Top Tips for Marketing over the Holidays
By Janet Holian

Nothing drives sales and business
relationships like a personal connection
and there is no better time to make that
personal connection than the holiday
season.  No matter what you do, reaching out to your customer and prospect base
over the holidays is important to your business since it builds long term
relationships which lead to customers that buy from you and keep coming back all
year long.  

Personalize Your Holiday Cards

Perhaps the most important way to network during the holiday season is to send a
customized and personal holiday card to each and every one of your prospects and
customers.  Standard cards purchased at the local drug store will not make the
impact you need to make that personal connection.  Instead, consider holiday cards
that are customized, include your logo, company name and even your photo on the
front of the card.  

Write something personal on the inside as well instead of just happy holidays or
best wishes.  Stories about your family, or a funny yet tasteful quote, help you to
make a personal connection with your customers and prospects over the holiday
season.  Match the look and feel to other printed holiday products such as return
address labels, gift tags, gift stickers, holiday brochures and thank you notes to carry
the theme through every aspect of your holiday business.

Show Your Charitable Side

Another option to consider is the charity holiday card—a card that offers a portion of
the proceeds from the purchase of the card to a specific charity.  Holidays are a
season of giving and current and future customers like to see that you support
appropriate charitable organizations.  Locate an organization that is close to your
heart or consider one that your customers will appreciate.  Regardless of the choice,
a charitable contribution is always appreciated over the holidays.

Timing is Everything

The timing of your holiday card mailing is also something to consider.  Is your
product or service holiday related?  If so, consider sending out Thanksgiving cards
in early November to remind customers to think of you when purchasing gifts or
services related to the holidays.  Even if your product or service isn’t holiday
related, Thanksgiving cards stand out as more than likely they will be the first card
your customers receive and open.  Another alternative is to send New Year’s cards
which can help drive business in the beginning of January.

High-Impact Promotions

Once you have determined your holiday card strategy, it is time to implement
special sales or promotions related to the holidays.  Regular, high-quality post card
mailings can be very successful to drive sales around a very important time for most
businesses.  Consider vertical postcards instead of horizontal ones and make sure
they are full color and high impact glossy cards that will stand out in a sea of
promotional mailings.  Upload photos of your business or products or use images
that relate to your promotion.  

Get Out There!

Once you have finalized your holiday card and promotional mailing schedule, now
it is time to get out and network.  When people see you in person you are more
likely to come to mind when it is time to make a sale.  Attend industry conferences
or events related to your company.  Depending on your business, participate in
industry holiday parties or town celebrations.  Perhaps even sponsor an event that
will provide you with the right target market visibility.

If that is not an option, hold your own holiday party at your place of business and
invite customers and prospects to attend.  Offer drinks and snacks set to holiday
music. Another option is to partner with similar or complementary small
businesses.  That way you can decrease the cost yet still make an impact. Invitations
should match your holiday theme.  Be sure to remember to provide giveaways such
as calendar magnets with your company name on them to all attendees.

Don’t Forget the Thank You

One final step in the success of your holiday season is the thank you note.  Hand
written thank you notes make an impact on customers because they show you go the
extra mile.  Send thank you notes to your customers when they purchase large
orders or thank them for referrals and you will have a tremendously loyal customer

If you follow these steps for holiday networking, this is bound to be one of your best
holiday seasons yet.  And the best part, the relationships you build this holiday
season will surely carry over to the rest of the year.

Meet the author: Janet Holian is the chief marketing officer of VistaPrint, the leading
online supplier of high-quality graphic design services and customized printed
products to small businesses and consumers.  
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