Whatever happened to “Great prices ….. all the time”?

Just when I thought I saw the last email promo during the holiday season from one of the stores where I shop, I received another variation in my inbox. Looking back over the last couple of weeks, here’s a small sampling:

Black Friday
Cyber Monday
Cyber “Week”
“Extended” Cyber Sale!
“Extended AGAIN ” Cyber Monday
“Last Chance” Sale!
“One more day” extended!
“Our FINAL” holiday sale!
“A special gift – We’ve extended” our sale for you!

AHHH!

The trend is clearly turning into one continuous promo each season with no way to trust when any one of them will really end. We already can safely assume there will be another one beginning.

These inbox surprises are part of a calculated promo calendar that basically leaves many customers feeling a little toyed with and led on. Why say something will end, when it will simply be extended again or another equally discounted coupon will be offered? Why not just keep prices the lowest possible and offer occasional promotions that are truly valuable?

At Holiday Cards Unlimited, we make great products and offer them at the lowest possible price, we avoid gimmicky promos, we respect and appreciate our customers, we’ll beat any competitor’s pricing if a customer happens to find the same item currently priced lower (which only happens if we weren’t aware of that pricing), and we provide attentive and thoughtful customer service.  If we have some sort of special sale, it’s truly “special”.

Does anyone have a great subject line to convey this?

New site, new cards, and a vast selection for 2016 and 2017

We’re proud of our new website where you can customize your card completely online!  We have loads of new holiday cards for this year and the coming year:

Holiday Cards for Business

Photo Holiday Cards

Calendar Cards

Christmas Cards

And, a wide range of stationery and business greetings, wedding invitations, products for parties and celebrations, and more!

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Sharing the Holidays Through Christmas Letters

Central Park, Manhattan

My wife’s family lives in South Carolina, mine lives in Tennessee, and we live in New York. We don’t get to see either side as often as we’d like, though we fly south when we get the chance.

The holidays are a problem.

We want to see both families, so we try to divide and conquer. We spend Thanksgiving with one side, and Christmas with the other.

Both families want us for Christmas, though, so we alternate years. Last year was Christmas with her family, and this year we’ll be with mine. It’s the best we can do, but it’s far from perfect – one family always misses out on Christmas morning.

We make phone calls and send gifts, but what really helps is the Christmas letter. When we mail our Christmas cards, we enclose a 1-2 page letter describing highlights from the past year, along with a couple of photos and funny stories.

Yes, it’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it. The holidays are a time for storytelling and reflection, and these letters help our friends and family feel more connected to us.

Even if you don’t have time to write a letter, you can send a photo card with a personalized message. Family photos are great, but pictures with a story behind them can be even better. Find a way to let loved ones into your life this Christmas, even if you can’t be with them in person.

Do you send an annual Christmas letter?

Photo credit: Jon Nicholls

Thanksgivingukkah: Two Holidays in One, and Just This Once

Happy Thanksgivingukkah!

As a child, I had a couple of friends whose birthdays fell on or near Christmas Day. I remember thinking that sounded pretty great – that it would make both celebrations more special. In reality, though, my friends felt like they were getting a raw deal. Instead of two celebrations, they only got one, and they had to share it!

This month has its own combined celebration: in an incredibly unique overlap, Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah both fall on November 28. This once-in-a-lifetime coincidence is made possible by an unusually early Hanukkah, and the fact that Thanksgiving falls on the latest date it can possibly occur.

Mathematician Jonathan Mizrahi has worked out some fascinating information about this unique overlap, which the internet has dubbed “Thanksgivingukkah.” The last time this occurred was in 1888. The next time won’t be until the year 79811.

Yes, you read that right: this is the last Thanksgivingukkah for more than seventy-seven thousand years!

Remembering my friends with the Christmas birthdays, I think I’ll send two cards to my Jewish friends this November: one for Thanksgiving and one for Hanukkah.

How are you celebrating this once-in-a-thousand-lifetimes occasion? Let us know in the comments.

Happy Thanksgivingukkah!

Email vs. Snail Mail

Message to the mail man

When’s the last time you received actual mail?

