Christmas Card Clutter

Mailboxes are worse than the entertainment pages of the New York Times this time of year.

With all of the Christmas cards that everyone receives, how do you compete for the receiver’s attention?

Is your card really going to make an impression?  And in today’s green-times, is it really worth a slice of a Sequoia to send a card in such a cluttered environment?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful for the time people take to remember me, but sending Christmas cards is like taking out an ABC in the New York Times.  People just keep doing it without realizing it isn’t as effective as it may have been.

OK, I’ll try and take my Scrooge hat off now and be a bit more constructive.  Let’s say you feel compelled to send cards to your clients, friends or family.  Here are a few quick ideas on how to get your cards through the CCC (Christmas Card Clutter):


1.  Be First

Make sure your card arrives before everyone else’s.  The day after Thanksgiving.  Or, if you really want to make an impression?  Send it in July.

2.  Be Last

Embrace your procrastination and use it to your advantage.  Send your card right after people are clearing off their mantles so it arrives in their mailbox in January, at the same time as their December credit card bills.

3.  Make It Personal

Speaks for itself.  Photos, letters (yes, even form letters), etc.  Cards usually wrap up a year, so take a moment to remind the recipient about a very positive experience you shared at some point during the year. 

4.  Make It Your Own With a Custom Design

Send fewer letters and make a bigger impression for the same money with a custom design that says what is unique about your company.  If you’re a vendor, send a card that has your company’s name or logo on the FRONT of the card.  Think about how cards are displayed on desks or mantles.  It’s never with the signature on the outside.  With the right design, Christmas cards can be mini-billboards.

Can’t afford a designer and don’t know how to work Photoshop?  Do it old school and make your cards like a 2nd grader.  They’ll stand out big time.

5.  Put Something In The Card

Include a coupon.  10% off the client’s first service in the New Year.  A coupon for a free hug.  Whatever.  But something that adds value to the card (and can be tracked).

6.  Don’t Send a Card

Send something else.  Again, spend a little more money on less people and make it count.  And make it something that doesn’t get tossed out after the New Year, but that will sit on a desk, constantly reminding that person of you.

Or send a one dollar bill in a plain white envelope and with a post-it note attached that says, “We have trouble picking out cards for our diverse client list.  Here’s a dollar.  Feel free to buy a card that suits you best.  Or buy a hot dog.”

I realize that people are shaking their head at me right now because I’m breaking down a time-honored tradition of spreading joy into a marketing strategy.  Shake away, but here’s the thing: everything we do in life is a form of marketing.  If you get a new hair cut or buy a new suit, you’re redesigning your brand’s image.  If you send text messages or mass emails to friends, you’re engaging in direct response.  Christmas cards are just another form of marketing in our own lives.

And my point is that if you’re going to do it (like any form of advertising), do it effectively. 

Personally, I’d rather my vendors and casual acquaintances save the paper and the postage and make a $1 donation to a favorite charity.

Do you have any ideas on how to break through the CCC?  Or have you received any great CCs that got your attention?  Email me and I’ll post the best.



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