Article | Business Relationships

Could You Be a Holiday Greeting Card Away From Improving Your Customer Relationships?

Daryl Forkell
Hero Image | Could You Be a Holiday Card Away from Improving Customer Relationships
Hero Image | Could You Be a Holiday Card Away from Improving Customer Relationships

It’s hard to imagine the year-end holiday season without greeting cards. The practice of exchanging warm notes between Thanksgiving and the New Year has been around since the 19th century. At that time, the first printed Christmas postcard made its rounds — and it sparked a worldwide passion that remains strong to this day.

Holiday greeting cards aren’t just pieces of paper, though. They’re emotional touchpoints, typically shared between members of someone’s inner circle. Most of us walk into a house or office during the holidays and see a display brimming with all manner of greeting cards: folksy ones, funny ones, classic ones, or religious ones. Many people hold onto this special type of mail because of the artistry and papercraft, not to mention the personal messages handwritten inside.

As a business owner or marketer, you can also use end-of-year greeting cards to earn a place on your customer’s mantel. The key is to send beautifully printed cards and customize each with a message written by hand or a typeset that mimics natural handwriting. That way, your cards can stand out for their authenticity and sincerity. At the same time, they allow you to express your appreciation in a way that feels genuine.

Will your customers respond? Chances are strong they will. A significant portion of consumers (8 in 10) told the Greeting Card Association that social media touchpoints can’t replace the impact of greeting cards. Yet plenty of businesses only use digital means such as email and social messaging to connect with buyers during the holidays. Others might send direct mail pieces, but they’re typically filled with product features and promotional marketing messages, and they’re more apt to be sales flyers or jumbo postcards. Direct mail like that doesn’t carry nearly the same emotional impact as greeting cards do.

If you’re new to the idea of sending individualized holiday greeting cards to clients as a different type of direct mail initiative, consider these tips to start your card on the right note:

1. Pay attention to timing.

The bigger year-end holidays tend to cascade from one to the other, so make sure you time your delivery drops correctly. For instance, Thanksgiving cards expressing gratitude and the importance of close relationships should be mailed well in advance of the feast. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas greeting cards can be mailed a little later, but soon enough so they can be used as decor if your recipient is so inclined. And if you’ve started planning a little late, opt for New Year’s greeting cards instead.

2. Keep the focus off your brand. 

Maybe you only send greeting cards to current customers (like 91% of small businesses who usually mail holiday cards do). Or perhaps you go the extra mile and expand your greeting card list to include past shoppers and perspectives. Either way, it’s totally acceptable to include your logo inside your greeting card or on its back cover. However, don’t make the card look like a marketing piece. It should very clearly be a greeting card before anything else.

3. Nix the sales language. 

Keep your greeting card’s messaging welcoming and personal — and deliberately not promotional. A salesy card might backfire with your target audience. Certainly, you might want to include a small promotional insert, gift, or discount card in the envelope. Be cautious, though: A greeting card should be about the relationship and not focused on what you want to get out of it. 

4. Add a thoughtful closing. 

You don’t have to write much inside each greeting card, but you should go beyond just signing your name or the name of your department under the preprinted message. Even if you only jot down a few words, you’ll show that you were thinking of the recipient on an individual level. For example, you might want to base your closing notes on your knowledge of the customer, such as mentioning a spouse, kids, grandkids, or beloved family pet by name.

5. Remember your employees, too. 

Whether you lean toward traditional messaging like the nearly 60% of companies that send end-of-year greetings or you represent the more than one-quarter of brands that choose more contemporary content, know that your holiday business cards aren’t only perfect for connecting with buyers. They’re ideal for solidifying your relationship with your core team members, too. This year, surprise your workers with a greeting card in the mail to express your appreciation for all they’ve done to make your business successful.

Direct mail campaigns offer some of the highest returns on investment compared to their digital counterparts, and often five times as much. And they don’t have to be formal to work. Download our whitepaper on the benefits of using greeting cards as part of your corporate marketing solutions to increase loyalty, drive engagement, and boost revenue. 

Oh, and have the merriest of holidays!