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Stay Top of Mind By Sharing Your Gratitude with Holiday Greetings

The holidays are arguably one of the busiest times of the year, but it’s the perfect time to strengthen customer relationships and share your thanks for the past year.

Perhaps an unpopular opinion, but I think sending #holidaycards at the end of the year is not passé. It’s essential if you truly want to build a relationship and engage with your customers and clients.

At the end of the year, I traditionally take a look back at how I measured up to the goals I set and create new ones; identify and relish my top accomplishments, and most importantly, think about those who have helped me and/or made an impact on my life or business. This always leads me to send out holiday cards.

For #smallbusinesses and #entrepreneurs, a holiday card is a great way to strengthen customer relationships and share our thanks. It says, "Thank you for your business this year," and keeps your brand top-of-mind as we transition into the new year. It can even have the power to convince a client with whom expectations fell short, that you deserve a second chance. One holiday card I sent even led to a new business referral.

A word of caution, before you go out and buy cards. Be sincere about your intentions. A halfhearted effort or one done out of obligation will come across as disingenuous. You want to ensure that you’re authentic with your #gratitude and best wishes. I also recommend sending cards over emails if possible.

Here are 6 tips for making the biggest impact with your brand and sharing your gratitude with a holiday card:

Tip #1 Keep It Professional and On Brand. Remember every communication you send should be a reflection of your brand and small business. This is a chance to include your logo, website, and contact detail. Don’t forget the quality of the paper stock either. Choose something that looks and feels nice. You never know how long it may sit on your customers’ desks, which could influence future business. This is also one reason I like traditional cards over email greetings. Recipients recognize the time and care you’ve taken in picking a card, including a personal message and dropping it into the mail. Emails can be forgotten five minutes after they’re opened or missed altogether in the flood of holiday messages.

Tip #2 Secular

Keep it secular. You want to keep your message simple but also ensure that your greetings are appreciated by all, no matter what holiday they may celebrate.

Image idea: Consider a picture of your employees with the message “Happy Holidays to All of Our Valued Customers.” Include your logo and contact information. Not only will it remind them of your business, but it can put names to faces.

Tip #3 Make It Timely.

I get it, December gets busy, especially if you’re a retail business owner. If sending out a holiday card seems impossible, consider going with a New Year’s card. Not only will you still be thanking customers and clients for their business in the past year, but you can express how you’re looking forward to seeing them again in the next.

Note: If you do choose this route, make sure your message is focused on a New Year’s message vs. holiday or your customers may think your cards were an afterthought.

Tip #4 Pace Yourself.

You may not be able to finish all of your cards done in one day – and that’s OK. I have to break my list into manageable quantities too. Try sorting your list by your top customers and work on these first and then address some of your smaller clients. If possible, you should send one to each of your customers.

And don’t forget your distributors, networking contacts, and colleagues. Some may have come through for you in a pinch, shared advice that turned the tide in a tough negotiation or made a referral. Nurture and appreciate those contacts. They can help support your business all year long.

Tip #5 Include a Handwritten Note and Don’t forget to Sign it.

Remember sending cards is more about sharing your thanks and continuing to strengthen your relationships than it is about promoting your business or making a sales pitch.

This tip is critical in my opinion. Try handwriting a line or two thanking each recipient for their business and/or support over the last year. Be as specific as possible.

Yes, this takes extra time, but I promise that a personalized message will go a long way with the recipient. You’ll make them feel special and they will appreciate the attention to detail and your genuine gratitude.

Don’t forget to sign your cards. It sounds like a no-brainer, but doing so makes an impression. If you leave off your signature or have one preprinted, recipients can feel less important or that it’s impersonal. From my own experience, I can't tell you how disappointed I feel when I simply get a photo card that doesn't even have a signature. Sure, I appreciate that I was thought of, but do they even know that the card was sent to me?

Tip #6 Close with a Call to Action

Close with a Call to Action. This is not required, but consider it especially if you’re an entrepreneur or service provider, and comfortable doing so.

Your "call to action" can be an offer to meet for coffee (or something similar) in the new year. It can strengthen a relationship, keep the lines of communication going, and boost your business.

Appreciation and gratitude go a long way in building long-lasting relationships. Holiday cards are also a great way to get your #brand and business in front of your valued #customers one last time before the new year approaches, and keep you #topofmind in the new year.

I hope this inspires you to consider a holiday or New Year’s card this season. Let me know what you think in the comments or if you have additional tips to share.


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