Printers: are you killing your customer relationships with Christmas cards?

Posted by Matthew Parker

Chocolate cake and cheese?
Lullabies played by hard rock bands?
Wearing bathing costumes in snow?

Some things are just wrong.  And “This is wrong” kept going through my head last Christmas when I was receiving Christmas cards from print companies.

Last year I received a particularly bad set of Christmas cards from printers

It is very easy to give the wrong impression to your customers with a Christmas card. Find out what to avoid in this article

Many print suppliers will now be thinking about their 2012 Christmas cards.  So I thought I would share my best practice Christmas card guide.  It is based on my poor experiences last year.

Christmas cards are a great way to build customer relationships.  They can make your company really memorable.  However, printers who send out cards like the ones I received last year will not achieve this.  They will create a poor impression of their company amongst customers and prospects.  And that will make it harder for them to achieve their sales targets in the following year.

Printers who send out cards in the right way will create a good impression of their companies.  And that will make achieving their sales targets a lot easier.  Their cards will help create powerful relationships with clients and prospects.

So how do you ensure your Christmas cards create the right impression?  Here are my seven rules.  And the first rule may seem pretty obvious.

Rule 1:  Print your Christmas cards well

Your Christmas cards are an important statement about your company.  So make sure the quality control is in operation when you print your cards.  Don’t send out cards with poor registration or marking like some I received last year.  It doesn’t encourage print buyers to place work with you.

Of course, if you want them to place work you’ll also want to create a relationship with them.  And that’s where the second rule comes in.

Rule 2:  Sign your cards

If you don’t sign your cards you won’t make the recipient feel wanted.  The whole point of Christmas cards is to build relationships.  But just sending me a blank card makes me feel like a faceless unwanted prospect.  Printed signatures create exactly the same effect.

As you are sending individualised cards, here’s another rule you’ll need to remember.

Rule 3:  Send your cards to the right person

My name is Matthew.  Not Ian, as one printer addressed my card last year.  That’s a printer who isn’t encouraging me to engage with them.

While we are talking about sending cards to the right people, we should also talk about personalisation.

Rule 4:  Make sure your personalisation is right

I received a calendar with different names scattered throughout.  That’s another way to put me off placing work with a printer.  But it’s not the only personalisation error

Rule 5:  Avoid personalised snow cliches

I have seen my name spelt out in the snow more times than I care to remember.  Please don’t make me suffer any more.  A Christmas card should not show off the same old boring design cliches.  It should have some eye catching and unusual design.

Good printers won’t have any difficulty in showing individuality.  They’ll be following rule 6.

Rule 6:  Show off unusual printing techniques

A Christmas card is a great way to show your prospects new way to spend money with you.  If you have something different in your range of techniques you should use the Christmas card to showcase it.  Sure it costs a little more, but Christmas card runs are not huge.  And getting just one job from this could pay for the extra costs many times over.

But printing techniques aren’t the only way to make your company memorable.

Rule 7:  Make sure your card says something about your company

A good Christmas card will tell the recipient something about the printer.  One I received last year had all the staff in Christmas costumes.  It stood out.  It showed me something about the company culture.  And it put faces to all the names I knew.

It also made the company memorable.  After all, I am talking about their Christmas card 12 months later!  Whereas most of the cards I received have only been remembered for their bad points.

Did I really receive Christmas cards like the ones I have outlined above?

Yes.  Every single card I mentioned in this article was received by me in December 2011.

The cards show that the print industry is able to make a pretty poor impression at times.  But they also show the opportunities that exist for those printers who care about their Christmas cards.

So make sure that your cards create the right impression

Carry out these three steps for Christmas card success:

  1. Circulate this article to everyone involved in your Christmas cards this year
  2. Timetable a meeting to discuss the design for your Christmas cards
  3. Appoint a Christmas card champion to make sure that your Christmas Card campaign is a real success

Follow the rules I have outlined and have a successful Christmas.  And makes sure that it leads to lots of sales opportunities in 2013!

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P.S.  Find out more about the buyer’s point of view.  Sign up to receive articles like this regularly and we send you  our free e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them”Sign up today.

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