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Summer planning for a hassle-free Christmas

August 9, 2010

As busy as we are and as much as we’re enjoying the quieter summer months, the reality is that it won’t be long until it’s time to start thinking about organising those dreaded Christmas cards for your business.

Yes, it may sound ludicrously early, but the summer period is the perfect time to start putting things in place and things are a lot easier now that we have the luxury of e-cards. E-cards are simply a greeting card that you can send electronically through email and save yourself time and money.

Why e-cards?

The first advantage of an e-card has to be convenience. You can send cards from the comfort of your own space, saving you time, money and worry. E-cards cost a fraction of a standard paper card enabling a business to send as many as they like, without having to whittle down a list to save costs. You can also send multiple cards at once, which can be a huge time saver for a business sending out a large batch of cards. They allow for customisation of colours, sounds, design, layout and text, so that your card really is one of a kind and not just another generic off the shelf card. 

And when you send your e-card, your recipient finds it in their inbox instantly. Paper cards can take days, or even weeks, depending on the destination. Now you can send an e-card without having to worry about sending it in advance, or it being affected by external factors such as postal strikes! 

Another added bonus is of course is that e-cards use zero paper because there is no physical card or envelope. These cards don’t require physical production or transport, saving our precious natural resources. 

Preparation, preparation, preparation 

Always remember to keep your customer beliefs in mind when sending a Christmas e-card. Such a simple mistake as sending a Christmas card to someone who celebrates in a different way or vice-versa can be very insulting to the recipient, not to mention major embarrassment for the sender.

And be sure to have good quality data of all the business contacts that you want to send e-cards to. And check it twice! Call other team members to check through your list and add to it, so that you’re 100% sure that it is right before hitting that send button. 

Before you take some time out in the summer to think about your corporate e-cards for Christmas 2010, like any other email marketing campaign, you need to give very careful consideration about the intrinsic value of your e-card to your recipient. Expectation levels of your recipients will be high if they are getting lots of other e-cards and so you need to think beyond sending a basic, uninspiring “Happy Christmas” message.

Make sure you have got the success factor

The Extravision e-card campaigns that have enjoyed the most success; have shown originality to either entertain or attract attention, whilst at the same time projecting a positive brand image or indirectly selling the services offered by the sender. When planning your e-card, you need to address the needs of both the recipient and the sender. Your cleverness needs to extend to the subject line, preview pane and copy; otherwise your original seasonal message will not be seen or heard. 

A good example of creative planning is a mail and parcel delivery courier service client of ours; who we sent an animated Save Santa game/viral e-card out for during the first week in December, which involved steering Santa through an obstacle course in the snow, to deliver his sleigh of presents successfully. We changed the Santa hat to a branded motorbike helmet and featured the company logo on the front of the sleigh. The game also had a forward to a friend option so it became viral. The email recipient was required to click on a branded parcel image to link to see a personal Christmas message and start the entertaining and somewhat addictive game. 

Not everyone’s cup of tea of course, but a game that the Extravision team received and enjoyed, from a spam filter company, was one where you could destroy spam with a Christmas-themed rocket! We also did a very simple, cost effective e-card campaign for a racecourse client, who supplied us with a great snowy image of the racecourse in winter. We added some effective animation of falling snow for added interest and included a personalised greeting and a standard website link.

Get those creative juices going!

Have a think if you have any specific imagery that is relevant to your business or brand. Think about writing a personal greeting maybe based around your strap line or business sector. And of course, you can always get ideas from Extravision or your email marketing service provider, in house marketing team or creative agency. That famous adage “the early bird catches the worm” rings true in this instance, as the sooner you start to plan your Christmas e-card campaign, the more time spent on creative planning, the better the results.

What types of e-cards are available?

As well as creating great bespoke cards, we also have a wide range of folded, flash, animated and viral games to choose from, which can of course be personalised for you.
Take a look at these examples to see what it is possible to do.

Who can help send my e-card?

We would always recommend that you use a reputable email service provider to create and deliver your e-cards to help avoid spam filters and so that you can access reporting tools to see the open and click-through rates. This is a final essential step to make sure you’re not doing everything in vain.

Don’t forget, all Extravision e-cards include:

• A personalised greeting to each of your recipients, using the data you provide
• A link to your website
• Appear as sent from the relevant contact/s in your organisation
• Full tracking so you can see who viewed your card

If you don't normally send out cards to all your current and potential business customers during Christmas, then the summer months are a good time to start thinking about it. If you would like to find out more about our hassle-free Christmas e-card service, please call 0161 817 2929 or email [email protected]

Posted by Paul Latham
Topical email

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