Custom Holiday Cards: Helpful Tips to Boost Your Open Rate

Optimizing your holiday cards can help you boost your sales and customer relations.

The holidays are a busy time of year. Yet, the companies that take the time to show patrons how appreciated they are, specifically by sending custom holiday cards, often enjoy an even merrier quarter.

Custom business holiday cards are one more step you can take to build a solid relationship with your customers, which could lead to new business opportunities, referrals and increased sales. A card by itself may not result in a sale, but as part of a series of relationship-building tactics, they can be extremely effective. Here are some ways to make the most of your holiday message:

Send It Early
When Tami Belt launched her public relations firm Blue Cube Marketing Solutions, she says she sent out Thanksgiving cards to her clients and the media contacts to "express gratitude for their confidence and support throughout the year." Mailing it in November — not December — proved effective for her as well.

"[It] cut through the clutter of holiday cards by being the first one they received," Belt says. This holiday is also more inclusive, so you don't risk alienating some of your customers. "Thanksgiving cards are appropriate for all religions," she points out.

Make It Creative
Match the imagery and sentiment to your business and brand. If you sell children's clothing, incorporate a whimsical, kid-friendly style. A coffee shop might go for a warm and cozy image and message. And if you're an upscale interior designer, a streamlined, elegant card will likely come off better than a goofy one. Use photos you've taken yourself, or find colorful stock photos that reflect your message this holiday season.

Write It by Hand
You should consider including a hand-written, personalized note inside your holiday card, like Paige Arnof-Fenn, the founder and CEO of global marketing firm Mavens & Moguls, does. "Clients and prospects seem to genuinely appreciate the personalized approach," she says. "And every year, it has led to people contacting me upon receipt of their card with an email or phone call."

That follow-up can then lead to a coffee or lunch date to catch up, and possibly a discussion about business opportunities.

Enclose a Gift
Ory Owen, the director of marketing with Wilkinson Supply Company, sends gifts along with personalized holiday cards to the company's top customers as a way of expressing appreciation for their business. The feedback that the luxury kitchen and bath company receives from its customers is extremely positive. Personalizing a card and sending an accompanying gift is typically something that larger companies don't do — therefore, this is something that can set your business apart from the rest.

But above all, get those cards out there.

"Sending holiday cards either by mail or digitally keeps us top-of-mind and increases the number of times I communicate with a client without asking for something," Anetra Henry-Hunting at The Hunting Group advises. "It just makes them feel appreciated." That's the greatest gift businesses can give their customers.