If you’re struggling to come up with an original idea for your Christmas wishes, I have a word of advice: don’t. Let’s not forget that Christmas and New Year wishes are a little opportunity to tell someone that you are thinking about them. This is one time when you can put your marketing pen aside and just wish people something nice.
Is a greeting card better than an e-card?
I often hear people debating the relative merits of paper cards and e-cards. It usually comes down to a discussion about price. E-cards are faster, cheaper to send and easily customisable. What’s not to like?
Well, how about impact? I remember visiting an office and seeing a paper card I had produced pinned to the wall SIX MONTHS AFTER CHRISTMAS. Compare that to the lifespan of an e-card: roughly 2 seconds. No matter how naff they might be, I always keep paper cards lined up on a shelf for at least a few weeks after Christmas. For me, there is no comparison. Remember also that you usually sign paper Christmas cards, creating a direct human link to the person you are sending it to. Personalise it. Say something nice. Say something simple.
Why not benefit from a seasonal offer?
If there is one thing that is guaranteed to move my finger to the “delete” button, it’s the e-card that comes with a special offer. Is this a sales pitch or seasonal wishes? Make up your mind. Do you send cards to your family and mention in passing that you have an affiliate link at a hotel or a good money-making deal that expires in 72 hours? Why should I be different? Do you think people will react in any other way than to scrub the e-mail?
Separate those messages. A good sales pitch with a special offer is always welcome. Greeting cards that sound like a flaky second-hand car salesman routine I find insulting. And irritating. And clumsy. And amateurish. Are you sure you want that to be the message you are sending?
I was quickly nauseated by all the recent Thanksgiving messages I received with special offers as 1) no-one celebrates Thanksgiving outside the US (don’t forget to target within your list) and 2) if I wanted to buy an e-mail list/consultancy/software upgrade I’d use Google or Bing, thanks. I wouldn’t buy it from someone that tricked me into reading their message. I want to feel upbeat, not that I’m getting an upsell.
In a word: thanks
So take this opportunity to say thank you, to tell people you think of them occasionally outside the sales cycle, to share a little thought about life or the world. On a more philosophical note, remember that giving is good for your own morale. And the simplest thing we have to offer is thanks.