December 6, 2013 1 Comment
According to a Constant Contact holiday survey, 31% of small businesses say winter is their busiest season, 65% expect 2013 revenues to exceed those of 2012 and 52% say holiday customers become repeat, loyal customers. With this data in mind, why wouldn’t you use holiday greetings to thank customers and prospects while building relationships, increasing sales and acquiring new customers?
The custom of sending greeting cards can be traced back to the ancient Chinese, who exchanged messages of good will for the new year, as noted by the Greeting Card Association. The early Egyptians shared greetings on papyrus scrolls. The first published Christmas cards appeared in London in 1843, when Sir Henry Cole hired the artist John Calcott Horsley to design a card that could be sent to friends.
Holiday cards for businesses should include:
- Logo and slogan or tagline
- Contact information
- Social media profiles
- Website address
Your greeting should be generic to avoid offending anyone’s beliefs but you do want to stand out in the pile of messages your customers and prospects receive. Ruff Haus Design has some advice on crafting holiday sentiments:
- Save time by ordering pre-printed cards. Standard greetings are okay, but sign cards and, if possible, address them by hand.
- Tailor your approach. You should spend more time adding a personal note for the best customers.
- Leverage email. It is acceptable to send email greetings, although it is better to make the salutation specific to the person rather than “Dear Customer”.
Some examples of wording that businesses can use are as follows:
- Thank you for being our valued customer. We wish you a beautiful holiday season and blissful year’s end.
- Sending you warm wishes of gratitude this holiday season for your ongoing business, support and referrals. Happy Holidays!
- Best wishes for a happy holiday season and our sincere thanks for your loyalty and goodwill throughout the year.
Holiday cards can be created cost effectively and professionally at these websites:
- Overnight Prints
- DeGraeve.com (free)
Since the major cost in ordering cards is in the set-up, the Small Business Advisor notes that you will probably find that adding another 50 or 100 is a nominal cost, especially compared to placing a second new order later. And you never know when a card will break through and generate a sale.
During the holidays, you shouldn’t limit yourself to reaching customers through greeting cards. You can also write letters to give thanks for whatever your clients did for you in the past year, describe plans or aspirations for the next year, include some news about your company or the year’s activities and provide an invitation or other call to action (e.g., test a product, receive a free gift or sample, get new information, etc.).
It is even better to reach out in multiple ways to stay top-of-mind. Build on printed cards with:
- Ecards. Keep greetings brief (30 to 60 seconds at most) and engaging for best results. You could show images or video of your offices or stores and employees.
- Enewsletters. Offer suggestions on how to use your products to solve problems or improve enjoyment of the holidays (e.g., wrapping tips, recipes, shipping deadlines, etc.). For example, if your products make great last-minute gifts, reinforce how stress is reduced by having them on-hand.
- Gifts. It is not critical to spend a lot on items as long as they are perceived as valuable to customers and/or tie in with your business. For example, if you are selling festive apparel for the holidays, an “emergency kit” of safety pins, bandages, stain remover and more that women can stash in their purses could work.
- Coupons/discounts. Along with your thank-you messages, send out encouragement for future purchases. If you distribute offers via email, be sure to share them on social media as well. You can encourage people to share the promotions with their family and friends.
- Social media greetings. Tweet and post on all your profiles. You can show a personal side with photos of employee holiday parties or customers using your products. If you can publish tips for the holidays, your will position yourself as a resource for customers.
- Mobile greetings. Happy holiday messages can be sent with last-minute gift ideas or solutions, as well as images of new product releases and special savings that can be redeemed using smartphones.
- In-store and invoices. Hand out greeting cards at the checkout with discounts for post-holiday shopping to show your gratitude for purchases. If you print and mail invoices, you can include cards and coupons in the same envelope.
- In-store events. Host a gathering for your customers. To make it even more attractive, offer babysitting and free gift-wrapping. Depending on the time of day, you can serve wine or hot cider and finger foods. A hair salon could offer discounts on products and reward points for booking hair and spa appointments for the future.
How do you thank customers and spread holiday cheer at this time of the year? How has this changed from print to digital or multichannel formats?