It’s almost “that” time of year again: the Christmas holidays. Will you see this as an opportunity to reach out in a special way to your business associates—employees, co-workers, collaborators, investors, clients and customers? What might be the payoff in terms of the cost in time and money spent? If you decide to send out holiday greetings, you’ll need to make many decisions. Will you send real mailed cards, ecards, or both? Can you present yourself and your company in a positive way without being impersonal or spammy? What would be the most effective design, format, etc? If you are sending business holiday cards, but are not sure how to proceed with all of the above choices, you are not alone.
These are guidelines that will help you.
Appropriate or inappropriate? Businesses have been sending out Christmas cards for a long time. Often, they were sent to promote a brand. When sent correctly, they can augment your brand. But there are errors that could be fatal, actually making your business look less favorable. Over the years some etiquette and “do’s” and “don’t’s” have been developed. A few items are controversial, but at least the following list of considerations will provide you with confidence that all of the bases have been covered.
1. Your purpose
You first need to decide what is your purpose of sending a greeting. It’s best to just send a warm personal greeting and not include copy or advertising. Everyone wants to be appreciated. There might be an occasional instance where you would combine the greeting with a campaign or use it to show off a newly developed software.
2. Your recipient
Who will be receiving your greeting? Will it be a millennial or a more traditional person? The traditional person will appreciate a mailed card. The millennial an ecard. Usually your message and design should be non-denominational—a “season’s” greetings.
3. Your business card
Should you include a business card? Most experts say “no,” but advise a hand-written company name or company stamp after your hand-written signature.
4. Timing and address
It’s best to mail early—a week before Thanksgiving, but definitely not after December 15. Send the card to the colleague’s business address, unless you are also intimate out-of-the-office friends.
Hand write your signature, add a hand-written personalized message, and hand write the address on the envelope. Check for proper spelling. Include your hand-written return address so that the recipients know right away who it’s from and to be sure they have your most current address.
These are more environmentally friendly and less costly, but not as permanent and for some not personal. On the other hand, ecards are more sharable (over social networks), can contain a click thorough or call to action, contain associated metrics and are more readily customizable. There are plenty of sites to obtain stock photography, vector illustrations, clipart, audio files, video and animation. Ecards allow your company to try something that has more style and pop. With animation you can show more by telling a story.
You could choose to see this as an opportunity to not just remind your clients of who you are, but also remind them of how good you are at what you do. Homemade ecards showcase the web designer, image software expert and an email application or code. Personalize your corporate holiday e-cards as much as humanly possible, remembering to remain as inclusive as you can be, while still sticking to your corporate culture and personality. Keep things simple, fun and cheerful. Put the ecard on your own site and send out links to it in a personal email, or you could send it as an email itself as an attachment or URL.
Some other design and content considerations
1. Include assistants in your greetings list.
They are important people who deserve recognition and influence what their bosses see.
2. Stick to ‘Season’s Greetings’ and ‘Happy Holidays’ type sentiments.
You should also be very careful with humor making your greeting tasteful and of high quality.
3. You could try something experimental perhaps . . .
. . . like some really great code trick that you haven’t found a use for. But don’t let yourself get carried away—too many bells and whistles will start to look tacky.
4. Incorporate a donation to charity.
So that sending an ecard doesn’t look like you are trying to be cheap. The ecard modernizes a time honored tradition of sending cheerful season’s greetings to those who matter to us the most. And don’t forget that there are other holidays with possibilities to reach out with appropriate greetings.
Featured photo credit: http://www.shutterstock.com via shutterstock.com