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Making Cards Count

What a day,” Pete thought well into the third day of clouds and drizzle, “This can’t be Arizona”. Pete was having a bad week. “People say bad things happen in threes, well the washer won’t work, and the computer is infected, what will be number three?” thought Pete as he approached the mailbox.

“What’s this? The return address looks familiar.” Pete opened the envelope and “Wow, a birthday card. I forgot my birthday was coming up,” thought Pete brightly.

Have you ever received an unexpected card? Did it do more than brighten your day? Knowing that people are thinking of you is meaningful; it raises your spirit and adds to your self-worth.

For a business, sending a greeting card provides a unique opportunity to solidify your connection to your customer. Sending a card does more than cheer your customer. Sending a card shows your appreciation, it generates goodwill and a sense of appreciation.

What is the best time to send a card to your customers? There is no answer that fits all businesses. The Thanksgiving through New Year’s holiday season is always appropriate, but to avoid being lost in the crowd, send your cards early. Send a “Thanksgiving – New Year’s” card timed to arrive about a week before Thanksgiving Day or send a holiday card timed to arrive early the following week. Not only will you not be lost in the crowd, but you will extend the longevity of your card into January.

Depending on the nature of your business, there are many additional opportunities to send a greeting card. Perhaps to recognize a business milestone or anniversary, or a personal anniversary or birthday. If the nature of your business consists of fewer, large purchases, certainly both a thank-you card and a card to recognize a purchase anniversary are appropriate occasions to send a card. One often overlooked occasion is the “No Occasion” card; what a great way to show customer appreciation.

What to Do Right

While sending greeting cards do have an associated cost, generating a positive return-on-investment (ROI) is easy. Here are the most important things to do.

First and most importantly, design your greeting card program – yes, the whole approach, design it! Decide to whom you will be sending cards, who will sign the cards and how and when they will be mailed. Put some thought into the card and the message. It is better to send fewer quality cards and messages to your best customers and prospects than to send an obvious mass mailing.

Have your cards custom designed. A custom design shows that you value the greeting. Be sure that your card includes your branding on the front (your branding will then be present as long as the card is displayed). On the back of the card, be sure to include your contact information for easy reference.

Make sure that your card is printed professionally on a quality stock. A poorly printed card on an inexpensive paper says “cheap.” That is not the message you want to send.

Include a personal handwritten note in each card using the name of the recipient. This demonstrates the value that you place on your relationship with the recipient.

Use a handwritten address on the envelope. Nothing says “open me” more than a handwritten envelope. Mail the card using a stamp. Using a stamp shows the personal attention applied to the greeting, using a meter (or, worse, a permit indicia) removes that personal touch.

Consider including an exclusive offer with the card. This will help your customer to feel special, cementing your relationship.

If you are considering sending a holiday card, right now is the time to get started. You should allow two weeks for the design and printing of a holiday card. Printing early will allow you to add personal notes and addressing envelopes without being rushed.

Whether you are preparing a holiday greeting card, a custom thank-you or birthday card, we can help. Just call and talk with one of our customer service personnel. FBN

By Ed Goodwin

Ed Goodwin spent more than 30 years working  as an engineer and analyst before finding his true calling as a small business owner. He and his wife Betty love using their skills and expertise to help others succeed in their calling.

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