Concerned about being culturally sensitive while sharing holiday cheer?
You aren’t alone. There are so many cultures with different holidays happening in November and December. Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah are the most commonly recognized holidays in the US during this time of year. However, those are not the holidays or reasons for people to gather. How do you handle customer communications during the holidays?
Assuming your business does not want to align with a specific religion or culture, how do you share the holiday cheer and gratitude with your customers, clients, and partners? Talking about the “season of giving” and sharing your gratitude for a great year are common ways to address this situation. While these approaches totally work, it’s also important to do what makes the most sense for your business and brand.
Sharing Holiday Cheer in an Authentic Way
No matter what you decide to do, be absolutely genuine and authentic during the holiday season. If you are not, then your customer tribe will know it. To be your most authentic, first get clear about your customer tribe and what they connect with in your messaging. If your customer tribe is highly religious, then go in that direction. However, if your customer tribe ranges in religious beliefs, customs, and cultural traditions then you want to find a balanced message in your customer communications that works for all.
If you read my previous post about gratitude, then you may know what is coming next. I recommend showing your appreciation for customers and partners all year long. The traditional holiday season in November and December offers an annual opportunity for you to show off a little more than the usual thank you email or note, so it should be unique.
Maybe I’m old fashioned for doing things the way I do, but I LOVE getting mail from an actual person (rather than a promotional flyer) in my mailbox. Many of my recommendations below reflect this line of thinking, and I am not the only one who appreciates “snail mail” because statistics reflect it too.
68% of customers walk away because they perceive the business as being indifferent. (Bloomtools)
38% of customers attribute a good customer experience to personalization. (Excalibur Group)
55% of customers cited consistency of experience across channels as important to them (CMO Council)
Recommendations for Genuine Holiday Gratitude
1. Hand-written cards with a personalized message to your best customers and partners (your tribe) is key to successful relationship management. These cards should not be mass produced or done in a template-styled way. You care about and appreciate their business, so show it. If your budget allows for it, then send a small gift too.
2. Printed cards with your signature are great for the next tier of customers and business contacts. These could be the people who fall under the one-time purchase or short-term project category. They were still nice to work with and you appreciate them, so share that holiday cheer.
3. Send an E-Card that has been designed with your visual brand guidelines to all of your contacts, even those who received a printed card. The larger list may include past customers who you did not actively engage with this year or people you’ve connected with at an event. Everyone deserves recognition for being a part of your business’ success and journey. If you can manage to personalize these messages, please do so.
4. Create social media posts for the bigger audience, beyond who you personally know. I recommend for you to schedule your posts further in advance than usual and be consistent with the message from your cards. Remember that there is a larger audience out there who are not yet customers or partners who may want to be recognized. Since this time of year tends to be hectic, you don’t want the small things like social posts to fall through the cracks. Get it done in advance and delegate the work that you don’t need to do yourself.
Take some time off. It’s the holidays!
Even if you do not celebrate any holidays, you can have holiday cheer and enjoy time off to reflect. During your time with family and friends, I challenge you to think about the year in review. Invite those you love to participate in your reflection by sharing with them your biggest successes and failures. That’s certainly my plan!
I will see you in January!
P.S. In January I will be hosting workshops here in Austin, TX focused on WordPress 101. You can see the details here.