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Thinking Beyond the Basics For Your Business


Last week we explored some important ways to make a great first impression for your business in the new year. But, do be aware that first impressions don’t last forever! Personal and memorable follow-up is as important as that very first “hello.” In a world of disposable everything and nonstop feeds, it’s paramount to have a strategy for high-touch contact with customers that’s genuine and takes them to a moment of real-time smiles delivered directly from you, the human behind your business.

While high-touch customer contact may seem daunting on top of all of the other aspects of running your own business (and social feeds, and production, and accounts receivable…), spending a day planning it out on a quarterly basis takes the stress out of what can feel like just another to-do.

This planning day is the time to have fun, remember why you started your business and share that joy and playfulness with your current and future customers. Here’s a real-life story that should drive this point home:

I discovered illustrator Jordan Sondler years ago and after visiting her website to see more of her work, I noticed that she had a sign-up for “snail mail.” Of course, I signed up and anxiously awaited a delivery. She had me at the novelty (and thoughtfulness) of a special delivery of a piece of physical mail that I would actually look forward to!

Lo and behold, a few weeks later a handwritten enveloped appeared, stuffed with stickers of some of her illustrations and a handwritten note simply telling me to have a nice day. I’ll never forget that.

This is what you’re going for.

Click through to read more about a simple, quarterly plan to connect emotionally with your current and future customer base and some quality products that can help you make someone smile. –Caitlin


This post is brought to you by Carda. Carda makes cards worth keeping. Visit Carda’s shop to see all of their products, including eco-friendly packaging, packaging tags, notecards, name cards, mini cards and stickers.

Okay, so let’s take a look at the plan.

Quarter 1: The First 3 Months after your first impression (contact)  

This can start any month, 30 days or so after your first encounter with the customer.

Touch base with a personal note on your stationery recalling a high note from your initial meeting or conversation. Think about what made you feel connected to the persona and/or their business, mission or problem they need to solve with your help, and remind them of it!

Mail this via snail mail or better yet, drop it off in person.

A great example of this in practice: After a walking holiday in Perth, Carda’s Co-founder, Siyun, was inspired by her trip to design a marketing kit for the tour company. The design was simple: Siyun created what she as a customer would have wanted to receive after a wonderful holiday experience. The result was an illustrated blank notecard for a personalized message from the tour company and specially printed “polaroids.” These “polaroids” are actually a special template which Carda will be offering customers soon. It allows businesses to include some memorable photos in a polaroid format with a special gloss finishing that adds the distinctive sheen of a photograph. This is where small businesses can stand out.


Quarter 2:

Send a “Just checking in” note on high-quality paper stock embellished with a sticker with either your company name/logo or a phrase, tagline or motto that your current or future customer will associate with you and your company. For example, “We heart our customers,” “We get it done,” or “We heart solving problems!” Feel free to hand-draw a scalloped border or other design to call attention to the sticker and the thought, promise, etc.


Quarter 3:

If you’re courting a new customer and you haven’t heard from them or received a reply or order to your two previous reach-outs, hit them with a high-end piece like a metallic ink embossed notecard that says something memorable, or a provocative statement like “Farewell?” or “Call me if you need me!”

For existing customers, use the same type of card embossed with an appreciative message like “We’re glad to know you,” and include a personal note about one thing you love about their business, and let them know you’re supporting their business by sharing that you’ve recommended their product or service to a family member or friend. (This should be true, of course!)


Quarter 4:

If you still haven’t gotten a reply from a potential customer, chances are they aren’t going to become a client at this point and they aren’t the type of client you deserve!

Reach out to your existing customers with a very personal offer or discount written on the back of your stand-out business card. Think metallics, heavyweight stock or letterpress. Let them know you’ve got a new product or service and you wanted them to enjoy it at a small discount as a “thank you” for being such a great customer.


General Tips To Remember To Go Beyond The Basics:

1. Make sure you stand out, but in a good way since you’re employing a high-touch strategy! Rely on eye-catching colors, impactful typography with a special, bespoke touch! Forget flimsy and off-the-shelf stationery.

2. Remember, it’s a competitive advantage if you provide a unique experience that reinforces your brand boldly, clearly and frequently. You need to continuously remind a customer why they come to your business or why they should.

3. People remember and respond to cohesive presentations and colors. With a unified aesthetic voice you can draw them in, and once you’ve sparked their interest and shown your nonintrusive, personal follow-up, your amazing product will create the relationship for the long haul.

via Design*Sponge