08 Nov 2018

Dear Santa: What’s Naughty or Nice When It Comes to Sending Corporate Holiday Greetings?

It’s the mooooooost wonderful tiiiiiiiiiime of the yeeeeeeeear! As November rolls around, it’s time to start thinking about all the fun this upcoming season brings. Like office holiday parties (with or without ugly sweaters). Decorations everywhere. Big bins of sugary goodness from grateful vendors and clients. And speaking of vendors and clients…drat, now we have to think about the holiday greeting we’re sending out this year.

Did you just groan reading that? We get it. The annual holiday greeting is one of those things that businesses are expected to do but no one really enjoys doing. You or other people in your business may have even wondered why you bother going through the motions every year. After all, does anyone actually open them? Read them? Why not just send an eCard to your address book – or not do anything at all? Are cards and other social greetings-things even valid anymore in today’s Insta-happy society?

We’re here to say: Yes. Yes, Virginia, there is a reason to keep sending holiday greetings. And we’re not just saying this because we’re in the communication biz. It may sound cheesy, but it’s true: those cheerful cards are one of the easiest ways to let people know you really do care…and have other added benefits as well.

“Greetings we send for business are generally used for two purposes: as a thank-you to individuals at other companies with whom we have an ongoing relationship, or as a means of staying on the radar of an existing, former or prospective client,” says manners expert Thomas P. Farley, editor etiquette website What Manners Most, in a 2012 CBS news story.

Basically, it’s what your Mom always told you: it’s the polite thing to do. But what format of holiday greeting is right for your company? Should you go for the mailbox or the inbox to make the most impact? To answer that question, let’s get the reindeer games going and break down the stats of each of these two formats: e-cards and traditional printed cards.

Traditional Printed Cards: Oldies but Goodies

Tradition reigns supreme at the holiday season. Think of sugar cookies, decorating the tree, singing favorite carols, Grandma’s secret stuffing recipe and, of course, getting stacks of holiday cards in the mail. There’s something cheery and, well, real about holding a card with a real stamp and a real signature that makes us feel really special. And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. Besides that “wow” factor, here are some reasons why companies continue to opt for bright envelopes in your hands during the holiday season:

They stand out.

According to the USPS, 98 percent of people check their physical mail every day, while a study by Epsilon states that 77 percent of consumers sort their physical mail immediately. So by sending an actual card, your message will stand out, and you’ll have a much better chance of the recipient seeing it, opening it and reading it.

They’re authentic.

There’s a reason why Hallmark has been around for 100-plus years. Cards are a physical expression of caring, which may be why the Millennial generation is quickly embracing the greeting card tradition (80 percent of millennials are holding onto their cards as keepsakes, according to a 2018 CBS news story). Most of the time our mailboxes hold junk mail and bills, so a reminder that someone cares? That’s Christmas magic. By sending an actual, honest-to-goodness card, it shows your business partners, clients, vendors and everyone else that their relationship is meaningful to you.

It’s easy to personalize and add an extra touch of wow.

According to InfoTrends, more than 84% of people say that personalization makes them more likely to open their mail. So simply by writing their name and address on an envelope, your card becomes valuable to the recipient. Likewise, since you’re already putting a card into the envelope, it’s easy as pie to add a little extra something along with your message – like a coupon or another special offer.

Holidays 2.0: The Case for e-Cards

Tradition is all well and good, but when it comes to technology, it’s fun to show off the bells and whistles – especially at the holiday season. Which is why many companies have opted to eschew the paper and print tidings of comfort and joy and instead rely on pixels to carry their messages of holiday happiness. Here are just some of the reasons why companies choose to “like” e-Cards over traditional print greetings:

They’re incredibly affordable.

Ding ding ding! Compared to the cost of postal rates, printing and paper stock, the amount of money spent on e-Cards is teeny tiny. And these days, everyone’s looking for ways to save money. For not a lot of dough, you can get a lot of ho-ho-ho with designed-just-for-you greetings that are slick, professionally done and branded with your company’s presence. You can even create a variety of options for a variety of mailing lists, all for the fraction of a cost of what you’d pay for one small run of greeting cards. (And they take a lot less time to address and send, too!)

They’re green.

Unlike paper cards, e-Cards don’t add to the landfill or rack up carbon emissions to get them to your customers’ doorsteps. Not only does that make them considerate, they’re also a lot more attractive to Millennials.

They’re trackable.

Tracking your messaging and determining ROI is incredibly important these days. And although printed greeting cards are nice, the conversation (and tracking) ends pretty much as soon as you drop it in the mail slot. With e-Cards, you can see click-throughs, open rates and a variety of other factors that can help you see how your message is resonating. Now that’s a nice end-of-year Christmas bonus for your marketing group!

The creativity is limitless.

With e-Cards, you’re not limited to the standard 5×7 mailable template. The sky’s the limit – you can create a game, “Elf Yourself” and share with friends and family, tell a story or show off your message in whatever way you can dream up.

And the Winner Is…

So what format reigns supreme? What message will guide Santa’s sleigh tonight? The answer is…well, the answer is “whatever you want to do.” Both e-Cards and traditional print cards have benefits and drawbacks, but both of them can play an important role in your holiday messaging this year.

In fact, if you want to go the extra mile, you can use both formats in your holiday messaging and start a new tradition. Send paper cards in the mail to the select groups that you feel should get that extra personal touch. Then, once the mail has been delivered, create and deliver an e-Greeting to your social media channels, on your website, to your email lists and everyone else (including people who’ve already received your paper cards).

Want more info or to figure out what format will work for you? Reach out to us and we’ll work together to see what makes sense for your holiday greetings.