Transform your business holiday greeting card into a powerful sales and marketing tool
The holiday season is a perfect time to solidify business relationships: express appreciation to existing clients, reconnect with old clients, and communicate with potential clients. Your greeting card, if sent thoughtfully, can be a subtle yet effective marketing tool for your organization, and it can express to your contacts how much your company values their relationship with them. Here are some general rules of business etiquette to consider.
Send out your holiday cards as soon as possible after Thanksgiving.
The first cards your customers receive are usually the ones they remember the most, and they show up the longest! Sending your holiday cards early also ensures that your good wishes arrive before recipients take time off over the holidays or the business closes over the holidays.
Send a holiday card to all the key people on your contact list.
Your vacation business card is a great way to 1) keep your business in mind and 2) let your contacts know that you have thought of them while on vacation. Your company may not do business with you today, but you may need their services in the future, or this contact may refer you to a colleague. And don’t forget that your contact’s administrative assistant should be a key person on your list.
Send out holiday cards that convey appreciation, good wishes, and prosperity.
A safe bet is to stick with the “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” themes. Send a card that reflects religious or cultural themes (Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa) only if you are completely sure that the recipient of the card is observing the holiday.
Address your greeting cards appropriately.
Always use captions on the envelope (Mr., Mrs., Mrs., Dr., etc.). For female business associates, the standard title used in the United States is “Mrs.”, unless the recipient has a professional title (Ph.D., Senator, etc.) or indicates a preference for “Miss.” or “Mrs.”
Make sure your contact name and business address are up to date.
If the card is mailed to the business address, address it only to your business contact (unless the spouse also works there).
If the card is mailed home, add a personal touch by addressing it to the family (“Mr. and Mrs. John Smith” or “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and family”).
Stay up to date with any changes (marriage, divorce, death) that may affect the way your card is treated.
Personalize, personalize, personalize!
1. Sign each card. Even if the card is pre-printed, it is a smart decision to write your signature and a short note on the card. A simple handwritten note like, “Thanks for your business this year! Sam” goes a long way in telling the customer that you really value the relationship.
Suppose other members of the organization will show and read the card; therefore, keep your note professional and brief. Sign your name only (include your spouse’s name only if you have met your business partner).
If different departments are sending greeting cards, order your greeting cards printed in smaller batches, each batch printed with the personalized greetings and the signature of the person (or department) sending it.
2. Use self-addressed and stamped envelopes. Use hand applied stamps instead of metered stamps to reduce the “bulk mailing” appearance. It is also more personal to write the address by hand on the envelopes. If you have too many to tackle manually, use the fancy script-style fonts on the computer, or use clear address labels instead of opaque labels.
3. Make your company different! Attach a photo of team members who worked on your client’s business. This is often used on photo cards. However, including a photo inside a regular holiday greeting card will leave a lasting impression on your customer.