The holidays are an important time for everyone — including small businesses. For many businesses, this is the last best chance at ending the year with strong sales, so connecting with customers and clients during this time of year is clutch. Fortunately, the holidays have a built-in way to engage directly with those who matter most: cards.
Holiday cards are an affordable and effective way to reach the most important people to business success: customers, clients, investors, partners, employees and other stakeholders. However, before you buy and send the first holiday cards you can find, you should learn the following dos and don’ts, which will ensure your cards are well-received:
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DON’T: Give Everyone the Same Generic Message
A card reading only “Season’s Greetings from Acme Inc” is immediately destined for the recycling bin. Though not every business sends its employees and customers holiday cards, you want to stand out from the few that do with a message that makes each recipient feel special. If you have a short list of recipients, you should consider handwriting a personal note on every card. Otherwise, you might choose to provide some detail about how recipients have helped your organization over the past year or the specific goals you have for the coming months. If you need help with what to write in holiday cards for clients and employees, you can find tips and tricks online.
DO: Consider an Inclusive Holiday Greeting
Christmas is the most popular winter holiday, but it isn’t the only one. Hanukkah, Rohatsu, Solstice, Yule, Kwanza and too many other religious holidays to name occur around the same period. Even setting aside holidays celebrated by practitioners of other religions, Christians celebrate not just Christmas but various saints’ days and other holy feasts as well as New Year’s. Thus, instead of singling out just one holiday, it can be faster and easier to offer well-wishes for the entire season with an inclusive holiday greeting, such as:
DON’T: Use the Wrong Spelling or Grammar
Whenever you send out any marketing, you should double- and triple-check it for typos, spelling errors and grammar mistakes. Unfortunately, holiday cards can be particularly tricky on the punctuation front, with a number of difficult spots for commas and apostrophes. Here are some hard and fast rules to keep your holiday cards error-free:
- Names rarely need apostrophes. Neither plural family names, like the Bashirs, nor family names that end in “s,” like the Jones Family, should use an apostrophe (unless the family owns something, like the Bashirs’ cat or the Joneses’ house).
- Season’s Greetings and New Year’s need apostrophes.
- Sign-offs need commas, but salutations do not. You do not separate a salutation with a comma, but you can end the phrase with one: “Dear Keiko,” is correct. However, you do separate a sign-off with a comma: “Sincerely, Benjamin.”
- “It’s,” with the apostrophe, means “it is.” The other way, “its,” is a possessive form of the pronoun. Whenever you see the apostrophe, translate “it is” silently to yourself.
DO: Invest in a Unique Card Design
As tempting as it might be to pick up a standard pack of holiday cards from Target — or order the mos popular design you see online — you should try to be a bit more distinctive with your holiday card design. If you don’t want to commission a graphic designer to make your holiday cards truly unique, you can at least include special photos of your executive staff or employees to pre-designed cards online. This shows you put more than the minimum thought and effort into your cards, which recipients will appreciate.
DON’T: Forget Your Audience
Every action a business takes should be driven by a goal — so what is your goal in sending holiday cards? For many businesses, holiday cards are meant to build brand loyalty and trust with the most important stakeholders. However, regardless of what your goal is, you need to be certain that your cards include the elements necessary to achieve it. This might mean you need to include company swag with the cards, attach holiday bonuses, advertise holiday promotions or do something else.
DO: Be Sincere
The last thing you want to do during the holiday season is spread cynicism. Your good tidings and well-wishes should be heartfelt and genuine — if they aren’t, your recipients will be able to tell, and your cards and company credibility will go straight into the trash. Sincerity is difficult to fake, so you should work up your true feelings when crafting your holiday cards.
Like everyone else, businesses need to celebrate the winter holidays. Cards are an excellent way to keep your company top-of-mind with important stakeholders like clients, partners, employees and more — but you need to make sure your cards stand out for the best reasons every holiday season.