‘Tis the season… when some 2 billion holiday cards and 500 million e-cards create a blizzard of good wishes. We’ve all received ones that wowed us (and others that made us cringe). So how do you make sure yours stands out and makes the right impression for your brand? Here are a few tips.
1. Ask yourself why you are sending the card.
Start by asking why are you sending this card in the first place? Send a holiday card to clients/customers, contacts you hope to work in the future, people that you talk to regularly, and people that help your business’ work (like lawyers and accountants). Thank your customers.
But don’t “ask”. This isn’t the vehicle for a year-end sales pitch. And don’t include a business card. Wish them well in the New Year, thank them and say you look forward to serving them in the future.
2. What kind of greeting is on-brand for you?
If you are a technology-based business, an e-card sends a better message. If you are a creative enterprise, however, show off your design skills with a bespoke example of your bona fides. That said, e-cards have become an acceptable form in nearly all industries, so long as they are well-executed.
3. Get personal.
In either format, take time to add a personal message to your card, and avoid making your holiday cards too self-promotional. Make sure the recipient feels important to you. A hand-addressed card or hand-written note speaks volumes. If an e-card, a personalized salutation (Dear Nicholas versus Dear Mr. Santa) and message go a long way in elevating you from mass-mail.
4. Brand your card.
Generic cards with a personal note are adequate, but branding your card makes a much bigger and better impression. Of course, include your business name and URL, either in your signature or on the envelope, and have your return address printed on your cards. Creative firms, graphic, or web designers should help you go the extra step to incorporate your logo and/or company colors on the card, for a stylish and cohesive brand impression. This is true of print or digital formats.
5. Be appropriate.
Companies today have diverse customers, employees, partners, and vendors. So, remember that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Think about “Happy Holidays” or even “Happy New Year” to make sure that you don’t offend anyone unintentionally.
And for those of your clients or colleagues that do observe the holidays religiously, avoid cards that promote the party aspects of the season.
6. When to (hit) send.
In the same spirit as #5, consider sending your cards at New Years. There’s a double bonus here since you avoid being buried when everyone else sends cards AND catch your contacts fresh when they return from the holidays ready to start the new year. Besides, a looking ahead message is a better brand booster!
7. Be generous.
There is perhaps no better way to say Happy Holidays/Happy New Year and Thank You than including a ‘gift’ to your card recipients. This can be a discount on your products or a donation to a good cause (see Be Appropriate above when choosing).