There are many old traditions associated with celebrating the holiday season. It's a time when small businesses everywhere are spending time, effort, and money to promote themselves to their customers. It's a time that can provide economic benefits for a company, but it's also an opportunity for businesses to deepen relationships with their customers. There are ways during the holiday season a business can separate itself from the competition. Holiday cards have proven to be an effective method of seizing the spirit of the season and making a special connection with customers.
History of Holiday Cards
The custom of sending holiday cards started in 1846 in the United Kingdom. Sir Henry Cole was a government worker and helped establish the Post Office there. Cole had ideas on how such an organization could be used by more regular people. Cole joined forces with an artist friend John Horsley. They made the first holiday cards and sold each one for a shilling. Approximately a thousand were printed and sold. Sending holiday cards started to become very popular when people could send an unsealed envelope for a halfpenny. This was half the price of a regular letter.
It's important to realize that many companies are going to be sending out generic printed holiday cards. Doing this eliminates the time required to write something personal inside of each card. Your customers will probably get many of these. If a company wants to stand out, this is an excellent opportunity to get personal. Each card should be addressed to a specific individual if possible. A single handwritten sentence with a signature at the bottom shows time was taken to make it personal. A veterinarian's office may want to write a line about the customer's pet and how it was a pleasure to treat them.
Don't Be Late!
The holiday season is a busy time for the US Postal Service. It's important to have holiday cards in the mail well before the day of any holiday. Sending them late sends a bad message. It may make a customer feel as if they were an afterthought. It could also negate an opportunity for goodwill. It may even be viewed as a negative gesture.
Celebrate the Season
It's important not to send a holiday card that makes a customer aware what they celebrate is different from the majority. Not everyone celebrates Christmas or Thanksgiving. One thing that needs to be avoided at all costs is offending someone. Your kind gesture could result in negative feelings. Many businesses avoid this difficult situation by sending cards designed to celebrate the season. This is an effective way to respect everyone's beliefs and celebrations.
It's important to carefully choose holiday cards that will reflect positively on your small business. Getting cards with
nice images and sayings in them are appreciated. Business owners need to realize this is something that will represent their business to the customer. It's possible to get quality holiday cards at a good price. Making an effort with quality holiday cards will make a positive impression on customers.
Mind the Details
It's important to make the extra effort and be certain all client's names on holiday cards are spelled correctly and the way they prefer. Some may want to have things such as “Ph.D.,” or “Esq.” next to their name. Others may want something less formal with their address. Should you make this type of mistake, it could make a customer feel unimportant. Most experts recommend to not include a business card when sending holiday cards. If the business name is on the envelope and mentioned on the inside, it will clearly let a customer know who sent the holiday card to them. If creating a message, it's important to use spell check and avoid grammar and spelling errors.
When done correctly, a holiday card can be part of a successful business marketing effort. Power Direct Marketing did a study of the marketing results from sending holiday cards. It discovered that for each dollar a business invested in their holiday card project, they experienced over a 38 percent return on investment. When a holiday card catches a customer's attention, it is something they will share with others. People who display their holiday cards will have others look at them. This could lead to a discussion about the card and the business.
Businesses have the best results when they send physical holiday cards using snail mail. It may be difficult to fit into a budget, but this is something that could provide a very positive result. When holiday cards are sent as part of emails, they're not as effective. Too often these types of holiday cards are deleted by mistake and have a good chance of winding up in a spam filter. The right holiday card can leave a lasting impression with a faithful customer.