Holiday messages are a seasonal staple and an effective way to share your gratitude with those who have been a special part of your business and your life. You’ve likely been receiving these greetings in many forms over the past several weeks. They come to us by mail, e-mail, social media messages and more. Being bombarded with “Happy Holidays,” “Merry Christmas,” and “Warm Wishes” can cause even the best crafted messages to blend into the background. How do you make your business stand out? This is no easy task and one that should be carefully addressed. Too much or too little communication during this time of year can negatively impact your brand and ultimately your bottom line. Here is a short and simple list of do’s and don’ts for sending holiday greetings to your clients this season.
DON’T add to the holiday clutter
Holiday e-blasts have become about as obligatory and useless as the dreaded fruitcake. Around this time of year we seem to get a message from every business we have ever come in contact with. If positioned correctly, these messages can be well received and even spark additional business. But for many that just say some variation of “Happy Holidays” and throw together a mixture of cheesy clipart, they aren’t doing much more than cluttering up our inbox (which we’d prefer to keep as empty as possible this time of year). Don’t let your holiday messages add to this clutter! First, think if sending an e-blast is the best way to communicate your well wishes. Would a hand signed card to your closest contacts be more effective? If an e-blast is justified, work to make it something more than an overused holiday phrase. Share information that is both sincere and valuable to your audience. Which brings me to my next point…
DO share sincere and valuable information
Craft a holiday message that says more than just “Happy Holidays!” You’re reaching out to your audience at a special time of year where moods are light and hopes are high. Complement these sentiments in your message to them. Write a personal note and insert your real signature. In many cases, it’s impossible to hand-write a note to each of your contacts individually; this is every more reason to make your e-blast feel personalized. Recount a special story from the past year or share exciting news of what the next year will bring. Additionally, offer your readers something of value such as a coupon or free giveaway. Make it worth their time to read your message during a time of year when time is stretched in so many different directions. This special offer can also be positioned as your holiday present to your valued customers. Make it about them, not about promoting your business.
DON’T stray from your brand
The theme and message of your holiday e-blast should always, always reflect your brand. We talked about avoiding generic and overused phrases. This is a great opportunity to insert some personality and make your audience remember you. Most importantly, it makes your holiday message relevant. For example, a political candidate should include a thank you to their supporters, a recap of what was achieved over the past year and a push to continue the hard work throughout the New Year. It should sound like a personal letter written in your unique voice – not like a political ad. Alternatively, a business that’s known for its humor and lightheartedness should carry this theme into their holiday messaging. This could include a joke, a play on words or a funny infographic. Whatever you choose to say, ask yourself, “Does this reflect my brand?”
DO carefully choose your words
Whether you choose to say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas is a critical decision. I won’t get into the argument over whether this should be an issue at all, but we know that in the political correctness of our society, we must watch our words. What you choose to say should directly reflect your audience. What would they most appreciate hearing? If you’re a faith-based organization, let that lead the way. If you have constituents with a variety of beliefs who would prefer a more generic message, be sensitive to this as well. If you’re still torn, think for yourself! It’s your greeting coming from your business (and you, personally). What do you want to say? Whatever route you choose, be ready to defend it to those who may choose to question your decision. Sorry, that’s life – and a part of business!
DON’T overlook timing
Some holiday messages begin arriving as early as the day after Thanksgiving (if we’re lucky, not any sooner) and continue right up until the holiday. Is your business going to be an early bird or a wait until the very end? There are pros and cons for both and this will ultimately depend upon the message you’re sending. If you’re offering a holiday coupon or giveaway, give your audience more time to respond. In contrast, if you’re sending a personal or emotional message, you may choose to wait until a day or two before the holiday to achieve the biggest impact. Many businesses smartly choose to send somewhere in between these extremes. Don’t overlook the power of timing and remember to give yourself enough time to craft a quality message!
As you craft your holiday wishes to clients, customers and business contacts, keep this list of do’s and don’ts in the forefront of your strategy. You don’t want to blend in to the white noise of every other holiday greeting out there nor do you want to try too hard for attention and risk offending a valuable relationship. Stay true to your brand and speak from your heart – your customers will recognize the difference!
Are you planning to send a holiday message this year? Share your strategy!