We’ve all been recipients and senders of birthday, holiday and thank you greeting cards. We’ve seen the good and the bad, and are probably guilty of sending out a bad card or two to friends, family members, business associates and maybe even clients. Maybe the poor choice was unintentional, or maybe it was simply a lack of attention to detail. Either way, the bottom line remains that lackluster greeting cards are simply unacceptable in business relationships.
There are several things that can quickly qualify a greeting card as tacky or insincere, and it only takes one to ruin an otherwise perfect gesture. Like many forms of communication, the message of a greeting card can be easily misinterpreted if it’s not delivered the right way. Be sure to avoid these 7 things when sending greeting cards to your existing and potential customers, and ensure you send the right message!
1. Generic salutations: You know your customers by name on the phone and through email, so you should certainly know them by name in your personal messages. “Dear friend”, “Dear colleague”, “Dear customer”, and other generic salutations should always be avoided when you know your recipient's name. Personalizing the message is not only proper greeting card etiquette, it’s expected by recipients. (And rightfully so!)
2. Tacky phrases: There’s a time a place for the appropriate joke, but there’s never a time and place for tackiness. Choose your verbiage carefully, and when you’re unsure, always steer away from words or phrases that an average person may easily misconstrue.
3. False pretenses of thankfulness: If you’re sending a thank you note, send a thank you note -- Not a sales pitch about an additional product or a request for a meeting. While you want to maximize the business you get from each client, it’s not appropriate to seek additional profits in a thank you note. Even if you don’t intend to come across this way, customers can easily think that your pretense of thankfulness is just an excuse to bombard them about something else.
TIP: An acceptable way of suggesting additional products and/or services without specifically mentioning them is including a demonstration of them in your greeting card. For example, a graphic designer might include a custom cover image designed specifically for the client they’re reaching out to, and print the card on a custom paper that heightens the vibrance and effectiveness of the image. Without saying anything, you’re subtly selling your business and the services you can provide while strengthening rapport with your customer.
4. Replacing sincerity with humor: In today’s increasingly social and casual B2B and B2C atmosphere, many companies are making the mistake of replacing sincerity and appreciation with humor. Don’t forget that people still like to feel acknowledged and like their business is genuinely appreciated - especially when they had other businesses to choose from. A hand-written, sincere thank you note to a new customer not only demonstrates your tact and professionalism, it also communicates a tone of sincerity and relationship-oriented service.
5. Sloppy scribbles: Hand-written and hand-addressed thank you notes are wonderful for enhancing relationships with clients, but let’s face it, not all of us have John Hancock penmanship. If you do choose to hand-write your greeting cards, make sure your calligraphy is legible and professional.
6. Electronic signatures: Nothing bothers people more than feeling like they have a personal relationship with someone, only to have the opposite communicated with a copy machine signature. Even if you plan to type the text of your greeting cards, always sign them by hand. Always.
7. Low-quality envelopes: Thin, scratchy, poorly-made envelopes convey a message of sloppiness, even if the message inside is perfect. Your office stationery is an important professional image enhancer, and should be treated as such. Don’t skimp on the quality of products that deliver messages from you to your customers.
Avoiding these seven serious greeting card missteps may not solve all your business issues, but it will help you build stronger relationships with your customers. What’s more important than that?!
Ready to start learning more about designing, printing and mailing custom greeting cards that will help you grow your business? Click the link below to contact a Spectrum Printing representative about greeting card ideas and solutions!