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As we enter the thick of the holiday season, it’s time to make a final decision on what your business will do regarding holiday greeting cards. Whether it’s a time-honored tradition in your corporation or it’s the first time you’ve considered it, you must ensure everyone is in agreement and you aren’t falling for the mistakes other companies too frequently make.

Determining your aim

Before exploring some of the common gaffes and mistakes, it’s important that you have the foundation of your holiday card campaign secure. Do you have a purpose behind sending cards? In most situations, you will send cards to one or more of the following categories:

  • Clients and customers. This is probably the largest and most popular segment – especially in B2B businesses. Sending holiday greeting cards to your customer base can be a great way to show them you care. It also keeps you fresh on their mind when the New Year begins and it’s time to begin doing business again.
  • Business partners. It’s also a popular practice for many companies to send holiday cards to their business partners as a sign of appreciation and respect. These cards tend to be more personalized but serve the same purpose as the cards you would send to customers. The key focus is remaining relevant and being visible.
  • Investors. Your investors should always be given a token of appreciation at the end of the year. A personalized holiday card can continue to foster and deepen your relationship by mentioning how much you appreciate their financial and emotional support.
  • Employees. Don’t underestimate the power of sending holiday cards to employees. It shows appreciation and can go a long way in encouraging them to come back in the New Year refreshed and ready to work hard.

What not to do

While the idea of sending holiday cards sounds great in theory, the truth is that many companies blunder when it comes to execution. As a result, your simple gesture of gratitude and appreciation can turn into an unfortunate nightmare. Let’s take a look at some of the major mistakes businesses make and help you understand what not to do this holiday season.

  • Don’t forget the basics. It’s amazing how many companies don’t take the time to ensure their contact information is up to date and active. If you’re going to send out dozens, hundreds, or thousands of cards, make sure names are spelled appropriately, addresses are correct, and there are no duplicate entries.
  • Don’t procrastinate. Depending on the amount of cards you need, it can take time to get your order ready. Avoid procrastinating and purchase holiday greeting cards ahead of time, if possible. Not only will it ensure you get them on time, but the extra time will allow you to write personal notes if you desire. Once you get the cards, don’t procrastinate on sending them out. It’s ideal to send your cards right after Thanksgiving or in early December.
  • Don’t make a sales pitch. Holiday cards are one of the only chances your business has to do something that isn’t focused on making a sale. When sending cards out, don’t overstep your boundaries. While you want to make sure your name and business are clearly visible, that should be it. The rest of the card should make no mention of your business and should simply be a holiday greeting.
  • Don’t leave out the gatekeepers. While you may do business with one individual, who is it that really controls your relationship? In many cases, it is your client or partner’s assistant. It’s a good idea to send a card to both parties. This small token of appreciation can go a long way in the future.
  • Don’t follow the crowd. Odds are, you aren’t sending a holiday card to simply blend in. Hone in on your target market and choose a holiday card that stands out and makes a statement. For example, if you know the people you are sending cards to have a religious affiliation and celebrate Christmas, don’t be afraid to send Christmas cards. Most businesses will be afraid to make religious references, but it can be extremely effective and heartfelt when you know who is on the receiving end. (Minted.com is a good online resource for ordering customized cards.)
  • Don’t overlook personalization. While it’s not a requirement, a personal touch is certainly important. Even writing something as simple as “Thank You” or “Best Wishes” can show you care enough to take the time to address the recipient. If possible, handwrite their name on the card and reference a personal anecdote.
  • Don’t forget the rest of the year. While greeting cards are certainly popular during November and December, don’t let that stop you from reaching out on other holidays. Sending cards at times when nobody else does can really make you stand out.

Don’t let this list overwhelm you, but do let it serve as a reminder that sending holiday cards takes some time and effort. By doing things the right way, you will reap the benefits in the future.

Originally published at All Business

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