Autumn is here, which around here means football, working on our Halloween costumes, and football (not necessarily in that order). But it also means the holidays are just around the corner, and with it one of the most overlooked opportunities in marketing: the company holiday card. Most companies neglect to put more than a passing thought into their card, if indeed they send one at all. Yet this single communication can have a greater impact than almost any other piece of content you produce the entire year.
’Tis the season to be marketing. All year long brands strive to create compelling content that will be shared with others. Well, holiday cards are usually displayed on your customer’s desk or in the lobby of your client for a month or even longer. And if you’ve seen the generic store-bought cards that usually get sent by your competitors, you can start to see the incredible opportunity to stand out with even just a little bit of creativity. While your sales-driven marketing efforts may get customers through your door and onto your website during the busy holiday season, your holiday card can deepen your relationship in a way that will impact your business all year long.
Your holiday card isn’t an ad. The best holiday card is the one that’s in line with your brand and can advance your positioning. But it’s also your chance to display your personality in a way that’s not always possible on your website or other materials and a chance to do something really unique. Keep in mind your audience. While your regular marketing is usually focused on obtaining new customers, your holiday mailing list is likely comprised of current customers who know you best. Your holiday card is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge your customers, let them know they’re appreciated, and to engage them in anticipation of the new year.
Beat the holiday rush. Most companies who send out a card do it at the last minute and grab something off the shelf. By sending your card out at the beginning of the season, you ensure your card is displayed for weeks instead of just days, exposing your brand not just to your immediate client but to their co-workers, boss, customers, partners and anyone else who comes by.
The gift of more business. Your holiday card mailing can even be a part of a larger outreach strategy. Instead of sending out a direct mail piece that might get thrown in the recycling bin without being looked at, a holiday card is sure to be opened and read, if not kept. If your card is truly noteworthy, your client will remember it the next time you call. We can’t count the number of times we’ve received compliments on our holiday cards when reaching out to clients during the holiday season; a savvy marketer would plan to follow up their mailing with phone calls to their clients, just as they would follow up a direct mail campaign with further outreach.
By making your card unique to your brand instead of just another generic holiday message, you can bring your brand back to the top of your client’s mind and stay there. Don’t be afraid to spend more on unique printing techniques, packaging or ways of making your card more dimensional and tactile. The added investment will be more than returned in engagement.