First Two Of Six For Christmas

The Christmas selling season is upon us.

I don’t know whether to smile or run for the hills.

While I’m considering my options, I thought I’d write a series of three articles, each with two tips or ideas for small business online at this special time of year.

If this were one of those small-biz ezines, I could start with a headline like:

“6 Killer ideas that will QUINTUPLE your sales this Christmas – GUARANTEED!!!!”

I don’t know how those guys get away with it. (I do, actually. The readers, once they have failed to quintuple their sales, always assume that it was something they did wrong and are too embarrassed to ask about the guarantee.)

So – here’s my first Two of Six, no guarantees attached.

    1. Send your past and existing customers a Christmas card.

    No, not an email, not an e-greeting, not a virtual card. If you have their name and address and a reasonable level of permission to stay in touch, send your customers a real card.

    If sending a real card sounds like a lot of work, that’s just the beginning.

    First, I’d design a ‘holiday season’ card that appeals across multiple religions.

    Then, I’d write the recipient’s first name on the inside of the card, with a real pen. And have the card signed by a couple of real employees.

    Same for the envelope. Have the name and address written on the envelope by hand and use a real stamp.

    And say Thanks. “Thanks for being a great customer – and have a wonderful holiday break.” And show your URL.

    That’s it.

    Should you add a special gift certificate or free Xmas gift wrapping offer?

    If you must. But that’s not the point.

    The point is that if you send them a real card that says ‘Thanks,’ you’ll be touching them in a way that your competitors won’t have even thought of.

    Instead of just being your virtual, corporate self, you’ll touch your customers through a whole different channel. Your card will be up on the mantelpiece along with Aunt Freda’s.

    (“Hang on Nick. You’re sharing this idea with tens of thousands of people. So lots of my competitors will try this.” Ha! I don’t think so. It takes a lot of nerve for an online small businessperson to invest in sending out thousands of Christmas cards.)

    So. Is this a wild guess on my part? Nope. About twelve years back, a major US airline, the name of which I forget, did exactly this to a list of fifty thousand frequent fliers.

    They sent out a personalized Christmas card, just as I’ve described, and received a 42 percent response.

    That response rate was pretty remarkable, given the fact that no response had been requested.

    Evidently, their customers just really appreciated the thought.

    What could this do for you? It could make your customers look at you in a whole new light – as the real people behind your web site. I think it will make them feel good about you. And I think they will buy more stuff from you as a result.

And now, briefly, for KILLER IDEA number two.