The idea of sending holiday cards to customers is mixed when you research it -- this article from Small Business Trends, for example, is careful to tell you what NOT to do when sending holiday cards to clients. Between mobile, digital, and traditional mail -- not to mention email marketing, which is obviously an aspect of “digital” -- people get 100's of holiday cards every November/December. It can be a valuable strategy for your business, though. You just need to make sure you stand out among the 242 other holiday cards they may receive in different mediums.
How do you do that?
Use Field Service Management (FSM) Software
Ah-ha! You think field service management software is only for running your business? No. It’s for the fun stuff too, like sending holiday cards to clients. Let’s say you’re predominantly paper-based still. If you want to send holiday cards, here’s the issue: your data on clients is probably everywhere, and to send the holiday cards, you need to get it all together (time-consuming) and then hand-write everything (also time-consuming). Remember: you’re doing this while you’re also running your business day-to-day. Finding the time is hard.
With FSM integration, all your customer information is already available. You have their physical address and can mail-merge to create labels, and you also (in all likelihood) have their email address. Those can be loaded into a program such as Paperless Post to create solid email holiday cards. You have two options, and you can grab everything right from the software package you’re using day-to-day anyway.
If Traditional Mail: Stand Out
This would involve cool-looking envelopes, nice stationery, or some personal touch -- maybe a small Starbucks gift card or movie pass. Handwrite an aspect of the card, but keep it fairly generic. Wish them the best for 2017. Remember what we said above: most of your clients will get 100's of these in a two-week span in December. So, you want to stand out.
If Email: Strong Subject Line
This is really important. If your subject line is generic -- i.e. “Happy holidays from (company name)!” -- no one will open it. If they have a Gmail account, there’s a good chance their “Promotions” tab (where email marketing goes) will have 11 emails at the same time in it with that subject line. You want to create a subject line that will catch attention. 2016 was a rough year for many with divisive politics and celebrity passing’s, so you could try something like “2016 wasn’t great, but you are!” (a little cheesy) or “2016 was … well, we’re excited about 2017!” These are subject lines with a greater chance of being opened. Maybe give them an offer to redeem inside the email, and then you can monitor the click-through rate.
In Both Cases: Send by December 10th
That’s just logistical. The way the calendar is this year, December 19th is a Monday. That week and the following week (12/26), very few people will be active in responding to email, especially for non-emergencies. So aim for the 10th, or sometime during the week of December 12th.
Sending holiday cards is one of the cheaper -- and potentially most creative -- ways to get at successful marketing and customer retention. A lot of small business FSOs don’t concern themselves as much with marketing, largely because of (a) budgets or (b) focusing in other areas, like service operations. This is a mistake, because solid marketing can drive your business forward. If you want some ideas on turbo-charging your marketing (many of which can be done from field service software solutions), we put together an eBook on that topic here. Check it out and, as always, contact us with any questions.