We are the change

… with every Christmas card I write…

Call me old fashioned, but sending a Christmas card to a valued customer makes real business sense to me – especially nowadays. I don’t mean the electronic variety, which are popping like crazy into an inbox near you.  For me it has to be the printed kind.  This old festive favourite really does help you stand out from the competition, keeps you fresh in customers’ minds and still presses all the corporate social responsibility (CSR) buttons in terms of the environment, charitable giving, showing you care etc.

So here are 5 ways in which the old fashioned Christmas card will give you a competitive edge this year.  In particular, it will make your business:

1. Stand out…

Fewer Christmas cards are being sent by businesses and those that are received are certainly more noticeable.

2. Become more visible…

Unlike an electronic version your greeting won’t be buried in a bulging in-box or diverted by a spam/junk mail filter.  The chances are your card will be displayed on the desk of your customer or decorate their office/room in some way.  And it’s likely to stay there throughout the whole festive period and even into the New Year.  How’s that for visibility and being a tangible aide memoire of your devotion to them?

3. Show you really care…

Unlike the businesses who’ll be churning out e-cards which let’s face it just show that a customer is no more than an email address, you’ll be able to add a personal message and greeting.  If you can hand-write this, then your customer will recognise at a glance the effort you’ve made and the attention you’ve bestowed on them. And they will be impressed.

4. Tick all the CSR boxes…

Your corporate social responsibility needn’t go astray with Christmas cards.  Ensure the card is printed on FSC or recycled paper and bought supporting a specific charity who has their details on the card too.

5. Create a more memorable experience…

Most people like to open cards. We’re savvy and inquisitive creatures and can quickly spot what’s a card and what’s a mail shot just by the envelope.  So use the experience to your advantage.  Remember that with e-cards, most people will scan the message through their email’s preview pane or via their Blackberry/iphone. More often than not, this won’t download the graphics in the email and so your customers will initially be greeted by a nice box with a red cross in it.

Thinking of you

I know we live in a digital age and have an abundance of technology at our fingertips. But from time to time we like to escape it, we crave a slower pace and it is those moments which start to stand out in all the hubbub.  The tradition of handwriting a message to someone to say “Thank you, I really appreciated your business and support this year”,  shows that you value them, that you’ve spent more than a nanosecond thinking of them and as a result they’ll probably spend more than a nanosecond thinking of you.

Thinking again

And if I’m keeping you from planning that New Year marketing campaign to prospective customers, please think again.  Why not start with the customers who already buy into your offer? Spend some of that time and investment on them. Who knows they may indeed buy again in January and they may get their friends and colleagues to try you out too.

Have a very happy Christmas and a prosperous 2011.

About the author: Michelle Daniels,  Managing Director – Extended Thinking. An experienced and effective business development and marketing strategist, Michelle has built a successful career increasing top line growth for service businesses and organisations. She helps her clients turn their marketing, business development and thought leadership plans into reality with her ‘hands on’ support and practical advice.    A prolific writer, Michelle also combines creative flair with business nous to produce highly effective results.  She has written (and ghost-written) for many professional and business publications and is a chartered marketer and member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Extended Thinking is a hands-on marketing and business development consultancy.  Bringing together great minds and great ‘doers’, we help our clients devise and implement plans that achieve real business growth.  Our clients come from a wide variety of backgrounds and sectors, but invariably are those who are too busy or lack the resources to action their marketing and business development plans.  We roll our sleeves up and muck in to free them up to do what they really want to do and are good at doing.

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  1. Karen Finlayson says

    Thank you so much for this timely reminder. I wrote a card to an enquirer recently and she sent an effusive email back saying that she really appreciated me taking the time to write a card, how she liked my handwriting and the colour of ink that I’d used! I keep putting off writing those cards but today’s the day & they’ll still get there before next Saturday.

  2. Julie Hall - Editor says

    I agree Karen, I think this is a great article and a very timely reminder