Not a bill. Not an advertisement. Just a straight up piece of mail – bonus points if it was handwritten.

Can you even remember?

First class mail volume through the US Postal Service has declined over 50 percent in the last decade. Junk mail, just over 10 percent. In fact, advertising mail outstripped first class post by over 15% in 2012.

Even with shrinking numbers, the US Postal Service still processes an average of 528 million pieces of mail each day.

When was the last time you got an email? Or is a better question, how many emails do you get each day? Estimates vary on the number of emails sent each day, but the low end is 144 billion.

Even if you can’t remember when you last got personal mail by post, you probably remember what you do still receive. A birthday card from Mom, a sympathy card from a friend, a get well card from your aunt… You get the picture.

As for email, it’s easy to get lost in all the digital noise of our busy world. Facebook notifications, text messages, and work email after hours add up. An iPhone dings in a crowd and everyone dives for their pocket to see what new communiqué awaits them.

Digital communication is great! It’s efficient, inexpensive, and convenient. But it’s also common.

Junk mail flyers go straight into the recycle bin, but real mail simply carries more weight than email. A physical paper card has more impact than an e-card. Even if you save an e-card in your inbox, what’s the chance you’ll look at it again? I’ve never seen suggestions for attractively displaying e-cards for the holidays.

Make your communication meaningful. Don’t add to the noise, cut through it with something concrete. Whether it’s a birthday celebration or an expression of genuine sympathy, seasonal greetings, or a congratulatory note, people appreciate the extra time, energy, and thought that go in to sending a real card.

When is the last time you sent real mail?

Photo credit: gajman

4 Creative Ways to Add Marketing Messages to Your Holiday Cards

He Knows if You've Been Bad or Good...

Photo credit: James Hall

Holiday cards that read “Happy Holidays; now buy something,” just don’t cut it. You can still sneak a little marketing into your cards, just do it a subtle and tasteful manner.

Here are four creative ways to add marketing messages to your cards without turning people off.
Continue reading “4 Creative Ways to Add Marketing Messages to Your Holiday Cards”

The Importance of Visual Branding

Recognize these logos?

A business is more than just the sum of its products. True success means building a strong brand for your organization. A solid brand communicates your business’s most prominent characteristics, such as quality or reliability, to your target consumers.

Most businesses also create a branding image, or logo, to associate with their brand. As consumers view your marketing material over time, they begin to associate the logo with your company.

Continue reading “The Importance of Visual Branding”

Shop Till You Drop!

Are you the office designated “shopper?” If you’re out of an office supply item, do you raise your hand and say, “I’ll run out and get some”?

office max — nov 3

Photo credit: Lindsey T

Well then, you should become the official business greeting card buyer, too. But even if you’re head buyer, you’ll need input from co-workers to help guide your selections.

Continue reading “Shop Till You Drop!”

Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook, Oh My!

It’s tempting in this age of social media to just pop a message to a business colleague on Facebook or reach out to a client in a similar format. In business, it’s important to respect some of the rules of business etiquette. Remember, too, that not everyone is adept at using social media, or they consider it more of a personal venue rather than a business tool.

facebook like buttonBe Different; Send Snail Mail

Contrary to popular belief, most people still love to receive snail mail (if it isn’t bills!). It’s especially nice to get “real” mail at the workplace. Stand out by sending business greeting cards. Tailor them to the recipient and a particular event or special occasion. You can also send cards to keep a business relationship current.

Play Off the Social Media Theme

If have a more casual business relationship, your greeting card can be a bit more casual. Why not have some fun with a social media reference? Let’s say you are sending a card to acknowledge a colleague’s birthday. Maybe you want to congratulate a client on a new milestone or achievement. Here some ideas below:

• Happy Birthday – “I tried to Tweet you a happy birthday message, but with that 140-character limit, I couldn’t say it all!”
• Congratulations – “I wanted to post your recent accomplishment on my Facebook page, but didn’t want to steal YOUR thunder!”

Have some fun with the tie-in to social media, but also remember to fit the card to the recipient. If the person isn’t a big fan of technology, a traditional verse is perfect. The thoughtfulness of your gesture will come through.

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee