As Christmas approaches, many companies begin to prepare their Christmas cards for clients, customers, employees, and other business associates. While it may seem like a simple thing, there are a lot of considerations regarding what is and isn’t appropriate, as well as the method of delivery.
You need to select an appropriate design and message that properly reflects the sentiment you are trying to express. If it is too salesy, it may be quickly discarded as just another ad while impersonal cards may not have the affect you desire.
Since the selection of an appropriate holiday greeting can be challenging, and business communications require a different type of etiquette than those you would send personally, we have gathered some tips to help you. Here are seven things you should keep in mind when sending business Christmas (or holiday) cards this season.
1. Avoid Family Photos.
Business communications and family photos should not mix. Stick with a more professional design even if you have a family-owned and -operated business. This is an area where including a photo of your family may feel too intimate, especially for business associates that you rarely meet (or have never met) in person.
2. Don’t Forget the Return Address.
The return address allows the recipient to easily identify who sent the card before they even open it. Without a return address it may be difficult to determine who sent the card, especially if it is not clearly noted on the card itself. Since part of the purpose of sending holiday cards is to build a rapport with your business associates, ensuring they know who the sender is is a little step that can go a long way.
3. Limit Sales Talk.
Unless you intend your Christmas cards to actually be marketing materials, it is better to limit the sales talk. Otherwise, your token of appreciation can easily look like any other solicitation.
Holiday cards are meant to solidify business relationships and express appreciation. This isn’t necessarily an appropriate time to specifically aim at generating sales. However, a note indicating that you look forward to continuing the business relationship into the New Year, or to serving your customer’s or client’s needs, is an acceptable way to express the idea without being overt.
4. Use Regular Mail over Digital.
An actual card sent through the mail is always preferable over digital, or Ecard, versions. When possible, choose this route over any other. If you have a large number of cards to send or have budgetary constraints, then consider the nature of your relationship with your business associates. You may find that those with which you have a strong relationship are worth the extra effort and cost.
Ecards are more likely to be deleted by accident, or even simply ignored. While the use of Ecards may be the most cost-effective method, it doesn’t deliver the same impression as an actual card.
5. Add a Personal Touch.
Pre-printed cards are more economical when sending them en masse. However, make sure to include a personal touch when sending the card. At a minimum, take the time to sign each card by hand. It is also wise to add a small note thanking your business associate for something specific that occurred during the past year. This helps cement the relationship as you have expressed appreciation in a meaningful way.
6. Avoid Points of Controversy.
Your business should choose cards that eliminate the chance of offending the recipient. Often, this involves choosing a secular design over one that speaks to a specific religion, such as a “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” card over one that specifically says “Merry Christmas.”
Additionally, be careful with humor or messages that may seem too intimate. Humor can be misinterpreted, or even seem offensive to some, and a message that falls into the realm of too personal may make the recipient uncomfortable.
7. Send Them Now.
All holiday cards should be received before the New Year whenever possible. Since mailing times can shift during busy postal periods, it is better to get these out as quickly after Thanksgiving as possible. That gives them plenty of time to reach the recipient and increases the likelihood they will be opened before the holiday season is over.