Any savvy online business owner understands the importance of promotion. Promotion drives people to your Web site.

Among the most common and basic of all promotional tools is the business card. A business card is a personal acknowledgment and an invitation to your customer. Handing a colleague or a customer your card is a gesture of goodwill and a silent appeal to call you.

Your business card should make a statement about you, your company, and the products and services you offer.

Unfortunately, those small pieces of paper hardly hold enough space for your name and number -- forget about making a statement! The dawning of the digital age, however, has completely changed what business cards do as a promotional tool for businesses.

Play Your Cards Right
Say hello to the CD-ROM business card. CD-ROM business cards are the same size as traditional business cards, but they are packed with more promotional power than even the most ingeniously designed paper card.

According to Brandweek Online, a typical 40MB CD-ROM has the capacity to store an entire Web site's worth of information. It can display as many as 100 minutes of interactive communication, depending on the media format you use.

This means your business card now has the ability to:

  • Display pages from your Web site.
  • Show off items from your catalog, samples of services you've performed, and customer testimonials.
  • Introduce company staff to your clients and take a virtual tour through your headquarters.
  • Provide annual reports.
  • Boast about award-winning products or services.
  • Educate potential customers about your products or services, and their benefits.

The list is limited only by what your creative genius can come up with.

By using visual and audio elements, you can deliver a high-impact presentation. Think of it as a palm-sized sales pitch that can cover anything and everything you want your customers to know about you.

Options to Consider
Does this mean you need to scrap the hundreds of traditional business cards that are boxed up in your desk? Not necessarily.

Prices for CD-ROM business cards aren't anywhere in the range of their paper-bound partners, but companies offer these discs at reasonable prices. And there are many reasons you might consider investing in at least a small bundle of CD-ROM cards.

At you can purchase 1,000 CD-ROM business cards (50MB) for $700 (U.S.). This company's price per card is low, but you're required to purchase a large number of cards.

The Kyric Corporation offers packages starting at $240 for as few as 50 cards.

These companies can combine your existing brochures, presentations, images, other informational materials about your company, and links to your Web site on the CD-ROM cards. They can cut the cards to make them about the size of a standard paper business card, and they can customize them with a unique design.

If you have the means and the know-how, you can burn your own CD-ROM business cards from your own materials, including photo files, Word documents, and Adobe files.

Numerous companies, including BizCard-CD, sell large numbers of blank CD-R packages. These companies can usually cut and customize blank cards as well.

A Cut Above
Are CD-ROM business cards worth the cost?

One major benefit is shipping. The cards don't cost any more than a standard letter to send through the mail. You might consider putting company reports, catalogs, manuals or educational materials sent frequently or to large numbers of customers onto your cards to reduce shipping costs. You'll cut down on printing costs, too.

If your company participates frequently in trade shows, it is well worth investing in CD-ROM cards. Potential customers are likely to be interested in looking at your CD-ROM and even more likely to remember your company's name and products after viewing a presentation at the comfort of their computer.

By displaying links to your e-mail address and company Web site, you've created instant access to your cyberhome. You can establish a separate URL for your Web site's home page to track how many visitors link to the site through your business card.

CD-ROM business cards can increase traffic to your Web site, and if you've done your job right, they will help increase your sales.

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Published on: Aug 24, 2001