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The Importance of Personalised Business Cards

Sep 12, 2008
'It was a busy morning and I had a huge inbox of emails to sift through. Quite a few needed an urgent response so I quickly scanned through the list. Interestingly there was an email from a computer hardware supplier the company had been using for years. Was it important? I'd better take a look....oh, it's a Christmas eCard.

Thanks...having spent years buying their products my custom was worth one lousy eCard. Within seconds it was deleted and I moved on, however at the back of my mind I thought - perhaps there were other companies out there I could use'.

Each Christmas many businesses are tempted to try using eCards for the first time. There are several reasons often sited for making the move away from traditional personalised Christmas cards, such as being quicker to organise and cheaper, or more environmentally friendly. However, this is a classic example of thinking about what's best for the business ahead of the customer. What is often overlooked is the impression that sending an eCard creates with loyal customers.

Where businesses view eCards as being 'quick', customers will think 'lazy'. The perception will be that very little thought has been spent on the exercise. Worse still some customers may conclude they've received an eCard as a last minute gesture. Personalised Christmas cards do require a small amount of time to organise, but then customers appreciate that their custom is worth an investment in time and effort.

A Christmas card is a very personal communication. The card is sent directly from the company to a specific customer. When signed by all the relevant company contacts, it provides an intimacy that strengthens the relationship between company and customer. In complete contrast the inability to sign and write individual messages within an eCard makes them very impersonal.

Another advantage personalised Christmas cards enjoy is that they are tangible. Customers can look and feel the card, show it to colleagues and most importantly display it on their desks and workspace throughout the festive season. This ensures that the brand and seasonal message will receive the maximum exposure possible. In comparison eCards will be viewed fleetingly, often whilst working through a number of other emails. This results in a quick glance before moving onto the next email making it highly likely that customers won't even recall receiving the eCard. At most the eCard maybe printed out - but a black laser copy compares poorly to a professionally printed Christmas card.

Undoubtedly eCards are cheaper and although this will please the company accountants, it's also a fact most customers will be all too aware of. To some customers it suggests that their trade is not worth the cost of a printed card and postage. Not really the best message to be sending to good customers and hardly an ideal statement of how much their trade is valued and appreciated.

Some companies take the stance that eCards are better for the environment. This is an important issue for all card publishers and many now produce cards using board that is manufactured from sustainable forests or FSC certified. Advances are being made in this area all the time. Remember Christmas cards can be recycled for use again.

Finally, there is always the danger that email spam filters may block an incoming eCard which may result in it never reaching the intended recipient never receiving it. Not communicating with customers over the Christmas period may reduce the likelihood of retaining their custom during the following year.

Personalised Christmas cards represent a unique opportunity to interact at a personal level and show true appreciation to the most important people of all - customers.
About the Author
Finley Bathhurst is a writer and editor. His family background is in Greeting Card printing and he still keeps business stakes in this arena. He represents Festive Collection (http://festivecollection.co.uk), one of the UK's leading stockists of choice Business Christmas Cards , Corporate Christmas Cards and Promotional Christmas Cards.
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