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Traditional or E-Cards: Some Things Never Change

At last week’s staff meeting at Emily Post, holiday greeting cards were on the agenda. Each year inevitably someone asks about e-cards as opposed to traditional mailed cards.

Equally inevitably, we determine that for Emily Post traditional cards are the right choice. The biggest argument in favor of an e-card is ecological—no trees used and no carbon footprint in the delivery. Good reasons for sure, but somehow a virtual holiday card doesn’t have the presence of a traditional one. Literally, when we see the cards displayed in the office, each of those clients, vendors and friends is called to mind.

We like the tactile feel of a mailed card. While it’s true that an emailed card can be printed and put out in a reception area for all to enjoy, a message and image printed on twenty pound copier paper just doesn’t have the same feel as a traditional card. Besides, if your main reason for choosing an e-card is to be green, printing out the card sort of defeats the purpose. We also appreciate receiving mail that’s not junk mail or a bill. It makes going to the mailbox a pleasure rather than a chore.

That said, e-cards are here to stay and companies are electing to go with them. Better that than sending no card at all. The following tips that apply to traditional cards also apply to e-cards.

  • Be careful in building your list, and make sure your contacts are current. Ask yourself if each person is still a valued client, prospect, supplier, or friend of the company.
  • Check your addresses carefully. While you’ve done your due diligence throughout the year in maintaining your database, this is a good time to double check it for accuracy.
  • If you’re asked to provide names of those you want the company to send a card, be sure to get the names and pertinent information to the organizer as soon as possible. That person’s job is difficult enough without having to repeatedly remind people to submit their lists.
  • Holiday cards are an opportunity to reach out to people associated with your business. They are a friendly, relationship building gesture. They aren’t a vehicle for selling products and services so keep marketing and sales messages out of them.
  • The people you are sending cards to may well come from different ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. Be careful of including a message that contain a religious overtone.

You may find yourself wanting to send cards individually to business colleagues. In that case consider the following:

Make your list first. If it’s a large list, ask yourself if you have the budget to send the cards yourself and if you have the time to do the work of sending them.

If you are sending cards to colleagues at work, send them to their home, especially if you aren’t sending them to everyone. By sending them to the homes you avoid any hard feelings of people you haven’t sent them to.

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