Ready or not, now is the time to be thinking about and planning for your holiday business cards.
If you wait until the last minute to start — like after Thanksgiving — sending your cards may become more of a displeasure than a pleasure and do harm to your holiday spirit. If you delay too long, your clients and colleagues may already have left the office for the holidays or they may be too swamped by then to notice your card.
Purchase a quality card. It is not necessary to spend a fortune, but good quality says you value your clients and colleagues enough to “send the very best.”
Order your cards while there is still time to have your name or the company’s printed on them. You want them to have a professional look and represent you in the best light.
Send your greetings early while they can be appreciated. Have them in the mail the first week in December if you want them to be noticed and appreciated. Beat the crowd and the holiday commotion.
Plan to sign your name and write a brief message. The holiday card that comes without a personal signature and a note seems more obligatory than celebratory. It does not matter that your name is already printed on the card. You may not want to hear this, but doing so is worth the effort if you want to establish a stronger business relationship.
Address the envelopes by hand. While it is easier and faster to print address labels, you lose the personal touch. Consider paying someone to do this for you if you don’t have the time to do it yourself.
Use titles when addressing your cards. The envelope should be addressed to “Mr. John Smith” not “John Smith” or “Ms. Mary Brown” not “Mary Brown.” By the way, “Ms.” is the correct title to use in business.
Invest in holiday stamps and avoid the postage meter. That’s just one more personal touch — and a festive one at that.
Email greeting cards may be tempting because they require less time and trouble. It’s not bad taste to email your holiday wishes, but it is impersonal and not the most effective way to do it.
Your cute and clever electronic message with singing Santa’s and dancing trees is a fleeting greeting. The recipient will click on the URL, download the card, open it, read it, close it and, in all probability, delete it.
Chances are good that your “real” card will have a longer lifespan. Most people save greeting cards throughout the holiday season, and many display them around the office.
One final tip: Address your envelopes as soon as you receive your order. If you do that right away, you can sit back and relax while you write your personal message on each one.
These tips for the holidays and many more can be found in my eBook, “Business Etiquette for the Holidays: Building Relationships amid the Perils of the Season.” This book also addresses appropriate conduct at the office party, holiday table manners, the gift-giving dilemma and who, when and how much to tip during the season.
Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, professional speaker, premier trainer and author. Contact her at 912-598-9812 or visit her at LydiaRamsey.com to leave a comment, ask a question or learn more about her programs and products.