It’s certainly not a stretch to say that business cards are broken. It’s not that they don’t work at all, but think about it…business cards haven’t changed with the times. We still hand out this paper card that needs to be digitized and entered into a database. In recent years we’ve seen many technologies attempt to “fix” the transfer of contact information…we had “beaming”…then mobile apps like Bump, and a wide variety of business card scanners. But each has had its own set of problems. With Bump, the other party needs to be using the software, and of course have it setup properly. Mobile card scanners were a great idea, but to get 100% accuracy they proved very labor intensive.
That’s all changed with CardMunch from LinkedIn! This powerful iPhone app has quickly become one of my favorites. Its business benefit is huge, and right now you can download the app for free. (Android and Blackberry Users: CardMunch says they have a version for you coming soon.)
Enough already, what does CardMunch do?
CardMunch makes digitizing business cards efficient and email follow up a snap. Here’s how it works: use CardMunch to take a photo of any business card directly from the CardMunch iPhone app. Seconds later an image of the card is uploaded to CardMunch servers where it’s transcribed in real-time and then reviewed for accuracy by real people. Even hand-written text on the card is picked up and transcribed correctly. Once CardMunch has created the contact; it’s sent back to your iPhone. The whole process—start to finish—only takes a few minutes.
CardMunch can deliver a push notification to acknowledge the digitized business card has been successfully added back to your phone. After a quick review of the contact record, you can easily add the the new record to your iPhone contact database. (Even set this up to happen automatically once you trust the accuracy of CardMunch.) It’s also worth noting that the scanned business card image is added to the contact record as their photo for easy viewing later. Also for peace of mind, your scanned database is backed up via the CardMunch website.
CardMunch takes it further
Interestingly enough, I would have been thrilled to use CardMunch if that’s all it did. But they’ve built-in a few more amazingly powerful tools. If we were all extremely organized and had a little extra time, we would appreciate sending our newly added contact an email follow up. That’s exactly what CardMunch helps us execute. By visiting the “My Settings” area of your app, you can setup an email template that can be used to follow up with newly added contacts. Even forward your contact information as a vCard on the email template allowing your contact to easily add you to their database.
Also take your follow up a step further by sending your contact a “quick connect” LinkedIn request directly from the app.
After using this tool a lot over the past few days, I can honestly say that CardMunch is amazing but I can’t see it staying free forever. It’s extremely beneficial for real estate professionals who collect cards regularly. So next time you wrap up an open house, Broker’s Tour or get back from a conference with a stack of business cards take a few moments to spread-out the cards you’ve collected and quickly snap-off a photo of each. What you’ll get in return is the ability to proactively follow up with your contacts and save time in the process. Get started by heading over to the App Store . Please report back; I would love to hear what you think!