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Business Greeting Cards

They may seem simple and old hat. But greeting cards are still hot - a time-tested winner, either as a stand-alone promotional product or part of a larger campaign.

On the average day, most business receive dozens - if not thousands - of pieces of mail. Most are a combination of bills, solicitations, and magazines. This daily assault becomes a predictable exercise of the "same old, same old." That's why it's so important for your message to stand out and be noticed.

Greeting cards meet this objective. They come in non standard sizes, making them easy to differentiate from bills and credit card applications. And in some cases, they contain products or samples, raising interest in the card because of it's "lumpy" appearance.

Another strength of greeting cards is the convenience they provide and thoughtfulness they express. A card may take only a moment to fill out, address, and mail, but it gives the impression of the sender taking time out of his or her busy day to write a personalized message.

Cards also have an advantage over a follow-up telephone call. A phone call may get lost in voicemail, quickly forgotten in the deluge of other calls a person receives each day or, worse yet, ignored.

A card, on the other hand, is seldom lost in the mail (contrary to popular belief), it's not intrusive (it can be read at the receiver's convenience) and it makes a greater impression on the recipient because they can hold it in their hand.

The Disposability Factor
So why do buyers shy away from greeting cards? Part of it is the impression that they're disposable. A mug or a pen has a utilitarian quality, but a card is often discarded after it's been displayed for a brief time. Spending money on a card once a year may be fine for tradition, they say, but why invest more than once a year in a product that has no shelf life and will most likely be tossed in the garbage?

The key is to extend the card's utilitarian value. Once popular solution is the calendar card. It's like other greeting cards that contain a holiday message, but it also folds out to reveal a miniature calendar that can be saved for reference throughout the year.

Key Considerations
Going hand-in-hand with this lasting impression is the actual quality of the card - what's referred to as the "perceived value." Cards are representational of the sender, which makes selection a serious consideration. This doesn't mean you need to break the bank purchasing greeting cards. But you should consider the "message" you are sending with the quality of the cards you choose.

And don't forget those added extras that bring greater appeal to a greeting card. The artwork on the front of a card can vary from traditional to modern, simple to complex - and everything in between. There are also many printing features that can enhance a card such as embossing, foil stamping, dye cutting, and multi-panel displays. Some suppliers suggest including sound chips, phone cards, tea or coffee - again, the choices are limited only by your imagination.

Breaking Stereotypes
Like their retail cousins, today's business greeting cards cater to almost every occasion and situation. There are thank-you cards, referral cards, new account cards, appreciation of your order cards, birthday cards - cards that can be imprinted with just about anything. By utilizing the wide variety of styles and messages available, business can reach out to customers, reminding them of their presence and helping them separate them from the rest of the competition.

Business greeting cards can be an invaluable marketing tool, especially to a small business that has a limited budget yet wants to keep it's name in the minds of customers all year round. One potential problem with greeting cards is that some people might think about them as holiday items only. The truth is, there's a lot more to greeting cards than just one season. All-occasion cards are quickly gaining popularity.

Bright Future
From all indications, the power of greeting cards remains solid. The holiday greeting card is firmly entrenched in tradition and continues to grow each year. And with increased dependence on computers and the Internet, there remains a need for the tactile experience and the human connection that greeting cards represent.

The bottom line: Greeting cards may be over 100 years old, but they're just as effective today as they've always been. And as a promotional product, this time tested combination of price, versatility and personalization is hard to beat.

COPYRIGHT © 2002 The Advertising Specialty Institute. All rights reserved.

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