Should your auto shop send an annual Christmas card? Once the answer might have been an unequivocal yes, but we live in complicated times now, both socially and economically. Some businesses are choosing to forego this tradition. Below are some reasons why you might consider passing on sending a Christmas or holiday card out to your customer list this season.
Marketing is about getting noticed – The problem with sending your company’s annual card out in December is that many other businesses (and people!) do too. Think about how many holiday cards your auto shop receives and how many you get sent from friends and family. Is it likely that any card you send will stand out among the crowd? It takes time to design or choose a card, it takes staff time and company money to address and send them, and it takes money to purchase and mail them. All of this is wasted if your card doesn’t even get a glance before it goes into the recycling bin.
Marketing is about provoking a response – Successful advertising or marketing campaigns don’t always create positive feelings. Often they are designed to provoke mild anxiety or envy in the viewer. But holiday cards are not very complicated. They are supposed to make the recipient feel good and to remember your business well. The problem is that, more and more, people do not celebrate the same holidays during this time of the year. They also don’t celebrate them in the same ways. Consider how polarizing some companies’ decisions to have their employees wish their customers a “Merry Christmas” in December are. When Starbucks decided to have their cups go message free this holiday season, it raised a ruckus. Also, some people who celebrate Christmas resent being reminded of any kind of commercialism during Christmastime. It can be a no-win situation for a company to make a call either way.
Marketing is about generating business – While it is true that many auto shops have the time to take on more work during the holidays and especially right after Christmas, a holiday card is unlikely to create more demand for service and repairs. Auto shops have a lull at the end of the year because people make plans to go out of town and see friends and family. These are not the kinds of plans that get rescheduled even for a juicy discount offer.
Instead of mailing out an annual holiday card, consider sending a sincere thank you card to your customer list a bit later on. March and early April tend to be slower for auto shops because of tax season, but that time of year is much less busy, stressful, and rigidly observed than Christmastime is, and a discount offer tucked into a friendly note is much more likely to get noticed, appreciated, and be used by your customers. That’s smarter marketing.