Sending Holiday Cards to Your Customers is a Waste of Time!

Did I get your attention?  You only have a few days left to get this task done.  Are you are one of the many business owners or sales professionals who still have this task on your list?  You may even have a stack of holiday cards sitting on your desk ready to go.  But at some point in the past month or most likely many times you decided to put it off, wait until tomorrow, or maybe take care of writing and sending your holiday greeting cards over one of the past weekends.

And now you find yourself exactly where you don’t want to be, 15 days before the big holiday, no holiday greeting Holiday-cards-assortmentcards in the mail.  You have a decision to make…  Do you stop everything and send those holiday cards out or do you just forget about it?

The answer? STOP EVERYTHING AND GET IT DONE NOW! This may seem a bit crazy or even bias because you know I am a big SendOutCards user and often promote using SendOutCards on Follow Up Success.  Card sending is an important step in your follow up process and holiday card sending is almost at the top.

Here are my top three reasons why you should stop everything and send out your holiday greeting cards now:

  1. Appreciating your customers and prospects – Every single one of your customers enjoys being appreciated and the holidays is a great time to say thank you for the past business you have received.  Prospects can easily be turned into customers by simply saying thank you for learning more about you and your business while wishing for them a great holiday with family and friends.
  2. Reestablishing the business relationship – One of my goals for 2010 is to create stronger relationships with my customers and prospects.  By sending holiday cards I will reestablish past relationships that I may have let slip through the cracks.  This is important when you reach out to past customers or prospects in the New Year as you will have recent contact.
  3. Top of Mind Awareness – This is the big one!  Creating top of mind awareness with your customers and prospects when they are surrounded by their closest friends and family is an essential step in your follow up and referral strategy.  If you are top of mind with your customer or prospect they are more likely to bring you and your business up in conversation or think about you for a potential referral.

Hopefully I have encouraged you to take action!  Maybe, you have already picked up that box of holiday cards from your desk or floor and have starting filling them out.  Possibly, you have too many cards to send and feel hopeless!  If you are feeling hopeless SendOutCards would be the best gift to give yourself this holiday season!  With my help within a few hours you can have all of your holiday cards in the mail each personalized with your message.  To learn more about SendOutCards or to set up your account visit my Follow Up Tools page or contact me.  I am more than happy to help you through this process!

Whether you use SendOutCards, go buy cards from the store, or use the cards you already have, just get it done!  Stop everything and do this now!  I promise you it’s worth the time.

Do you have great business success stories from sending cards?  Please tell us all about it by leaving a comment!

Holiday Follow Up: Greeting Cards, Postcards, and E-cards

Today you have many choices when it comes to holiday cards.  The choice of holiday greeting cards is enormous, and we cannot forget holiday letters, postcards, and e-cards.  As business owners and sales professionals what are the best practices?  In my opinion, holiday greeting cards should be your only choice!

Holiday cards: You have many options here!  Sure you can go to your local Hallmark store or grocery store to pick up your greeting cards.  In fast the top two greeting card companies Hallmark and American Greetings which print most of the greeting cards on the market would love for you to do just that!  It’s fairly simple, find a greeting card selection which will reflect your business in a good light, lock yourself in your office for the day and get to work!

Holiday letters: I have already received a few holiday letters from friends and businesses.  These are nice and typically very personal when coming from friends and family.  I would not recommend these for a business greeting.  Sending a gift with a letter is a pretty common practice but in my opinion if you are spending the time and money to send a gift why not include a greeting card as well?  Skip the basic form letter and add a personal note to a greeting card instead.

Holiday Postcards: Thinking this is a great cost saving alternative to mailing holiday cards is a big mistake. When I think of postcards the first thought that comes to mind is junk mail.  It does not matter how much time you put into your postcard design or the amazing copy you have come up with, in the end it’s just a postcard and it will leave a neutral or negative impression.

E-cards: The crazy popularity of e-cards has come and gone.  Some may say this is a great alternative to sending holiday greeting cards in the mail.  I would encourage you to consider the conversation I had with Jeff Hans real estate agent on Team-Q at Re/Max Realty.  Jeff mentioned a conversation he had with another business owner just last week.  The business owner asked if he had received his e-card.  Jeff had to think about it for a minute and then acknowledged he had received it.  The business owner asked what Jeff thought and his response was the following: “I receive over 200 emails per day so receiving your e-card was just another email”.  Jeff suggested that next year he mail holiday greeting cards instead of sending e-cards!

My last thought for your holiday cards choices.  I mentioned the top two greeting card companies Hallmark and American Greetings so I thought I should mention the greeting card company I have used for my holiday cards, birthday cards, thank you cards, and just everyday cards for the last two years.  The company is called SendOutCards and it just so happens SendOutCards is the number three greeting card company.

