With winter fast approaching, this is the time of year we all start thinking about dragging out our Christmas card list. If you’re a manager or small business owner, you might end up with two lists on the go: one for friends and family, and one for colleagues, customers, and business partners.
Sending cards to loved ones is fairly straightforward, but when it comes to selecting the right cards for your business, it can be difficult to get the balance right between professionalism and friendliness.
Quality counts. The most important thing to remember is that just like company advertising, brochures, products, and services, your holiday cards represent your business. They represent YOU. Quality counts so treat these cards like any other business correspondence.
Personalizing holiday cards with your company name, logo, or a photo is one way to make them meaningful. The good news is that if you’re a small business, home-based, or one-person shop, you can have the same quality cards as larger competitors. While custom greetings cost more than generic off-the-shelf cards, your business will appear in the best possible light (which is the whole point).
One web site that has great card ideas and fresh modern designs, is Tiny Prints Corporate. Non-photo cards start at around $1 each for 25. Photo card designs start at $1.50 each.
What should you say? Carefully consider what message you are going to have printed inside the card, but never opt to have your signature printed as well. Always sign your cards individually and add handwritten notes where appropriate to personalize each greeting further. Remember, you would never send out a business letter without signing it.
Some suggestions for what to write or have printed inside include:
Have you included everyone on your list?
- Thanking people for their business during the last year.
- Wishes for a prosperous New Year and continued relationship.
- Courteous reminders to clients who haven’t been in contact for a while that you and your business are still available to help them.
- An early Christmas gift of a generous discount on any of your services or products used in the New Year
Don’t just send one Christmas card to your main client, or one card to cover everyone. If you regularly deal with particular staff members in an organization, make sure you send a separate card to each person. People like to be recognized for good work. They’ll appreciate the fact that you remembered them individually.
Timing is everything. No one particularly likes the chore of writing out Christmas cards, but from the point of view of building relationships, it’s essential. So, don’t leave the task until the last minute. Order your cards early (in October, for example), and if you have a lot of cards to write, do a few each day. You’ll make a better impression if your cards are one of the first to be received instead of the last. Have your cards in the post the first week of December, by December 15th at the latest.