Sending holiday cards is a great way to spread good cheer and thank your customers and partners — and while you're at it, show off your excellent taste and attention to detail. Finding a card that strikes the right tone and getting it sent to the right recipients can be a challenge during the hectic year-end crunch. Follow these steps and you may be dropping your picture-perfect cards in the mail earlier than ever!
Organize your recipient list
A good list is a complete list. Updating the list throughout the year makes holiday time much less frantic, but even if you haven't made regular updates, you can quickly get it into shape now. Referring to your mailing list, invoicing list and calendar will help get you up-to-date. Also ask managers, sales reps, project leads and any other customer-facing co-workers to make additions or edits to the list. Check that names are spelled correctly and that titles are up to date.
Pick a provider that caters to businesses
Going with a business-focused printer or provider often gives you a greater selection of business-friendly card designs, as well as better customer service, higher-quality materials, and a faster turnaround on your order. Look for customization options that will let you design the card you want. For example, you may be able to upload images for the card's interior — you could include your company logo or a photo from your business as a way to make the card more memorable to customers. A good provider will let you view the card in PDF format to see how the design will look in print, so be sure to try before you buy.
Choose the right image
Aim for graphics that reflect the image you want to convey to your customers and partners — a clean, modernist design might be the right choice for some, while a traditional scene might work better for others. Many providers offer industry-specific themes, which might help your holiday card stand out among the array of others your customers are sure to get this year.
Say "thanks" in your message
Your holiday card carries more than just wishes for a good season — it also conveys a message of gratitude for a customer's loyalty and business. So whatever else you choose to write on the inside of your card, make sure "thank you" is part of it.
Figure out who (if anyone) is going to sign each card
Holiday greetings remind clients that you value their business, and a personal note from someone they know will reinforce that message. Nabbing those signatures doesn't have to be a big project. In an informal poll of Staples Business Advantage customers, office managers listed a number of efficient ways that they get signatures. The business owner or department head could pen "from all of us here" above his or her name, or you might call the principal customer-facing employees together for a signing session (hint: promise donuts). In some cases, the office managers sort the card recipients by which department or team works most closely with them, and have just that team provide signatures.
Consider your envelope
Save time (and keep your writing hand from cramping up!) by using stick-on return address labels or a stamp. If you don't have either on hand, place an order as soon as you can so it arrives by the time your cards come in.
A quality card provider will have self-stick envelopes to streamline the process. Decorative envelope seals may also be a nice touch if you have time to add them. Just make sure the color and design you choose harmonize with the look of the card you've selected.
Send your cards out early
This is a winning move for two reasons. One, your cards get more attention if they arrive slightly ahead of the pack, so beat the rush by mailing them by the first week of December or even the last day of November. And two, when you get your cards out early, you can pat yourself on the back and cross the job off your to-do list before the tsunami of the holiday rush hits.