Do you remember what “remember” means? It’s not too hard to find out.
In the old days, if you wanted a specific definition for a word, you’d have to pull out a bound dictionary and flip through to the alphabet letter that starts your word. Now, you can just enter the word in question in a search engine and up pops the online dictionary with the definition, how it’s used in a sentence, its origin, and how many times it’s been written this week. OK, so maybe they haven’t added the last feature yet, but I hear they are working on it.
I bring up this seemingly unrelated-to-anything illustration because I’d like to point you to one of the uses for the word “remember” from dictionary.com: “To bear [a person] in mind as deserving a gift, reward, or fee: The company always remembers us at Christmas.”
And that, my marketing friend, is exactly my point.
Do you want your customers to remember you next year? I’m guessing you’re nodding your head yes. Then you must start by remembering them during this very busy holiday season. Lots of folks are rushing here, there, and everywhere under pressure to please family and friends, spending more than they care to acknowledge, eager for a caring and kind word.
You can be their kind hero this holiday season with just a few words in the form of a holiday card — mailed to the home — that includes a message that comes across as real, genuine, and caring. You’ll stand out and get noticed because you’re the company that always remembers your customer at Christmas. Or Thanksgiving. Or New Year’s.
The holiday card is a good counter to the principle that no “sale mail” should be sent from Dec. 10 to Jan. 12. During this time, people have had it up to their eyeballs with what folks are selling, and your message is quickly discarded without two glances.
However, if you make absolutely no contact at all, you’re leaving a sizeable gap in your marketing program. So that’s why simple, effective holiday cards are a great choice. They enable you to send an inspiring message to your customers when it really helps to hear it. Who doesn’t want a little love during the holidays? These holiday cards also allow you to express your appreciation for their business and keep your name in your customers’ top-of-mind awareness. It’s a win-win situation.
Catch the customer’s eye
The tricky part is to get your holiday card to stand out from all of the other cards your customer is getting this holiday season from friends and family. If it doesn’t stand out, then it’s a waste. We’ve been working on this for years and have some great tips to help you:
1. Regular-sized cards blend into the stack and may not get read, so go with oversized cards so people will see it; usually a 5.5-by-8.5-inch card is perfect. It’s large enough to be seen, and it’s inexpensive. Good combo.
2. Next, the stock cards with a picture of an ornament or some cartoon Santa with overused holiday phrases may be very common, but that’s the trouble: They’re common. They don’t stand out or hold a customer’s interest. The message is either worn out or just plain goofy. Your message should be unique, inspiring, and thoughtful. Since after countless searching we were unable to find any good contractor-specific cards, we created some you can review at www.contractorholidaycards.com. There are multiple designs that may give you some ideas.
3. For postage, we recommend going first class. Why? Well, these should go to your complete customer list, which means you’ll get back the undeliverable, allowing you to “clean” your list. If you go “standard” rate trying to save a few pennies, you’ll never know who moved; plus, it’ll take them far longer to get there and may miss the target date. So whatever you “saved” is lost in a hurry. Yet, sending inexpensive holiday cards first class gives you a great “once a year” list cleaning. Makes sense.
Most of all, a great holiday card to your customer list gives you the opportunity to say “thanks” to the people who are keeping you in business. Customers do all the buying and all the referring; they pay for your employees, and they pay you. This is the time of year to say thanks with a nice holiday message. Plus, your competition probably won’t send one, so you’ll stand out even more!
A unique, creative, oversized card that hits your customers at a time when they’re most receptive to thanks makes sure you’re remembered for retention, referrals, and rewards.
Whether you choose our cards or have your own personal cards designed and printed, just make sure you send this important message to your customers: Happy Holidays.
And we wish the same to you.
This article was originally titled “How to ‘remember’ every customer” in the November 2016 print edition of Plumbing & Mechanical.