12 Tips for Mailing Business Holiday Cards - Hallmark Business Connections

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Surviving the Most 'Blunderful' Time of Year

Hallmark Business Expressions offers 12 tips for mailing business holiday cards

(Kansas City, Mo. - Nov. 16, 2006) "Whether it's an insurance company looking for a simple "Happy Holidays" message or a pet boutique looking for images of a dog and cat napping by the fire, businesses across the country have begun shopping for holiday greeting cards. For many of them, the holidays are the only time of year they send a large card mailing. That also makes the holidays the most "blunderful" time of year, according to Hallmark Business Expressions Product Development Director Marc Wagenheim.

The card-sending season is full of potential etiquette pitfalls," Wagenheim said. The card you choose and how you address it can either strengthen a business relationship or strain it.

To ensure that your business's goodwill gesture is received in the same spirit it is given, Wagenheim offers the following 12 tips:

The Greeting Card

1. A formal affair. Holiday greeting cards should be more tailored and formal than cards for family and friends. Keep messages brief and secular unless you are certain of the recipient's religious faith.

2. Be the early bird. Hallmark Business Expressions research shows small businesses especially are concerned about their greeting cards standing out from the stacks of well wishes their customers will receive. One of the best ways to get attention? Have your holiday greeting be among the first to arrive and use special envelopes, like those with foil lining, to make a statement. Mailing the cards just before Thanksgiving is not only acceptable, it will ensure your good wishes are delivered before the recipients take time off or the company closes for the holidays.

3. Sign in, please. Sign each card personally even if your name is preprinted on the card. Again, the idea is to make it personal. Continuing with that theme, it also is smart to write a short note on the card. A simple, "Thank you for your business this year, Tom!" tells the client you value the relationship. (Note: Assume the card will be displayed and read by others in the organization. So keep your message professional.)

4. Opt out of e-mail. An electronic greeting is a poor substitute for a real greeting card. Remember, sending holiday greetings is all about taking time to remember those who have helped grow your business. Don't rush the gesture.

The Envelope

5. First class all the way. Mailing holiday greeting cards first class will ensure they are delivered to a forwarding address or returned if the address cannot be located. That information can help you keep your database up to date. Also, for this mailing, use real postage stamps. Indicia give your card the appearance of a mass mailing.

6. Return the favor. Include your return address in the upper left-hand corner or on the back flap of the envelope. Either place is correct. Not only will you comply with the U.S. Postal Service's request, you'll also help clients, prospects and colleagues keep their mailing lists current.

7. Business or personal? Use an office address when mailing holiday greeting cards to business associates. If you are friends socially or have met the recipient's spouse or significant other, you can send the card to the home. For married employees or coworkers, send cards to the home and address them to spouses, also.

8. Spell check. Take the extra step to verify how recipients' names are spelled. Sending a card to someone whose name or company name is misspelled undermines the attempt to show you care.

9. Married or maiden name? When sending to a married woman who always uses her maiden name, follow this format: "John Smith and Susan Jones." If she uses her maiden name only at work, address the envelope to "Susan and John Smith." If both the husband and the wife are doctors, write "The Doctors Smith." However, if they use different last names, address the envelope to "Dr. John Smith and Dr. Mary Brown."

10. First reference. And, in case you were wondering, the husband's name appears first on the envelope.

11. Show respect. When addressing the envelope, always use titles, such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., etc. For women business associates, the standard title used in the United States is "Ms." unless the recipient has a professional title or indicates another preference.

12. Lose the labels. Hand-address your envelopes. Computer-generated labels are impersonal and make your holiday cards look like a mass mailing. If your company has a large quantity of cards to mail, consider hiring a hand-addressing service, like the one offered by Hallmark Business Expressions. At an additional 25 cents per envelope, the cost is well worth the personal impression it leaves.

About Hallmark Business Expressions

Hallmark Business Expressions helps businesses cultivate relationships using greeting cards to communicate with key customers, prospects, employees and donors. Serving a wide variety of companies, from the Fortune 100 to small businesses, Hallmark Business Expressions provides distinctive ways to stay in touch and make a lasting impression. The company offers a full line of Everyday and Holiday greeting cards for businesses and a variety of personalization and mailing services at http://www.BusinessGreetings.com.  The company also offers custom design services for customers who require a unique card to meet a specific business objective.

Created by the company that has helped people express themselves for nearly a century, Hallmark Business Expressions offers businesses that same knowledge and expertise in business greeting cards. Hallmark Business Expressions is a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, Inc., headquartered in Kansas City, Mo.

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