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Are Holiday Cards Worth The Effort?

During the holiday season, one question that many small business owners ask is, “Are holiday cards worth the effort?”

As with many things, the answer is, “It depends”. Let’s take Christmas as example. It’s certainly the one holiday that seems to get the most attention. Opinions naturally vary, but I believe that sending Christmas greetings is one of the less effective uses of your marketing dollars. The problem is that these cards arrive by the dozens and the individual benefit is thus negligible.

However if you do send Christmas cards you want to make sure to avoid making same glaring mistakes.

This year I received a holiday card from one of my insurance providers. Nothing terribly unusual about that. The front of the card had the standard message of Seasons Greetings. However in a typeface that must have been at least twice as large as the greeting was embossed “From Your Friends At ABC Insurance”.

We all realize that businesses send out holiday cards more for pragmatic mercantile reasons than for any other reason, but one wants to be a bit subtler than having your company name emblazoned on the front of the card.

Another insurance company (and my intent is not to pick on that particular industry) sent a fairly nice, albeit innocuous, holiday card with not one but two business cards enclosed between the folds. Again, including your business card with your holiday greeting smacks a bit of overt promotion. I can certainly understand anyone who wants to get as much business development benefit from their holiday mailings as possible but including your card does tend to send a message of desperation.

Anyway, as I say, I’m not a big fan of Christmas holiday cards in general. Mailing a card is approaching $1 per card, which makes send out a thousand of them a not-minor expense. Personally my advice would be that if you want to send out holiday cards, pick Thanksgiving as the holiday of choice. This year I received over 85 Christmas cards. I’d be hard pressed to tell you sent me one or who didn’t. However, during the Thanksgiving holiday I got 9 cards. Each was opened, read and remembered.

The key with any type of marketing initiative, whether it is a sales letter or a holiday card is to have it assist you and your business in becoming remembered. The unfortunate reality is that far too often our good intentions don't yield many tangible results largely because we get “lost in the shuffle”. That’s why you won't get a Christmas card from me, but a Thanksgiving best wishes is far more likely to arrive in your mailbox.

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