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How to Make Your Seasons Greetings Stand Out From the Crowd Holiday cards are an annual ritual, but does yours strike the right chord?

By Lisa Evans Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Holiday greeting cards have become a standard practice for most businesses. The holidays provide a natural opportunity to reach out to customers and clients, but with so many others spreading holiday cheer, how do you make sure your "season's greetings" get noticed?

Linda Pophal, marketing and communications strategist and owner/CEO of Strategic Communications LLC and author of The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement, agrees standing out from all the glitter and glam of the season can be a challenge, which is why she chose to send out a New Year's card instead.

But beyond the type of card, there are many other things to consider when crafting your holiday marketing plan to help your business stand out:

Be Relevant.

While a standard holiday greeting may be expected, "Happy Holidays" messages are so common, they're easy to get buried in the pile of snow-covered holiday cards. "You don't want to be a "me too' with any of your marketing messages, and that includes the end of the year warm wishes," says Pophal.

Consider the needs and interests of your target audience when crafting your holiday message. In order to stand out from the "Season's Greetings" crowd, Pophal decided to send out a New Year's card containing recommended New Year's marketing resolutions. "I wanted to use the card to reinforce my brand and the purpose of my business," she says.

Related: Too Much Social Media Can Drive Away Your Customers

Ensure your card has added value.

"As with any other marketing communications you create, you need to be thinking about your target audience and how you can add some specific value," says Pophal. A business in the beauty industry, for example, may decide to include some tips for how to deal with beauty needs during the dry winter months. A restaurant may include a recipe for one of their chef's favorite holiday cookies. Ensuring your holiday card contains some added value that's relevant to the services you provide as a company will not only make your card memorable but will help ensure it will be held on to by the receiver and not simply thrown in the recycling bin along with the hundreds of other holiday cards received.

Avoid the temptation to sell.

Yes, a holiday card can be part of your marketing plan, but it shouldn't come across to recipients as simply another sales opportunity. There's a fine line between sending greeting card to connect with clients and customers and doing a sales pitch. Providing a coupon or promotion on your company's services with your holiday card can cheapen the message.

Related: 5 Customer Service Tips to Avoid Scrooge-Like Behavior

Personalize your card.

Add a personal touch to your holiday card by including a company photo, or if you're a small family business, a family photo, to show customers the faces of the company. "I think people do value having that connection with the company where they come across as being more people than a building," says Pophal.

You can add even more of a personal connection by including a handwritten note along with your card, including some personal detail about an interaction you had earlier that year with the individual or something that shows them the card is more personal than a mass mailing.

Use caution with e-cards.

Our constant digital connectivity means e-cards have grown in popularity, but Pophal warns e-cards can easily land in the junk folder. "You have to first break through the company's fire walls; and even if you do make it to the inbox of the individual you're trying to reach, they have to click on your message." With the growth of online communication, physical mailboxes have become less cluttered, making it more likely that your paper card will get noticed.

Pophal advises forward-thinking combining the traditional paper holiday card with electronic marketing strategies by including a QR code to something special on your company's website such as a video holiday greeting from your staff or some tips that are relevant to what your business provides.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Customers Vanish Without a Word

Lisa Evans is a health and lifestyle freelance journalist from Toronto.

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