In this digital, mobile age of communication, the personal touch is often missing from important client, employee and partner interactions. In a rush to be present on social media sites and participate in the latest and greatest technology enabled trends, companies may make the mistake of forgoing the personal touch of sending a traditional holiday greeting card. Holidays are the perfect time to remember and thank customers, partners, suppliers, and employees for the vital role they serve in the success of your business.
If sending out cards isn’t a yearly tradition for your business, or if it’s fallen by the way-side in recent years, it’s time to rethink that approach. Holiday cards and other types of thank you cards may seem like a small gesture, but when done in a genuine way, this gesture can help forge a lasting bond between your business and the recipient.
It’s important to remember, however, that not all holiday cards achieve their goal. That may be because they don’t have the right design, so they don’t stand out as special. Or, the message on the inside of the card may not communicate what it was intended to communicate. For these reasons, you should take time planning before sending out cards for the holiday season.
We receive a lot of questions about this time of year for best planning of our client’s holiday communications. Following are our answers to the ones we hear most often.
Why send holiday cards?
Here are the ﬁve reasons we believe are the most important reason to send holiday greetings:
Holiday cards can be used to express gratitude. With them, you can say “thanks” in a way that is customized to the relationship you have with the recipient.
Goodwill is valuable to any business. Sending holiday cards is an excellent way to nurture important relationships and generate goodwill in a non-salesy way.
REINFORCE YOUR BRAND
By having your cards reﬂect your brand image, you are reinforcing your brand in the minds of the recipients.
STAY TOP OF MIND
Sending holiday cards to prospects and dormant clients will help your business stick in the minds of prospects and help dormant clients remember your business.
LEVERAGE THE SEASON TO “SUPERCHARGE” A DIRECT MAIL CAMPAIGN
What do you do when you receive an envelope that is obviously a part of someone’s direct-mail campaign? Odds are that you throw it away. What do you do when you receive an envelope that looks like a personal note? You open it and publicly display the card it contains. It’s still direct mail, but it works harder for you.
Who should I send cards to?
The core list of recipients should include your top customers, supportive suppliers, prospective customers and employees. These are the people your business touches:
One of the best ways to show gratitude to your customers is to send them a holiday card. Remember, to be eﬀective, the card must not contain a sales pitch. Also, consider personalizing your cards with a handwritten message. Handwriting the address is another great personalization technique.
If your salespeople use a customer relationship management or CRM platform, then you have lots of prospects. Use that database to send cards to those prospects to reinforce your brand and make them feel special.
As we mentioned above, sending cards to dormant customers puts your business back on their minds. When they need your product or service again, they may think of your business because you made a thoughtful gesture.
Your employees are the bedrock of your business. Sending them a card shows how much you appreciate them and the work they do. Although it’s a small thing, it can help boost morale and job performance.
Most companies stop with just sending cards to customers or clients. Fewer companies send cards to prospects, dormant clients, and employees. Fewer still send cards to the rest of the people on this list. Why send cards to vendors? Because it’s a good way to support the ongoing relationship.
PROFESSIONAL SERVICE PROVIDERS
It’s all about relationships. You count on your accountant, attorney, custodians, and other professional service providers to help you keep your business running smoothly. They will appreciate receiving a card that shows them you care about the work they do for you.
STAKEHOLDERS AND INVESTORS
The people who have a vested interest in your business should also receive a holiday card.
For your business to be a good public citizen, you must foster relationships with your local government oﬃcials. Sending holiday cards is one way to do that. The gesture may remind them to think of you when a business opportunity is on the horizon.
Consider sending cards to your local police department to show that you appreciate the work they do to keep your business safe.
The leaders of your local chamber of commerce, convention and visitor’s bureau, and other organizations that support your community are all excellent choices for receiving holiday cards. The more organizations you can connect with the better. There may be opportunities that can come your way when you nurture professional relationships.
LinkedIn isn’t the only place to connect with inﬂuencers. Whether they are local or not, put together a list of the top inﬂuencers in your industry and send them a holiday card.
What type of card should I send?
It is crucial that your card represents your business well. Content and design matter. These two elements can make the diﬀerence between reaching your marketing goal or wasting time and eﬀort. When the recipient looks at your card, they are looking at your business.
The short answer is to send a holiday card that proudly reﬂects your brand and your corporate culture.
To create a card that you are proud to say represents your business, be sure to select a quality card and envelope stock. Choose a weight that is substantial. A thin or ﬂimsy card does not communicate quality. Also, choose a color that ﬁts the season or your brand.
Next, help your card stand out by giving it a unique design. Consider creating a card with a die cut. It’s sure to be memorable. Also, because most people display their cards on desks, tables, or walls, a card with a unique shape will catch more eyes than a standard rectangle card.
To round out the look of your card, don’t run the envelope through your postage meter. Take the time to stamp each envelope by hand with seasonal postage stamps.
Should I personalize my card?
Yes. You should absolutely personalize each card. There are lots of personalization options. Simply choose the one that works for your business.
Start by addressing your envelope to an individual. If you only address your envelope to the business without a person’s name, you defeat your purpose of connecting with an individual. Besides, it’s doubtful that the intended recipient will ever see your card.
You can also personalize the outside or the inside of the card with a message that is meant speciﬁcally for the recipient. For the greatest impact, make the personalization handwritten. This may be too much of an eﬀort for larger businesses, but it’s still possible. Some printers can use your database to personalize each card using a digitized handwriting font.
To hyper-personalize your card, send it to the recipient at their home address. And, be sure to include a handwritten note with a kind message. This only works if you have a personal relationship with the sender.
Otherwise, it may be considered to be inappropriate.
THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS THE BUSIEST TIME OF THE YEAR FOR THE POST OFFICE.
To get your cards delivered before the holiday rush (Christmas or Hanukkah), put them in the mail as soon after Thanksgiving as possible. This means planning the production of your card well in advance of the holidays. Recipients are likely to remember the ﬁrst cards they receive. If you’ve personalized the card as discussed above, your card is sure to be remembered.
ImageMark Puts It All Together
As you can see, to gain the beneﬁts of sending greeting cards for the holiday season, you must give the project some thought. Get it right and you will nurture long-term relationships. Get it wrong and your brand image will suﬀer. And, there’s another alternative. Stick to the middle of the road and produce a bland holiday card and it will get ignored.
The team at ImageMark is prepared to assist you with making all the decisions surrounding, what to send, how to send and when to send it. To get started, contact us to request a quote or a meeting.