I think the most important thing to remember is to get your holiday cards out.  It is by far the easiest follow up touch you can do this week and with each follow up touch you do you increase the awareness your customers and prospects have with you.  This increased awareness will result in increased business and referrals!

Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts When Mailing Holiday Cards

Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts When Mailing Holiday Cards

Do’s:

1)  Do send a quality card with a nice seasonal image
This is not the time to send a naked Santa because you think it’s funny.

2)  Do hand write your cards and envelopes
There is nothing like getting hand written cards in the mail, it shows you have taken the time to really reach out to your customer

3)  Do sign your cards
Your signature on the holiday card makes it personal

4)  Do write few lines of thoughts in each card
You might say something like “I have truly enjoyed working with you this past year.  I hope you have a fantastic holiday season and a great start in 2009!”

5)  Send your cards out with an actual stamp
This is not the time to save time by running them through the meter.  Take the time to place a stamp on each card as this small step makes a big difference.

Don’ts

6)  Don’t send holiday cards with just your signature
Saying Seasons Greetings, Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukah above your signature will not make this better.  Add a few lines to make them personal!

7)  Don’t enclose a business card with your holiday card
I find there is nothing tackier than opening a card and having a business card fall out.  It takes away all positive impact from the card.

8)  Don’t add your logo to the card
Sending holiday cards should be an opportunity to appreciate your clients.  This is not the time to promote your brand!

9)  Don’t use mailing labels on the envelope
Mailing labels take away from the personal experience of the holiday card.  Take the time to hand write the envelopes or have someone in your office do this for you.

10)  Don’t send e-cards
No matter what you believe or what someone has told you, e-cards are not the same and actually create a negative impact with most receivers.

Hopefully you will avoid some of the don’ts and remember all the do’s!  Do you have some top do’s and don’ts to add to this top 10?  Leave a comment so I can add to the list!

Where did the idea of sending holiday cards come from anyway?  If you are interested check out the history of holiday card sending.

Look for tomorrows post about e-cards vs. real printed cards, and handmade cards.

Increase Referrals and Attract More Clients by Sending Holiday Cards

For years I have been sending holiday cards.  I remember back in my corporate days signing hundreds of cards to clients and vendors.  The process then was to have a stack of 300 to 500 cards passed from one office to the next as we attempted to have all the employees sign the cards.  I admit some years I signed the cards and at times my assistant signed them for me.  I did not fully understand why I was sending them to begin with.  What difference is one holiday card going to make?

After completing my corporate ladder climb and realizing I no longer wanted to work for someone but instead wanted to build my own company, I began the journey of owning and building a promotional marketing company.  Through this process I had many great experiences.  One that comes to mind is sending holiday cards each year to my clients and prospects.  One of these prospects never actually purchased my services but I sent them a holiday card anyway.  The result of this simple holiday card came six months later.  The prospect called me for a new project and became a new customer.  I remember asking her why she decided to call almost one year later.  Her response was surprising!  She said she received my holiday card and actually kept it for months after the holiday as she was so impressed I would spend the time to send her a card even though our project never materialized.  She called me because I sent her a holiday card!

Here are few of the most important reasons why you should be sending holiday cards:

  • Holiday cards are another touch in the connection process with your customers.
  • Holiday cards give you an opportunity to express your appreciation to your customers.
  • Your customers will receive holiday cards from your largest competitors!
  • Customers will not always remember who sent cards but most will remember who did not!
  • Holiday cards put you at the top of your customers mind, this allows for more business and referrals.
  • Sending holiday cards is an example of great customer service.
  • Sending holiday cards gives you an opportunity to touch people within a company that you may not have access to.   An example of this could be the CEO of your best customer whom you have only met once.

Holiday card sending used to be a huge time commitment; this is not the case anymore!   Holiday cards can be very expensive however now you have very cost effective options which you cannot afford not to take advantage of!  (Future posts will have some great time saving and cost effective services for holiday cards.  If you need help now let me know by leaving a comment and I will send you my favorite resources.)

If you are one of those companies who have already mailed your cards I congratulate you!  Sending holiday cards should be a part of every companies marketing plan, it’s one of those personal touches you must do.  If you are in the procrastination stage of holiday card sending, I encourage you to get it done.  Get it done today!  Commit to yourself to mail all of your cards out this week, it will be worth it I promise!

A special note to those who have already decided not to mail holiday cards this year.  I challenge you to rethink your reasoning.  Many people have decided to cut this out because of time, cost, or just clear laziness.  You cannot afford not to connect with your clients and vendors.  Take the time to mail out holiday cards!  Consider sending cards to your top 100 clients and referral sources.  Sending holiday cards is one of my favorite follow up methods because it is an opportunity to create a personal touch in your business s relationship.

Look for my post tomorrow on the do’s and don’ts of holiday card sending!

Remember if you need help with your holiday card or gift sending options this year make a comment and I will respond to you with a few great resources that I will be covering this week.