Electronic communication has helped us become more efficient at work but there is a downside: When we shoot off an email we lose the opportunity to connect with our clients personally. An end-of-year card mail-out will show clients that they are dealing with real people. People who appreciate their business and wish them a happy holiday.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:

Do consider timing
Plan when you would like your cards to be received. Early December is a good option; most workplaces are still busy then (you don’t want your card sitting in a mailbox unopened until late January).

Are you posting nationally? Internationally? Consider postage times and remember that December is peak-time.

Are you having a custom card made that includes branding? Consider production and printing times.

Allow time for writing in the cards, as well as enveloping and addressing them. Delegate card signing to someone with neat handwriting. Signing “from the team at ….” is fine, though a genuine and personalised message can mean a lot to someone.

Don’t go electronic
We’ve all had e-cards pop up in our in-box. Complete with animated graphics and obnoxious sound effects. They might be fun to share among family and friends but in a business context they can come across noisy, tacky, and, worst of all, lazy. Besides sending the wrong message they can also deliver unwanted pop-ups and viruses.

Do think about your recipients’ beliefs
Messages such as ‘season’s greetings’ and ‘happy holidays’ work well if you are sending cards to culturally diverse regions like Asia or the Middle East. This doesn’t mean that Christmas-themed cards are out. In most cases they are fine but do consider if they’re the most appropriate choice for your clients.

Do customise
Companies usually display cards in a high-traffic area (foyer, staff room). A card that is branded with company colours and logo will stand out against a wall of Santas and snowflakes. An added bonus is that people will recognize that it’s from you.

There is no limit to what you can do with a custom card. It could even include an industry in-joke or funny staff cartoon.

Do be charitable (but don’t gloat!)
Some charitable organisations sell greeting cards to raise funds but, if you want to go this way, it’s worth doing some research first. Choice Online has published a review of charitable cards here.

Was your company involved in a fund raising activity like Movember? This could be worked into the greeting card in a creative way. Just remember that the point of the card is to foster a personal connection with your clients and not to big note about your generosity. The back of the card is a good place to acknowledge any charitable contributions.

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It’s only seven weeks until Christmas so start thinking about connecting with your clients with a company greeting card. Whether you go for a fancy custom card or simple store-bought packs, your clients will appreciate your personal touch.