hub for you at an event. The easier you make it for people to speak to them, get contact details and information and then move on, the better. Virtual business cards can help your team quickly share information, custom URLs and product information as needed.
  • Sales Reps: Your sales staff will need digital business cards, as they look to expand their address book with prospects contact details. Events are perfect places for sales professionals, as they look to network and build relationships with new and existing clients. With two-way contact sharing, they get prospective client’s data and you’re away.
  • Marketing Staff: Your marketeers are likely looking to speak with customers, identify new trends or generally move around the event asking questions. Digital business cards give them an easy way to share information and promote the company, especially if you have some custom URL’s to landing pages in their digital cards.

For all of these people, depending on your company size, having a bulk creation feature is critical. Most providers allow you to manage digital business cards through online platforms and provide instant access to new cards or specific event cards with little fuss.

Using Multiple Digital Business Cards Per User

Digital phone wallet showing Doorway's multiple digital business card per user functionality.

Some providers (like Doorway) offer the ability for users to have multiple virtual business cards. This can be highly useful for reps so they can use different cards that apply to different situations, product focuses or customer sectors.

Digital cards offer flexibility across design and content, essentially offering each of your reps to create multiple profiles that they can use when it suits a situation best.

Customise the company branding

Companies go to great lengths to design and build their attendances for large events. This usually means targeted tag lines, slight alterations to the company logo or a use of brand that is specific to that event (for example, we have commonly seen customers user a background image, company logo and event-related quotes).

Digital business cards can offer the opportunity to customise your business cards to fit the brand and theme of the company’s event attendance. As this is all done digitally (from our Admin Portal, for example), it is easy to manage an electronic business cards’ designs and apply or remove them as necessary.

Even better, after the event that design can be reverted to your day-to-day look and feel at no extra cost – with no waste created. The immediacy of change allows your designers plenty of time to be creative and create the best digital business card possible.

Customisable Profiles and Landing Page Options

A great example of how this consistent branding can function is through custom profiles or landing pages.

Hubspot report that Landing Pages, especially when customised, have the highest conversion rate. Customers prefer personalisation – something that is possible if you tailor each landing page to the sales person it was shared by.

This flexibility can help connect your prospects entire journey with one brand ‘look and feel’, from initial contact to scanning digital business card, to conversion or post-event contact.

Convey all the information you want

Digital business cards offer the opportunity to share much more information than previous methods.

Digital cards should carry all of the typical, expected information such as:

  • Name
  • Company name and logo
  • Job title (this can be customised for the event – so internal job titles don’t confuse prospects)
  • Business website
  • Contact details (phone numbers, email addresses)

However, with a digital business card you can share more customised information or benefits specific to your event attendance:

  • Social media links
  • As many phone numbers or email addresses as you want
  • A google maps location for your booth
  • Event-specific landing pages or custom domain
  • Event-specific offers and rewards
  • Limited features or advanced features available to test for attendees

We’ll even give you a free idea to enhance your networking efforts: You can include access to your post-event drinks or dinner via link or QR codes. That one is difficult to control with a paper business card.

The important thing to note here, is that the recipient receives all this customised information in an interactive and usable manner. With these details now digitally available, all that helpful information you’ve created is immediately usable.

Having all of this information on different paper sheets that you hand out firstly, isn’t very cost effective; and secondly, isn’t very helpful. Here once again, a QR code can be the answer.

Additional functionalities such as dual-transfer or two-way contact sharing can be extremely beneficial. This way, you receive the details of every connection you make via your digital business card. This typically requires both people to be using the same digital business card system – although Doorway manages this through our dynamic QR codes – without the other person using a Doorway virtual business card.

In-Event: Networking, Analytics and Tracking

Contactless sharing of your digital business card

Digital business cards are, by nature, contactless.

With Doorway, these sit in your Apple Wallet or Google Pay (within the Google Wallet app) for ease of use. We use dynamic QR codes that command the recipient’s phone to create a new contact.

This means that you can share your digital business card at any time – regardless of whether you have signal or not.

Other digital business card providers still use QR codes, but will require a strong internet connection to transfer contact details, which can sometimes be difficult at large events.

Doorway offers functionality to enable two-way contact sharing. If you’re interested in trying this out, speak to us at [email protected].

Convenient to carry: Your Phone becomes your business card

With a digital business card sitting in your digital wallet, all you need is your phone and you can network to your hearts content. This sits in an Apple Wallet, or as a Google Wallet pass, ready to use.

Most of us never let our phones out of sight. With a digital business card added to your digital wallet, you don’t have to remember another item. Instead, you get unlimited contact storage and the ability to exchange contact details in an intuitive and fast way.

