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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Business Christmas Cards? More Humbug!

Father Christmas Tells Me He Doesn't Need Marketing If you remember in our last post about Christmas Cards For Customer Relations I asked,

"..are we right to send all those Christmas cards out?"

Let me explain what I mean...

The Road To Business Hell Is
Paved With Good Intentions

 Your cards are all sent with a good business intention. Which is
making sure you are in your customer or prospects mind, at least
once during the year.

Making your customer think of you to get TOMA, or top of the mind awareness is a good goal. Right?

Yes and no...

Business is all about building a relationship so that people
trust you enough to buy from you and continue doing so. Just
sending them a card at Christmas is not maintaining much of a
relationship is it?

You can find plenty of advice about choosing exactly the right
Christmas card, the "personalised message", the envelope even how to address the envelope. And this timely advice often seems to come from printers who always have a stock of Christmas cards
that match their advice!

These are all tactical suggestions. The more astute business
considers the aim of all customer contact and the Christmas card
as one element of it.

The Christmas card should be part of ongoing communications with your customers or prospects. It shouldn't be order, invoice and then 9 months later a Christmas card.

What Should A Christmas Card Contain?

Assuming you've decided on your overall customer communication strategy you need to decide exactly how you want to use a Christmas, or other holiday, message to fit in with it.

As part of your strategy a Christmas card may be all the good
things that printers and everyone else advises. Or you could send
your Christmas message in a different way.

What's The Difference The Astute
Business Person Uses?

What about a Christmas letter summarising what's been happening over the last 12 months?

The letter can be written as a standard letter each year and straight from the heart of the business owner.

Add one or two sections for each customer to give you the opportunity to make specific points and invite them to specials offers.

For example...

Dear Colin,

Standard and interesting introductory passage like:

"...Well here we are it's Christmas time again and we're all
looking forward to it at Acorn Service. We're feeling particularly
festive since our web designer, Donny, has just inserted bits of
holly all over our web site.

We hope your Christmas party goes with a bang and you get plenty
of mince pies to eat..."

First customer-specific section such as:

"... Do you remember when we managed to implement that new
marketing campaign last May and we got that staggering amount of new business? The last calculation we did was that it moved an
extra £82,000 in sales. And thanks again for that bottle of
champagne you bought the team it was appreciated."

More news ... of interest...

Then another customer-specific section like:

"... As a Christmas present to you we know you were questioning the cost of advertising so we'd like to offer you a free review of your highest priced current advertising piece. With the aim of helping bring your cost of lead generation down.

So a happy Christmas from all of us at Acorn Service ..."

A real letter is a much more intimate and meaningful
communication with your customers and prospects.

It's certainly more likely to be kept after Christmas compared to one of the many cards that end up being thrown away when the business stops work for Christmas.

In my next post on Business Christmas cards I'll give you a few things you can put in to help get your message to your customers and prospects.  

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