Ho, ho, ho -- wait, another greeting card?
Those who know me well know I have a disdain for greeting cards. The preordained notion that we must send greeting cards to everyone during every holiday season or birthday has sanitized the entire gesture and, in my opinion, the joy of giving and receiving them.
And this time of year is the apex of greeting-card prodigality.
Each year, entrepreneurs and businesses send millions of holiday greeting cards to clients, vendors and other partners. I do not have exact figures, but I would venture to say, based on my years of experience, that the vast majority of these cards are seen once, if at all, and are destined to the lobby wall amidst a sea of other cards with winter scenes, reindeers and menorahs -- and then the trash.
If more businesses approached this tradition for what it is -- a marketing campaign -- I believe that we could reignite the excitement for sending and receiving them.
Of course, I understand that this time honored tradition is meant to be a selfless display of appreciation, but doing so while making a bigger impact with your greeting cards is not difficult. Sure, it will require a little more work, but done properly, you can show your appreciation, differentiate your company and, hopefully, drum up new business. Here are four easy tips to consider.
Sending the holiday cards you bought at Dollar General last year after Christmas at 80 percent off? Forget it. Opt instead to for custom greeting cards that includes your logo on the front, bold and proud. Include graphics that reflect your company culture and send the proper message without necessarily including words. When it is displayed for all to see, it will stand out over Jolly Ole Saint Nick.
These days, people consume greeting cards like they do content online, so your message needs to be short and easy to read. Most of all, it needs to be sincere and, again, reflect your company culture. Skip the default Hallmark-style greeting and keep it simple.
If you want to keep it religion-neutral, consider a simple “Thank You.” Also, hand sign each card and include key members of your staff. This demonstrates an additional effort that many recipients (myself included) will notice, which makes the hand cramps worth it.
How your greeting card is delivered is probably the least important thing about your effort. Envelopes will be opened and discarded without ever really being noticed. With that said, do not be afraid to get a little creative. Add color or include a graphic on your envelope to make it unique, and include a bona fide stamp, not one from a postage meter.
If you are a little more crafty, consider sending a small package with or in lieu of a greeting card. Greetbl offers a unique fusion of greeting card and gift box that will make your effort stand out.
Again, the act of sending greeting cards at this time of year is meant to be selfless and show appreciation, but it is what it is -- marketing. There is nothing shameful in demonstrating your company’s appreciation while simultaneously and rightfully identifying this effort as an opportunity to make an impression and drum up more business. Include something in your card that prompts a call to action. For example:
- Offer a discount for a future order by including a coupon or printing an offer on the back of the greeting card.
- Include a business card that will not be discarded at the end of the season.
- Set up a landing page on your website and instruct recipients to visit the page for a special holiday message and offer (make sure it is worthy of sharing).
- Ask and offer a reward for any referrals.
For the record, I am not completely against greeting cards, especially when they are sincere, serve a purpose and clearly demonstrate that it took more than stuffing an envelop with a generic Hallmark card. For entrepreneurs, they can be a terrific way to demonstrate your company’s appreciation while also making a lasting impression at the end of the year. It requires time and effort, but the reward is well worth it.
Do you have any other tips for holiday greeting-card giving? Please share with others in the comments section below.