Each year the holiday season seems to become more stressful. Despite the craziness associated with year end promotions and vacation schedules, it’s important for every organization to take a moment and say thank you. The customers, employees and vendors who have stuck with you over the past year should be recognized. Especially after this year!
You can do what everyone does, and fire off a thank you email. 15%-20% of your audience will open it, and you’re effort will be lumped together with the hundreds of other emails they receive that day.
Instead, why not send automated business holiday cards? It will take about the same time as preparing the thank you email, and you’ll stand out in a way that only physical media can provide.
By following business holiday card best practices, marketers can make a big impression on customers, partners, vendors and employees.
Traditional business holiday cards were a huge effort. Teams strapped for time while trying to juggle vacations, holidays and year end marketing pushes just found it easier to send out an email.
What’s changed? Direct mail automation tools now provide a fast, scalable way to send out postcards and letters to thank your most important constituents with something more than the standard email that everyone sends.
In today’s world of cluttered Inboxes (120 new emails per day / 8,000 message per inbox) and a constant barrage of digital disruptions, physical holiday cards give you a higher chance of getting attention.
The Data & Marketing Association reports that Direct mail response rate is 5.1% (compared to .6% email, .6% paid search, .2 online display, .4% social media). Direct mail response rate has been increasing year over year and with advances in direct mail tracking this trend is primed to continue.
When used effectively, business holiday cards are a great way to connect with employees, business partners, and clients. Use the tips below to ensure your holiday card campaign promotes your business and has a positive impact on your network connections.
With today’s automated “variable data” techniques, sending personalized business holiday cards is as simple as adding merge tags to an email. Even simple personalization such as “%First Name% goes a long way on printed media. You can get more advanced by adding dynamic text and images using “variable logic” techniques, and really segment your audience to deliver a strong holiday thank you message.
Year end is a traditional time to say “Thank You”. Many businesses use holiday cards to foster deeper relationships with customers, investors, business partners and employees. Instead of using the holiday card to ask the recipient to spend time with you, use it to thank them for their continued support and show you value the relationship.
Many marketers are now using holiday business cards with pURLs and QR Codes that drive recipients to a custom holiday landing pages designed to entertain, say thank you or to learn about a holiday promotion. You can even drop personalization tags into your landing pages to continue the “bespoke” experience you created on your personalized holiday card.
You are busy with next year’s planning and the Holiday card project is often the last thing you want to do. You dread the hours it takes sourcing a design, writing the cards, and packing the envelopes. While the drive to the post office isn’t always bad as you can listen to the radio and check out that new coffee shop, you don’t want to be frustrated by standing in a line for over an hour when you get there. Find a partner who will create the cards, print, stuff, stamp, mail and track them. New automation tools make the process fast and easy.
With today’s marketing automation and CRM integrations, its easy to send out messages using BOTH email and direct mail. Why bother? Statistics show that 72% of consumers state they prefer to connect with brands through multiple channels before making a purchase. Since integrated tools make it easy, why not take advantage?
Nothing shows you care more than the time you devote to a relationship. Use multi-channel marketing approaches to ensure that your business holiday cards resonate. When your mail is delivered (you’ll know this automatically with Postalytics), trigger an email and a call to go out over the next couple of days via your CRM or Marketing Automation. It’s a perfect time to schedule a year end summary call and perhaps discover some unused budget money for a last minute sale.
The holiday card isn’t the place to ask about budget or to attach a renewal. You don’t want your good deed to be overpowered by your sales talk. You want your customer to feel loved and not being loved so that they would buy. Make the sales talk part of a follow up call that is primarily focused on saying thank you.
Business holiday cards are most successful when you do a little planning. As seasonal mail volumes spike, it is important to plan your holiday card campaign well in advance. You want to make sure you have everything in order. Create a checklist of tasks, plan for everything from business addresses (ideally with mail zone) to the date your card is dropped in the mail to ensure timely delivery. Your direct mail automation software should be able to help you schedule your mailing well in advance. Believe me, it’s embarrassing if you find out your card didn’t arrive until January!
While you may think there’s one key decision maker the reality is that in today’s world 8+ stakeholders are involved in business decisions. Consider sending cards to the junior members of the team and it’s always a good idea to send cards to your customers’ assistant. The extra thought will go a long way, especially since assistants are usually in charge of scheduling meetings and forwarding messages.
Holiday cards are also a great way to signal employee appreciation. A personalized note shows each employee matters to you, and to the success of your business. They can also do wonders for boosting morale and creating a positive work environment.
Another way to break from the crowd is to send cards during different times of year or for different occasions. Send Thanksgiving or New Years cards, so you do not have to compete with all the other holiday cards. Send cards for occasions you know are important to your prospect, customer, partner e.g. graduation, anniversary, milestone. Direct mail gets noticed and delivers the best response. It’s not just for the holidays. What are you doing to promote Presidents club, other holidays, annual kickoff, QBR, events? The opportunities are endless…
Follow these business holiday card best practices and you’ll have a stress-free, relaxing time while you impress your audience.