Can you remember the last time a business sent you a birthday card? If you can, you probably remember that only one or two companies bothered to send you a greeting on your special day.
And here’s the thing: If you’ve gotten personalized birthday cards from companies you deal with, you probably remember exactly which ones sent them to you. They really make an impact.
Your company can send personalized birthday cards to enhance your client relationships if you take the time to get organized. To do the job effectively, you need to:
Gather the information. You’ll have to know the birthdays of your clients or customers if you want to send them a card. If you already have it on file, you’re ahead of the game. If not, ask customers to update their online profiles, start asking for the information (and promising a special offer, perhaps) during the ordering process or do whatever else it takes to get the information. It may take several months to get all of them if you have a large list.
Plan who will send cards and how they’ll remember. Maybe you can use a spreadsheet. Or it might be easiest to have the details of client birthdays automatically added to a special calendar that the person who sends the cards can use to remind them of what to send when. It’s essential that the cards arrive on time. A late card is worse in many ways than not sending one at all.
Establishing sending procedures. Maybe each salesman will be responsible for signing and sending his or her own cards — or maybe one assistant will handle all of them. Maybe you can prepare all cards for the month at beginning of the month and mail a week of cards each Monday. Remember, delivery will take three or four days.
Make the message professional. Birthdays are personal, of course, but you don’t necessarily have a personal relationship with all your clients. Use a level of formality that won’t offend anyone. For example, don’t write in “Chris, have a good one” if the client prefers to be called Christopher or Mr. Foster. And if you’re sending a card to a client you don’t know personally, don’t add a Mr. or Mrs. before the name unless you’re absolutely certain of the person’s gender.
Make an offer too. There’s nothing wrong with including a gift in the form of an offer. People respond best to free items with no strings attached and pretty well to free items with a purchase required. A percentage discount will likely get little response except from people who are regular customers and would have ordered at full price anyway. This makes your personalized birthday cards an important marketing tool too.
In fact, sending personalized birthday cards to your clients with your company’s name and message preprinted inside and a handwritten signature can make a real difference for you by strengthening customer relationships.
And that can mean more business for you. So really, the personalized birthday cards your company sends are just as much a marketing effort as anything else.