Custom Push Notifications to your Team

Some digital business card providers come with the ability to send push notifications to any holders of digital business cards. This can be extremely advantageous during big events.

This notification, in their digital wallet, can be used to co-ordinate a team from your central hub – for group meet ups, or signalling key moments around talks, mini-events or the end of the day. Alternatively, it can be used to remind your staff to do their follow ups with new connections at the end of the day – keeping critical tasks front and centre.

You can send push notifications with Doorway. Screen showing notification.

Some digital business card providers come with the ability to send push notifications to any holders of digital business cards. This can be extremely advantageous during big events.

This notification, in their digital wallet, can be used to co-ordinate a team from your central hub – for group meet ups, or signalling key moments around talks, mini-events or the end of the day. Alternatively, it can be used to remind your staff to do their follow ups with new connections at the end of the day – keeping critical tasks front and centre.

Post-Event: Contact Management and Follow Ups

Activation and Measurement

Digital business cards are inherently trackable in comparison to their physical counterparts, thanks to the smart contact management platform that typically helps you build and share these digital cards.

Instead of a hit and hope mentality, you can look back at the total number of people that added your information from your digital card. Using time stamps and other details can help sales staff remember and manage who they spoke to, when and about what – including the ability to add notes and schedule follow ups to maintain focus.

When you spread this functionality across an entire Sales and Marketing team at an event, this deep dive into analytics becomes incredibly beneficial, giving precise insight into the status and successes of your networking.

How can I use this data afterwards?

There is also functionality available to transfer all your contacts directly into a CRM. Sharing each reps additions to their address book in a single upload hugely reduces manual data entry (something we all hate).

Many providers have connections through automation tools like Zapier, although some native connections are also available.

An easy way to utilise this from scratch is to send a tracked email to your new contact

Improve Event Networking with Doorway’s digital business cards

Digital business cards are in the wallets of huge brands

In-person businesses will continue their comeback post-pandemic. With event revenue and spending expected to rise past 2027, it is clear that companies still believe that in-person events are positive ways to make new contacts and create business opportunities.

Digital business cards give a customised, flexible and easy-to-manage solution to help maximise every interaction in a way that physical business cards just can’t.

Doorway’s digital business card solution helps you create and manage digital business cards for events and every day processes at scale. Customise with your branding and immediately send to your team, who can download it straight to their digital wallet.

Doorway’s use of Apple Wallet and Google Pay (Google Wallet) for digital business cards has helped keep an 80% adoption rate within companies, much high than adoption rates that require mobile apps.

What are other digital card options?

There are a few options that have a physical NFC card (near-field connection) which, unlike traditional paper business cards, have digital capabilities. However, these still require you to carry around a physical card and don’t typically use or have interactive QR codes included.

This often leads to a difficulty changing or updating the data on these cards, despite their high price point and annual fee. Doorway’s dynamic QR codes are always able to be updated.

Other Considerations: How to Maintain ESG Standards

Image showing text: maintaining ESG standards at events.

Sustainability is key: Avoiding paper business cards

Enterprises are now held to high environmental and social goals.

Digital business cards provide an easy win for businesses, especially versus paper cards. The reduction in one-use waste is valuable – with further sustainable benefits available if you parter with a provider like Doorway (we plant trees every month for every Doorway that a customer has!). We planted over 40,000 trees last year alone thanks to out customers.

As we’ve mentioned, there are many providers of physical cards. These now provide business card materials such as metal, bamboo, cotton and more – yet none of these have the longevity, flexibility or functionality that helps make a truly long-term sustainable option.

When you look at it long-term, across all of the events you run or attend in a year, these factors add up to a big change. Digital business cards can have a dramatic affect on ESG, all from a quick change.

Digital business card in apple wallet showing tree-nation's sustainable card.

Electronic Business Cards and Events – Final Words

Functionality from digital business cards and related smart contact management platforms far outstrip other options, including an NFC card, with the ability to instantly share contact details removing barriers. Given how easy it is to create digital business cards, you give your teams a healthy advantage during the preparation time too.

This makes a virtual business card convenient for networking events. Sharing details through a contactless, digital process streamlines your process, with more time to talk about what matters.

Additionally, digital business cards offer flexibility that means edits can quickly applied to URLs, offers you want to share, altering digital versions of promotional material that previously were printed – all without the additional time and cost of printing.

Most digital business cards are available under a monthly fee, with many providing a free digital business card to test for some period of time. This will give you access to all the free features that are accessible on the paid solution; a QR code with all your contact info and access to the digital platform to explore.

If you want to test a digital business card, head to www.app.doorway.io/try.