3 Ways Christmas Cards Can Create a Lifelong Customer
A few years ago, I had only been in business for a couple of months when Christmas rolled around. I had about a dozen clients I had worked with in the few short months I had been in business. It was mid-December and I was kind of scrambling for a way to send something to them for the holidays. I decided to send some custom Christmas cards with a promotional message for a discount on my services. I rushed to create the cards, get them in the mail, and get them to my clients before December 25th. I figured I would give them a few weeks before I would start hearing back from them on the wonderful sale I offered. By the end of January I hadn’t heard back from anyone. I told myself that they were probably waiting for some opportunistic time to come back and take advantage of my promotion.
Honestly I waited until April before I gave up hope. In the end, no one that received a Christmas card from me responded. It was a little heartbreaking, personally I don’t take rejection well, and I thought I had a great relationship with my past clients. Through this experience I learned a few valuable lessons about creating Christmas cards in a business setting. I want to share some of the things I’ve learned so others don’t make the same mistakes I did.
Personal not Promotional
From my experience I learned that making a personal card geared toward strengthening the relationship is better than sending a promotional card. In my naivety, I thought that if I just signed the card by hand it would make it personal enough for my clients. I was wrong. Personalized Christmas cards sets many businesses apart from their competition. Why not take the same strategy when sending out holiday cards. Take the time to personally hand write a message to each client. It doesn’t need to be lengthy but it does need to be heartfelt. Don’t forget to address the envelope by hand. Those little touches make a difference. When someone knows they are receiving a personal note directly from you, rather than a mass letter, it makes a much deeper impact. Don’t promote products or services in your Christmas card. It is much better to simply let your client know you’re thinking about them.
Keep it Classy
If you want your card to stand out from the crowd, take time to create something of value. You don’t need to be a professional graphics artist to do this. Check out some examples of well-made cards that you can mimic in order to get the style you want. Don’t skimp on paper quality or premium colors in your cards. Think of how many Christmas cards and holiday reminders you get from businesses. Poorly made cards are a dime a dozen. Premium card stock, beautiful colors, and a personal message go along way to create an impression.
Prepare Your Order Early
Chances are you won’t be hand making each card. That means you will use a card service to get the cards printed and shipped to you. During the holiday rush it’s easy for orders to be delayed for one reason or another. To avoid delays, order your cards a few months ahead of time. It may seem too early to order your cards in September or October, but it will avoid any unnecessary delays. Remember, you’re going to write a personal message on each card. That’s not something you want to do at the last minute in a rushed state of mind. Order early, take your time, and create a personal and lasting memory for the client.
On a final note, not everyone celebrates Christmas. Consider sending a card wishing someone a “happy holidays” or “seasons greetings”. Considering the beliefs of other people can help build trust and lasting relationships. I wouldn’t call it “politically correct” as much as I would call it “culturally sensitive”. If you’re sure a client would appreciate a “Merry Christmas” card, then send it. But it if you’re not sure try another message, one that is less likely to offend. I wish all business owners the best of luck this season sending out holiday cards. In case you’re wondering, in recent years, I’ve had more success sending out cards from the heart rather than trying to promote my services. By following these simple strategies I know you’ll have success too.
Mikkie Mills is a Chicago native. She is involved in business and fashion and a mix between the two. Connect with her on Google + or on Twitter (@DollarHacks).