If you’re under the impression that sending cards during the holiday season is an outdated business practice, you might be missing a great opportunity to make an impression on clients, vendors, co-workers, or others whose minds you might want to be at the top of in the coming year.
While it’s true that the advent of e-greetings have cut into the tradition of sending cards during the holiday season, the U.S. Greeting Card Association is projecting sales of 1.6 billion boxed and individual cards in the U.S. this year. The ability to customize a card with digital photography, online design templates, and personal messaging has made it easier than ever before to send the very best.
So yes, yes, a thousand times yes -- your business should send holiday cards! Even if you’re the decision-maker at the most cutting-edge of online technology business, there is room in your customer relations plan for ink, card stock, and festive stamps. The very act of opening an envelope requires a kind of attention that clicking on a link cannot match. Most people will display their cards in some way, even for a short time, to honor the sender, while your email will be buried under the onslaught of other business correspondence in 24 hours (or even less).
A more important issue is what kind of card to send and how to make your card stand out. Here are a few guidelines:
Get Your Cards Out Early.
Procrastination doesn’t look good for work-related communications, and the same goes for formal pleasantries. Not only do you have to account for the possibility that the recipient might be traveling for the holidays, but you also wouldn’t want to seem insensitive when your client Joshua Goldstein receives his card on the eighth day of Hanukkah.
Speaking of religious observances...
Religious Cards Are OK... If You’re Sure.
While it’s best to err on the side of caution, with simple messages like “Season’s Greetings,” it’s also an opportunity to pay respect to a person who celebrates the spiritual or cultural aspects of the holiday season. This is not to suggest you should automatically send the aforementioned Mr. Goldstein a card depicting the menorah without knowing if Hanukkah is important to him. The goal of sending a religious card is demonstrating your level of connection to that person and hopefully deepening it. To that end...
Don’t Send Humorous Cards.
A sense of humor is soooo subjective! The risk of coming off anywhere on the spectrum of “too corny” to “wildly inappropriate” is just not worth the attempt. Save the cards containing terrible puns for your cousin and send the ones with off-color jokes about Santa’s reindeer to the friend you used to cut up with during high school algebra class. You don’t want your business to be equated with the sad trombone sound. Remember, sincerity never goes out of style. Which brings us to...
Adding a Personal Touch.
“Cursive is a magic wand,” wrote Boston Globe columnist Beverly Beckham in a recent paean to greeting cards. Getting everyone in a small office to sign the card is a great way to make your business stand out. Even if you custom-design a card, taking that little extra effort to hand-write a warm message and signing your own name lets the recipient know he or she is important to you.
Chris Lenois is a business owner, professional journalist, and freelance writer for Vistaprint, offering a vast selection personalized holiday cards, mugs, calendars and other customized holiday gifts. Chris has contributed articles to many newspapers and publications, including the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Scat Magazine, and Wired.