Did you ever send a love letter to someone special? It may not have gone exactly how you planned, but the idea behind it was solid, it either did what it was designed to do and the recipient swooned over the presentation of your sentiments or it was rejected and you moved on. Was the effort of passing it on worth it? Sure, because either way you didn’t lose anything, and there was always a chance it worked to further the relationship.
Let’s examine why you sent it, and if you have never sent a love letter this can be applied to any small gesture of kindness. First off, you are probably going to say that you sent it to make the other person feel good. Sure, I’ll give you that one, but suffice it to say that everything we do, every ounce of kindness we expel, has at least one selfish reason behind it – and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Now, your initial reaction may be to protest this statement but hear me out. You adopt a dog to give it a good home, but ultimately the dog is to bring you joy. You donate to a charity in order to fund a worthy cause, but it altruistically improves how you feel about yourself. Around the holidays many of us purchase gifts for other people, but there is an unspoken understanding that we are usually receiving presents in return. When you send a love letter, the idea is that you will profit in some way from its delivery.
Delivering genuine results
Sending a greeting card on behalf of your business is no different. While a classy thing to do, and a nice gesture, there is an undeniable and effective marketing strategy behind it. Physicians, attorneys, retail stores, service providers, there is an endless list of successful companies that send some form of a greeting card to their customers. Whether it’s around the holidays, on their birthday, or a simple ‘thank you’ for their business, the act of sending a card to clients and prospects can produce extremely positive results.
Think of it as a love letter from your business to your customers, if it gets you a second date with a first-time buyer you will likely send another one. If this first-time buyer becomes a lifelong customer, this simple gesture will be an effective aid in maintaining the relationship.
In an era where digital correspondences have become commonplace, the physical act of sending a card can make a world of difference.
The human side of doing business
Compare your business to two others similar to you. While we all like to consider ourselves the best, perhaps some of your competitors can offer benefits you can’t. In many cases it isn’t just the product or service that sways the business of customers; it is small personal touches that remind them of the human quality of doing business with a particular individual.
People enjoy doing business with those they relate to and get along with – the class acts of the industry. That is why referrals from family and friends are such a reliable form of advertising, because, for the most part, they are trusted by each other to give the best advice, no matter what the topic is. Your family doctor may not be the best doctor in town, but that’s just it, they’re your family’s doctor, odds are they like him or her. In business it isn’t just about being the best at what you do, it’s about how many people like what you’re doing and how you do it.
Recently, I celebrated my birthday. My fiancé took me to a nice steak dinner for the occasion. While the food was quite good, it was truly the presentation that made the place stand out. Every detail was crafted to create a more intimate and refined experience, including the personal delivery of a birthday card from the manager, signed by every employee – I had never seen that before. While most places will spring for a free dessert frosted with a predictable message, this particular restaurant went the additional mile and offered a tangible greeting. The birthday card was something I could actually hold onto, something that might entice me to go back to the establishment or, at the very least, recommend the restaurant to someone else.
An honest realization
As someone who works for a greeting card company, tailored more specifically for businesses, I am a biased advocate. But just because this is how I earn my living, it should not detract from the value that comes from this type of marketing.
Odds are, you created a business for the same reason I joined the force of advertising, for the income. But this doesn’t stop you from wanting to provide your customers with something valuable – well I’m no different. As I said before, there is at least one selfish reason in everything we do. You market a product to your customers to make money, if they’re happy with the product they continue to buy it from you – you make more money. With this money, you can give your family a better life – if they’re happy you’re happy – and around and around it goes. There is at least one selfish reason in everything we do and what we need to start doing is embracing this – a lot of good can come from this one, honest, realization.