Tell Them You Care With a Holiday Card. Use These 5 Tips to Do It Right.

Sending out greetings to your vendors, customers and clients is a simple business strategy that provides you with a 10-fold return.

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By Jonathan Long

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and that means the 2014 holiday season is officially about to start. Most businesses are focused on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and the holiday-shopping season as a way to generate more sales, but it also presents an opportunity to strengthen customer and business relationships.

Sending out holiday cards to your vendors, customers and clients is such a simple business strategy that provides you with a 10-fold return. It helps you keep your brand on the mind of your customer and client base, and it also helps you build a stronger business relationship with the vendors that you rely on to operate your business. Here are five tips to help you do it the right way:

1. Don't go digital.

We live in a digital age where email is ultra convenient and snail-mail postal rates are climbing. While sending free email holiday cards seems convenient and affordable, it won't be nearly as effective as a traditional holiday card hand delivered by the postal service.

Related: Maximize the Impact of Handwritten Notes With These 6 Tips

Email holiday cards can easily be mistaken for spam and they just don't have that personal impact that a physical card does. There is also a good chance that your card will sit on their desk for a period of time, further engraving your brand in their mind.

2. Make them personal.

Since you are putting in the effort to send a physical card, don't ruin it by using a printing service to print your recipient's name in the card. Take two minutes and write a short personal message to every person and sign the card. This little extra effort goes a long way.

A quick "Jim, it's been a pleasure working with your company this year and we look forward to continued success as we enter the New Year!" goes a long way.

3. Think of this as the cheapest form of customer acquisition and retention available.

If you don't think you can turn customers into repeat purchasers and keep them coming back with a simple holiday card, you are mistaken. Think about how much money you spend on new customer acquisition -- is it less than $4 and a couple minutes of your time? That would be highly unlikely. Consumers naturally want to do business with companies and people that they feel value them.

Related: Holiday Gifts: What to Get Your Clients and Colleagues

If you really want to step it up a notch you can toss a little something extra into the card. I personally like Starbucks gift cards. It is something that people can use almost daily and every time they don't have to refinance their home to buy their fancy coffee they will think of you. Every Market Domination Media client will receive a holiday card this year complete with a Starbucks gift card. I feel it is marketing dollars well spent.

But don't include your business card or any kind of coupon or promotional offer. That will absolutely backfire and ruin the message.

4. Keep them very generic.

A holiday card sent for business purposes needs to be very generic. Avoid cards that are religious or even mention a specific holiday. Also, stick to a general happy holidays theme and don't opt for humor cards. What you might find funny might be offensive to others. Make your impact with the message you write in the card -- and make an even bigger impact by tossing something awesome inside.

5. Get them in the mail by Dec. 10.

At the very latest, your holiday cards need to be received before the end of the year. If they arrive after Jan. 1 they lose their impact. Also, many companies are closed for the holidays so you really need to make sure your cards are delivered before the break.

I always make sure my batch of cards goes into the mail by the 10th of December. The postal service is extremely busy around the holidays so make sure you leave plenty of time for delivery.

Have you sent holiday cards in the past or do you plan to do it this year? Let us know in the comments section below!

Related: How to Stay In Touch Without Being Annoying

Jonathan Long

Founder, Uber Brands

Jonathan Long is the founder of Uber Brands, a brand-development agency focusing on ecommerce.

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