It’s about to be that time of year…when the mailboxes begin to overflow with Thanksgiving cards followed by Christmas, Hanukkah and holiday cards.
Some people consider sending a Thanksgiving card so they can stand out from all the Christmas or Holiday cards that will hit in December.
I totally get it.
If you are going to take the time to have a card printed and mailed you want to make sure those receiving it actually pay attention to it.[After reading this article, check out the Stacey Brown Randall Live Show (Episode 11) where I look closer at Holiday and Thanksgiving cards and why you need to change your thinking on the type of cards you send.]
Except sending a card on another holiday to avoid an even larger holiday doesn’t really work…unless you make sure your Thanksgiving card (or any holiday card) has two critical factors in place that will allow it to have the desired effect. The desired effect is the reason why you sent it in the first place…for people to pay attention to it and connect it back to you as the sender of the card.
But for people to pay attention to it and connect it to you – it has to get their attention so they stop long enough and recognize that someone took time with the card before it was sent out.
It used to be that only a few Thanksgiving cards would arrive in the mail so any type of card could garner some attention – a moment of pause as the person looked over the card and acknowledged it was from you (even if they didn’t tell you they received it).
But times have changed and unfortunately, most people go for fast and simple versus memorable and meaningful. But if you are going to take the time and spend the money to send out a card, don’t you want it to be worth it?
So, here are the two factors you need to incorporate in your Thanksgiving cards (and Christmas/Hanukah or any holiday card).
1. Aim to Make the Card Stand Out
Truth is it doesn’t take much to make your card stand out. Any photo-based or handmade card is better than the generic pack of 24 that you will buy at the store (sorry Hallmark). So, don’t think that standing out is hard because you can make a card stand out even in a card-intense holiday like Christmas. Even though your Thanksgiving card won’t find itself as crowded in the mailbox like it would at Christmas you do need to apply the same mentality to your Thanksgiving card because sending cards in November has become more crowded over the years.
I opt to send a Christmas card (instead of Thanksgiving cards) and I aim for my card to stand out through the use of a family photo. The card features my husband and three kids (plus me of course). For the past few years I have upped my creative game by incorporating a theme to make sure my cards are noticed and ultimately make the holiday card display in my clients’ homes.
Because through the card you are able to connect with me on a different level – not as a referral and client experience guide or as a business coach – but as a wife and mom. Because remember – when it comes to trust-based products and services or products and services that are sold through the know, like and trust factor…people buy from people (not businesses). Showing your “human” side is good business because people actually like knowing (and sometimes being reminded) that you are a whole person and more than just the work you do.
It is also hard to toss a card with a photo of some cute kids. Or dogs (and cats). Or any photo of real people because the people in it gives the card meaning. You don’t need a spouse and a bunch of kids to show your human side…quite the contrary. Your clients want to know you…the other side of you…the “non-work” side. Now you have to decide how much you want to reveal but if sending out a card of my hot husband and my adorable kids makes someone upset with me, than in reality they are not the type of clients I want. You shouldn’t either.
Here are three examples:
Dogtopia Charlotte, owned by Nicole Odom, took the family concept to a whole new level and had a picture taken of her family, her employees and their pets. It was a smashing success!
The Produce Box is a NC-based company that delivers local produce direct to your door every week. Here is their card featuring the different local farmers that are supported through customers – like me – using their service. It is a nice touch to be thanked by the farmers since one of the reasons many people participate in The Produce Box service is to help the local community of farmers.
Here is my 2015 Christmas Card…while I love our 2016 “super hero” themed Christmas card…2015 holds a special place in my heart because it was the first card showing off we had become a family of 5 (in the summer of 2015 we took custody of our nephew) and the whole family was willing to go along with my theme idea. It is also the one card I fear every year I can’t out-do. (Not going to lie…the theme for 2017 is stressing me out…I welcome all suggestions.)
So, don’t send an average, generic card for Thanksgiving that has no personality just because you feel that because less mail is received on Thanksgiving that it will be noticed more. That’s just lazy and you’re better than that.
Don’t also send average, generic cards for any holiday!
2. Sign Your Name
Now I will admit I don’t sign our Christmas cards by hand but I get away with it because I work really hard to nail the first point above…making the card stand out. So, because of that effort I get some latitude on this second point.
But if you really want people to pause when they read your card – and not immediately trash it – sign your name. As in handwritten, in ink. Better yet, add a personal note to the receiver. If you think you have too many cards to send out and can’t imagine signing your name (or adding a personal note) to all of them, then circle back to point #1 above. Nailing point #1 gives allows you to skip the need for factor #2.
My parents used to do this…every Christmas my family would sit down and pass cards as we signed them. The cards were the generic ones – as the infamous family photos cards of today were not a thing back in the 80s and 90s. But you knew when you received one that we had all taken time to sign them – sometimes in different ink.
If you want your card to be worth the trouble by really having the intended impact then you need to avoid being generic and focus on making your card stand out by being memorable and meaningful.
This isn’t rocket science – I know. But in the drive for efficiency we are robbing our clients and referral sources of an experience they need so they can connect with us and develop a stronger relationship with us. And I think – as clients and referral sources – they deserve a better experience. You should too.
Now granted one card – holiday card or not – is just that…but when it is a part of a greater system to cultivate referral source relationships through connections and stay top of mind, every touch point matters.
So ask yourself…
Do your touch points matter?
If I asked your referral sources, how would they answer?