I always look forward to receiving birthday cards. In the days running up to my birthday, I hear that familiar sound of mail dropping in the porch and revert back to being a little kid, rushing to the front door with excitement to collect my cards. First I have to analyse the handwriting and guess who sent it. Then I stash any early bird cards in a safe place to open on my special day. Woe betides anyone who opens his or her cards early!
Why I love birthday cards
I love birthday cards because they make me feel special. Cards are a sign my friends and family are thinking of me. The card they’ve selected will make me smile because I know it reminded them of me. The verse or the personal message written inside is just for me. This can sometimes bring a tear to my eye. It’s personal.
So many of us have ditched sending birthday cards for text messages or social media posts. It’s easy. We have busy lives and Facebook has a handy little reminder to let us know when a friend is celebrating.
I don’t want to appear ungrateful. I LOVE to read those messages on my birthday (especially when they’re personalised too - you know who you are!), but I love receiving cards more. My cards stay up for about a week and every time I look up at them, the happy memories I have with those friends and family resurface.
The feelings I’ve described can be replicated in business, particularly in small businesses where perhaps you have a more limited audience and making your messages personal really makes a difference. These are the three areas I believe small businesses can be like birthday cards...
Show you’ve made an effort
I always shop around to find the perfect birthday card. If I can’t find it in the shops, I’ll revert to a trusty online shop that usually comes up with the goods. I also plan to buy the card in advance so I can post it to arrive on time. You can apply this principal to your business communications through good planning.
Here’s a personal example. I made a holiday enquiry with an independent travel agent recently but didn’t go ahead with the booking at that time. A few weeks later she sent me a birthday card. Yes, she had my date of birth on file from a previous booking, but she’d gone one step further with this information and planned to send me the card. It’s a personal touch and one that made a lasting impression on me. I will use her services again.
Tailor the design and message for your audience
My friends and family know the things I love and these were reflected in the birthday card designs and messages they chose. Pineapples featured heavily, along with unicorns, shopping and football references! It was all very ME.
How do you feel when you receive personalised communication? It could be an email, a voucher sent in the post, offers tailored to the products you regularly purchase. Personalisation makes us feel special, listened to and appreciated.
I loved this personalised communication I received from Skipton Building Society. Before you say it, I know every customer probably receives one. But they made the effort, and it made me feel warm and fuzzy inside, so much so, I tweeted about it and the company got some free PR!
Make a positive and lasting impression
Remember how I feel when I look at my birthday cards? Warm, loved, happy and secure in my relationships with friends and family. Businesses that induce similar feelings build long-term engagement with their customers and are the most successful.
Birthdays are the one time I wish I was part of my mum's generation! She has so many friends, her house is always flooded with cards, flowers and presents. Her generation knows how to make someone feel special by showing you care.
Please hold that thought and make your customers feel special today. After all, it is the thought that counts.