Friday, December 04, 2009

Holiday eCards For Business

Paper cards are so passe. So are stamps. This is the electronic age where everything is digital, online and paperless. Well, except for holiday cards. You still have to find someone with a cursive flourish (that means pretty handwriting not a foul temper) to sign dozens or even hundreds of them. Then there’s the licking and the stamping. It all seems so preindustrial. Well, there’s a good reason for that... it is preindustrial. Isn’t there something more appropriate for the 21st century?

You bet there is. It’s called the e-card. Just like email replaced postal mail, e-cards replace paper cards.

But isn’t an e-card rather impersonal? Compared to what? Are you still writing personal and business letters longhand with a quill pen? Do you melt wax and stick your ring in it to seal the parchment? Oh, and do you have a rider on horseback standing by to deliver your message in style? If so, congratulations Sire. I defer to Your Majesty’s devotion to tradition.

For the rest of us who don’t think of knights in shining armor when we hear the term “chain mail,” the digital greeting card holds many advantages. It’s fast, it’s cheap, it doesn’t require much labor to support the holidays, and it’s green. Millions of us have discovered that ecards work great for personal and business greetings. Without the expense and overhead of sending cardboard through the mail, you can expand your e-card list to include more recipients. You can also send them more frequently than just the traditional once a year card blizzard.

If you really want to do ecards right for business, find a service that can really give your company something special to wow suppliers, employees and customers. Why send some lifeless piece of paper when you could be sharing classy color designs with custom messages, live links, photos and even a video?

Video? Oh, yes. The YouTube age is upon us, Ebenezer. With that in mind, please make any video you include a tasteful message for the season and not something raucous from last year’s holiday party.

Here’s how it works. You select the perfect design from a supplier's exclusive collections. They’re as pretty as anything you’ll find in a store. Or, you can upload a company photo or your own ecard design. You can even have your creative team design a custom collection of ecards to specs that can be hosted in their system and made available to your employees so they can help with the distribution of cards including their own messages.

Pretty fancy, right? It gets even better. Some ecards even have an accompanying web page that includes your company logo, additional message, links back to websites of your choice, a photo collection from some happy times at the office and room for a YouTube hosted video.

How much will all of this set you back? Much, much less than that mail cart full of square white envelopes on their way to the postal truck. Pricing is determined by the size of the organization. For an all-inclusive service fee, you’ll sometimes get unlimited ad-free eCards, Web Pages, and the online system you need to manage your greeting activities. Custom design services are available if you need them. You can even have the supplier print, stamp and mail traditional cards if tradition is still too dear to your heart.

The holiday card season is upon us. If you dread the thought of it, investigate how you can create eye-popping electronic greetings that your employees, customers and suppliers will be talking about long into the new year.

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