Each year, when the decorations start flooding the department stores, our thoughts turn to our list of things to do. If you’re in business, sending cards to your clients as a thank you is usually high on the list. But does a mass-produced card with a bland message inside really express your appreciation? Read Joe Girardo’s story, and let’s see if you’re not convinced how customising your greeting cards can have a massive impact on your business.
The power of personalisation
Joe Girard was a salesman, and a good one at that. A tough upbringing and a lack of formal education had him working in various retail roles from the age of 16. It wasn’t until he got a job in a Chevrolet dealership that Joe realised he was a salesman. And his point of difference? Using personalised greeting cards to stay front and centre of his customer’s mind.
Joe’s idea was to send a different card each month to the dealership’s database – around 13,000 people. He personalised the cards not with the message inside (they all said the same thing: “I like you”), but with the images on the front. Each year he hired an illustrator to design 12 different cards that celebrated the big and fun events for the year – Halloween, Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, etc. And each month he hired two people out of his own pocket to post the cards so they would land in the letterboxes around Michigan. In the days before social media this was a diamond of an idea, as it meant Joe was in contact with his ideal customer every single month, building his brand awareness and becoming a trusted member of the Chevrolet team. When it came time for a family to buy a new car, the first person who came to mind was Joe.
This marketing campaign was so successful that Joe is in the Guinness Book of World Records for selling more cars than any single person in history – 13,001 to be exact. In his 15 years of selling cars and trucks he spent 12 consecutive years as the number one salesperson in the country. And for this achievement he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame – the only salesperson to have received the honor.
Can you be like Joe?
Of course you can, Well, maybe you won’t send out 13,000 cards and break worldwide sales records. But you can customise your cards to make an impact on your clients. Start with small print runs for your favourite or longest customers and see what the response is like. But remember this is a long game, and consistency is key.
As your sales numbers grow, so too will your customer database. All you need to get started are some images and words that speak directly to your target market. (Check out our post on 10 Free Image Resources to find something that suits.)
Once you have your images, have some fun with the online design software. With a little imagination you can create something unique to your brand. And if you think you don’t have any design skills, there are plenty of pre-made templates to help you on your way.