Should Businesses Still Send Out Holiday Cards?

SantaIt used to be that one of the hallmarks of how a business treated their customers was sending out Christmas cards and other greeting cards, such as birthday cards, on special occasions. The idea was to wish your customer a happy holiday or birthday, of course, but also to remind them of your products or services, and hopefully earn their loyalty as a repeat customer.

With the e-revolution, though, many businesses have started to turn to electronic greetings. E-cards are cheaper or even free — you save money on the card itself, and then again on postage. And you can often send out many e-cards at once, all with the same message, cutting down the time it takes to prepare cards, write out addresses or affix labels to envelopes, and the other time-consuming tasks associated with physical cards.

Still other businesses have gone to e-cards because of the environmental advantages. Green businesses, or companies that want to use environmentally friendly practices as a marketing advantage, may tout e-cards as a way to save trees, as well as the fuel needed to transport snail mail from place to place.

While these are all good reasons to use electronic correspondence on a daily basis, there is an even better to continue using traditional greeting cards for special occasions. Here are a few factors to consider:

Real cards make it seem more like a special occasion

Yes, e-cards are easier. Unfortunately, your clients know that too, so sending an e-card is like confessing that you didn’t spend that much time on their holiday greeting or birthday wishes. Since part of the goal of sending out greeting cards to your customers is to make them feel like they are important to you, sending e-cards and taking the easy way out can defeat the purpose.
Real cards get your customers’ attention better. Do you remember how excited you used to get when you got something — anything — in the mail as a kid? Most people still get at least a little excited about getting something other than a bill in the mail, especially around the holidays or their birthday. Receiving a greeting card from your company is sure to make your customers sit up and pay attention.

Real cards don’t get confused with junk mail

The risk with sending e-cards is that too often, they end up looking like junk mail. Your customers may just delete them without even looking, assuming it is a promotional email from you, rather than a holiday greeting. Even if they take a look anyways, having initially thought your e-card was junk mail is sure to take away some of the excitement of getting an e-card.

Real cards stick around longer

E-cards may be appreciated, but what happens to them afterward? Most likely they get deleted, or stashed in a folder that your customer never looks at again. Real cards, on the other hand, get stuck up on the fridge or displayed on the mantle. The more your customer looks at your card, the more likely they are to call you or go to your website and bring you some more repeat business, so the longer the card stays up, the better.

Real cards give you the opportunity to include other things, such as business cards or brochures

Another advantage to real greeting cards that you don’t get with e-cards is the ability to tuck something else into the envelope with the card. For instance, a couple of your business cards (one for your customer, and an extra to give to someone else, to encourage recommendations) or a company brochure tucked into your greeting card can serve as a gentle reminder that you are available should they need your products or services.

The e-revolution is pretty exciting, we can’t deny that. Downloadable music, ebooks, email, and hey, even phone calls via the Internet — there are a lot of good things to take advantage of. But sometimes, traditional is better — and there are still many very good reasons why you should continue sending out real Christmas cards and greeting cards to your customers.

About the Author: Andy is a freelance writer and avid blogger. He often writes about topics relating to small businesses such as marketing strategies like using online marketing, traditional marketing tactics, and even business greeting cards.

Photo Credit: Matti Mattila

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