Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Ask Maggie the Marketer 12-6-12

Dear Maggie the Marketer,

It is that time of year again….the time when some businesses are challenged by what to send out for their holiday greetings. They try to sound sincere and heartfelt when sending out to everyone who has ever even so much as thought about using their product or service a holiday card that is so generic and carefully politically correct that you aren’t even sure what holiday it is for. I believe that some of them are truly heartfelt wishes, but many give the impression of having been chugged out of a giant printing press and sent by a company where most of the executives have no idea that the card has been sent out and who knows even less about the person that is receiving it.

As a business owner who has survived these tough economic times on the loyalty of my customers, I would like to send out something for the holidays that really is sincere and will somehow try to express my appreciation of their loyalty to my company through good times and bad.

How do I show my sincere appreciation and wishes for their happiness during the holidays without it being something they just toss aside with all the other generic holiday greetings?


Wishing to share Cheer in Chattanooga

Dear Cheerful in Chattanooga,

Depending on your budget, which may be tight this year, there are several things you can do to show your loyal customers how much you sincerely appreciate them.

1. Offer free or discounted product or service

The first thing that pops into my mind given the tough economic times that we have all been through, is to give them some sort of price break on whatever it is they purchase from you since they obviously value your product or service. Depending on what they purchase from your company, you could give them a discount on your services for a period of time or a discount on the product they purchase the most. You might even consider giving them some sort of product or service for free if that is feasible.

2. A card with a handwritten note inside for each customer/client

It is rare for anyone to “hand write” anything these days and that is a good way to make an impression of sincerity and that the card was meant specifically for them. Be sure you mention something about that customer/client or the product or service they purchase from you to personalize it further.

3. Donation to a charity in the customer's name

This is a great idea if you know your client/customer is passionate about a particular charity or group. You can find out by checking their website to see if they mention that they partner with a charity, etc. If you have been to the client/customer’s home or office and know they love dogs or cats; you could make a donation to the local SPCA or a rescue group for the breed they prefer. If they have mentioned a family member suffering from a certain illness you could give a donation to that cause like the American Cancer Association or the Alzheimer’s Association. There are any number of causes you can donate to in someone else’s name so get creative!

4. Stop by their office and sing them a Holiday carol

Or if your singing voice would not be considered a gift J, you could drop off some holiday treats of some sort or have lunch or breakfast catered for them as a sign of your appreciation.

5. A fun and creative ecard with a personalized note

If your client/customer is more of the “techy” sort, find one of the creative greetings on line that you can email. There are many to choose from out there, but Jib Jab is an example. You can personalize many of these creative email greetings and make it something they would want to forward and show to others. Hey, then you get some extra marketing on the side!

The important thing is that it will pay off in the long run if you take the extra time to personalize your holiday greetings!

PS. If any of our readers out there have even more ideas for “Cheerful”, please share them!


Shannon Kelly said...

I think this is a great post, it's important to thank our customers for their support, and many times we overlook the simplicity of a holiday greeting. I read a similar article that says that 33% of people receive 10 or fewer holiday cards each year, imagine how much a company card stands out when you receive less than 10! (Source: Marketing Technology Blog (http://s.tt/14mnB)) I love all your ideas, and actually think one could do most with creative online cards. Many places right now let you add photos personal messages, and even voice (go ahead and sing that Christmas carol) plus will stamp and mail for free. I'd suggest American Greetings they allow all that personalization for free during the holidays. http://Landing.AmericanGreetings.com/cp

Diana Christensen said...

Thank you Shannon! I am glad you liked my suggestions and please let me know what you do for your customers and/or friends for the holidays this year. I would love to hear the response you get!

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