Sending Holiday Greeting Cards: Etiquette for Businesses

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+The holiday season can be a great time for businesses. The stretch before the new year is a time of positivity after what may have been a long, hard year. Plus, for most businesses, the holidays mean increased sales. However, the holiday season comes with its own share of challenges. One such challenge is new year business wishes. Who should you send holiday greeting cards to? Will an email suffice, or do you need to send a physical card? Is it appropriate to send greetings to your boss? We’ll answer all these questions and more to help you maintain professional etiquette.

What to Write on a Business Holiday Card to Clients

The first challenge is choosing the right new year business card greetings. The exact message you should choose will differ according to your brand and the recipient, but there are a few tips to keep in mind.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Although a card gives you plenty of space to write a message, there’s no need to include more than just a phrase or two. A long message may make clients you barely know feel uncomfortable. Remember, holiday greeting cards are not the same as the holiday letter you send to family and close friends. Just expressing your gratitude is enough.

Brand Your Message

Rather than relying on a generic message, create a message that matches your brand. You may even be able to work some brand-specific references or words into your message.

Avoid Sales Language

The above does not mean you should push for a sale through your greeting card — far from it! This is an easy way to lose a customer. Even a subtle hint at a sale, a coupon, or a discount code in the card is inappropriate. You may have had a difficult year, but a greeting card is not the time to express this. Limit your message to expressing your appreciation for the support you’ve received from clients throughout the year.

Stay Neutral

Unless your business specifically targets a group that celebrates the same thing, it’s best to avoid referring to any particular holiday. Wishing clients a happy new year or season’s greetings is perfect.

Handwrite Your Cards

Could anything be more impersonal than sending a mass-produced card with a message that is clearly printed straight onto the paper? Actually, yes: starting your card with “Dear customer.” It may require a little extra effort, but it’s definitely worthwhile handwriting all your cards. Include the person’s name and sign the card as either yourself, your CEO, or something like “everyone at [business name]” — whatever feels most fitting.

Acknowledge Reality

This year has been tough on almost everyone. It may seem insincere (or your customers may think you’re sending out cards you prepared last year!) if you act like everything is fine and dandy. If your target audience has been particularly hard hit, you may even like to acknowledge their struggles.

If you’d prefer to keep your card cheerful, wishing your clients and their families all the best is perfectly appropriate. Just avoid messages along the lines of “May your 2021 be every bit as fantastic as 2020” — something that works most years, but certainly not this year.

Sending Season’s Greetings via Email

If you lack addresses but still want to send new year business messages to clients, email can be a great alternative — although only with the right strategy. Think about your own email inbox this time of year: does it fill up with cutesy ecards? These annoy your clients just as much as they annoy you.

Sending emails does mean you’re under pressure to write a longer message than with a greeting card — a single line on its own may look a little bereft. One option is to write a short note about what you hope to achieve in 2021 or share a story from this year that expresses your appreciation for your customers.

Another difference when sending emails is timing. Whereas you may like to send your cards out early to ensure they do arrive before the end of the year, there’s no need to do the same with emails. In fact, sending emails at the beginning of December (or — worse — before) may be disconcerting to clients. It’s definitely worth crafting a message ahead of time, but you can save the emails to send out later.

Striking the Right Balance Between Personal and Professional

No matter if you opt for a card or an email, you’ll need to pick the right tone for your message. Whether that’s closer to personal or professional will depend on a couple things.

First, if you’re writing on behalf of your entire business, you need to think about your brand voice. If you have a B2B company, you mostly likely use a professional tone, whereas a fun brand will lean much more personal.

Second, consider our relationship with the recipient. For a loyal customer who has been with your company for years, a personal tone can help the person feel more appreciated. With a new client, you can still be warm, but you may be a little more distant.

Formality has a big impact on greeting cards in particular — it influences the very start of the card: how you address the client. For a business with a very relaxed brand voice, you could just use your client’s first name. To go a little more formal, use “Dear [first name].” To stay as professional as possible, use “Dear Mr./Ms. [last name].”

Should You Send a “Happy New Year” Email to Your Boss?

Most people agree it’s a good idea to send new year wishes to business colleagues, but what about to your boss? You should certainly send some kind of greeting, but it will depend on your company whether you decide a card or email is more appropriate.

One advantage of a card is there’s less pressure to write a proper message. Another is that a physical card helps you stand out. Your boss will be more likely to remember you over the holidays, whereas an email is easily lost in a mass of others.

Finally, with a card, it’s easier to choose something that represents you. Just make sure that the design you pick is appropriate and high-quality. Plus, do include a short message, rather than simply relying on whatever comes printed in the card alone.

How a Virtual Assistant Can Help with Holiday Greeting Cards

At this point, you may be thinking that business holiday greetings are more effort than they’re worth. However, a well-designed card with a thoughtful message will show clients that you’re thinking of them or coworkers that you appreciate them — and this can go a long way.

To avoid needing to add yet another item to your schedule, hire a virtual assistant to manage all your new year greeting cards or emails. The VA can design a personalized business holiday card, draft your seasonal emails, or even proofread your new year business message before you send it.

In fact, it’s this time of year that professionals like executives and small business owners find they need a virtual assistant more than ever. You can use a VA to handle all the additional tasks on your schedule.

For instance, a virtual assistant for social media management can ensure your holiday strategy is on point. Alternatively, an administrative assistant can support you with gathering contact information, handling your inbox to stop you becoming overwhelmed by holiday messages, and handwrite (and even mail) your cards for you.

Bonus: Looking Forward to 2021 quotes

Now that you have your new year business greetings sorted, it’s time to look ahead to the new year. Do you need inspiration for your new year business resolutions? We have just the solution: new year’s resolution quotes for businesses. Submit your email and we’ll send all of them straight to your inbox.

Laura Holton

Laura is a professional writer specializing in content aimed at small businesses and entrepreneurs. She has helped countless startups find the information they needed to take their ventures to the next level.

Laura Holton

Laura is a professional writer specializing in content aimed at small businesses and entrepreneurs. She has helped countless startups find the information they needed to take their ventures to the next level.


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