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by Derek Loosvelt | December 10, 2019

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'Tis the season for holiday partying. 'Tis also the season for holiday card writing. So don't be a Scrooge. Go the extra mile and send out holiday cards to all of your clients. The time and money it'll take you to buy, write, and mail cards will be well worth it. Your recipients will be appreciative, and your greeting might just lead to a lucrative new contract or renewal in 2020.

And when you do write and send your cards, here are the five most important rules to keep in mind.

1. Handwrite it.

It should go without saying, but in these digital times, you never know. So: Don't email cards, handwrite them. Emailing cards is lazy, and digital cards have a very good chance of ending up in spam or trash folders and aren't likely to be memorable. But handwritten cards will be memorable; they'll make strong impressions. Your recipients won't soon forget that you took the time to put words to paper and walk to the post office (or, at least, the mail chute) to send along a seasons greeting.

2. Personalize it.

If you want your handwritten letters to be extremely memorable, and not just memorable, take the extra time to write something personal to each recipient. You might reference a particularly pleasant meeting you had with the recipient, or even just a pleasant phone conversation. You might also reference a deal or assignment you worked on together in the past 12 months. Anything unique to the recipient (and related to work) would work. Then, if applicable, you might mention something like: "And I look forward to working with you again in the New Year." Ending with the hope of working together again is always a nice closing touch. It also gives you an opening to follow up in the New Year.

3. Don't reference religious holidays.

Wishing your recipients a "Happy Holidays" or "Happy New Year" is okay. It's also okay to use the phrase "Seasons Greetings." What's not okay—since you likely don't know which holidays, if any, your recipients observe—is wishing them a "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hanukkah," or "Happy Kwanzaa." Keep to this rule when choosing cards, too. Don't choose cards with any religious or specific holiday imagery. It's best to be safe in this case. Even an undecorated evergreen (a.k.a. Christmas tree) should be avoided.

4. Mind your closing salutation.

You've written a thoughtful personalized message and now you need to sign off. Which closing salutation do you use? Does it matter? Yes, it does. This is no small matter. You want to nail your closing. You don't want to be lazy after all that work you put into getting and writing the perfect cards. This means, don't use these trite (and cold) one-word closing salutations: "sincerely," "best," "cheers," or "regards." Instead, try one of these (warmer) phrases: "Best wishes for a great 2020," "All the best in the New Year," "Wishing you all the best in the New Year," "Hope you have an excellent 2020," etc. Or, better yet, come up with one of your own phrases. Just make sure the salutation sounds like something you'd say (put it in your own words) and make sure it doesn't repeat something you've written in the body of your note.

5. Stamp it well.

Unique stamps can make very strong impressions. Maybe as strong as personalized letters. They say you thought of everything and care about the details. So don't put just any stamp on your envelope. Go to the post office and choose something colorful, bright, cheerful, positive, and uplifting. And again, no holiday imagery. No religious icons, no specific holiday names. Stamps like these winter birds are great. These winter berries are also good choices. Think of your stamps like the wrapping paper to your cards. You want your stamps to be just as thoughtful as your notes.

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