Stay in Touch With Birthday Cards (Really)

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by on December 13, 2013 · 34 comments

One of the staples of my marketing program is birthday cards. Really. I send them to anyone who is willing to share their information.

Why? Two reasons:

First, because a birthday card is always a welcome surprise. People seem to appreciate them.

Second, because everyone I’ve ever met has exactly one birthday. Develop “the card” for the year, and you’ve got your birthday card content set for the next 12 months, for everyone you know.

Want to know more?  Watch the video below.

(Want to know less? Unwatch the video below.)

(Move slider at bottom of video to adjust volume!)

 

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

LJ Anderson December 13, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Great idea and video! Do you send cards snail mail or do electronic cards?
Either way, it’s nice to be remembered. My b-day is June 19th and
you are welcome to send me a card.:) Happy holidays.

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Michael Katz December 13, 2013 at 3:25 pm

I use send out cards. Very convenient, especially once someone is in your database and you’ve got the card set to go. And happy to send you one this June – shoot me an email with your address!

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Cat Cox December 13, 2013 at 2:10 pm

And today is my birthday! Just sayin’ … (:

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Michael Katz December 13, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Nice! Watch your mailbox…

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Nils December 13, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Nice to see you again are keeping it real!

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Michael Katz December 13, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Real am I, Nils.

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Lyn Fishman December 13, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Excellent advice that we all know and which we tend to forget.
BTW…my birthday is January 6th :)

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Michael Katz December 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Good to know Lyn – send me your address and get ready!

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Fiona Moore December 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Have been snowed in for 5 days solid. Totally unexpected here in western Oregon. Hope to be thawed out by my birthday on February 16th.

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Michael Katz December 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Nice segue, Fiona! I hope the snow thaws for you soon. Send me your mailing address!

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Sue Horner December 13, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Nice idea, but I am not sure it always works. My dentist sends birthday cards to me and my family, and they go right to recycling. If he included a container of dental floss or a toothbrush, it would be a different story!

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Michael Katz December 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Hello Sue! I agree, it definitely doesn’t always work. Do you think there’s a difference when you’ve voluntarily provided your birthday? Assuming your dentist didn’t promise a card, he just pulled it from your record. What do you think?

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Heather Kramer Almquist December 13, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Bummer for the dentist! Still, I suppose there are cards that feel corporate and cards that feel personal. We send out cards to clients for a variety of occasions (birthday, thank you, anniversary, holiday, just because, you get the idea). The cards are ridiculously inexpensive AND when we take the time to write something personal, even just a sentence or two, it makes all the difference. We absolutely love our clients and they know it. :)

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Michael Katz December 14, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Hi Heather!
I think the personal piece makes a big difference. There’s always a need to balance scale and personal, of course, so it’s often a judgement call. (Another good reason to separate our contact lists into priority groups, so we can do things that require more time/effort/cost for those who, for whatever reason, are considered more important.)

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Michael McLaughlin December 17, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Great advice, Michael–as usual. Sue may be on to something, though. You could send floss to people to avoid the dreaded recycle bin. Just sayin’.

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Michael Katz December 18, 2013 at 9:15 am

I agree. I can see the card already: “Happy Birthday. (Ahem, sorry, but I think there’s something in your teeth.)”

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Sunni December 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm

That’s “lumpy mail” for ya. ;-)

TJ Miller December 13, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Michael my birthday is July 30th and you have my info – get stuff from you already.
I’m not sure why nobody asked, but I will.

When is your birthday Michael? I’ll definitely send you a card.

I always read your posts/emails – don’t want to miss what keeps me on track.
Stay warm. We had a cold front last night in Bradenton. Got down to 52. Never even hit 80 today. But I like REAL weather so we are headed to St. Paul for the winter break. Keep it real.

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Michael Katz December 13, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Your birthday is logged and ready for next July TJ!

Mine is August 20, 1987.

And have fun in St. Paul – that is some serious cold out there!!

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Angie Leach December 13, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Hi Michael! I LOVE this message…especially since it’s my job to teach people how to make birthday and other greeting cards with rubber stamps and card stock! Thank you for reminding ME that this is definitely my best form of advertising to send my own cards! Let me know if you need any special cards to send to your best customers!

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Michael Katz December 14, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Very cool, Angie. I think the electronic world we live in makes the handcrafted stuff more appreciated than ever.

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Sari December 14, 2013 at 2:15 am

You’re fabulous. That’s all.

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Michael Katz December 14, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Can you call my wife and pass that along, Sari?

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Sunni December 14, 2013 at 9:53 am

Hey Michael,

So true about it being unexpected. When I do wish people happy birthday 4 months after they told me, they often say “How did you know?” lol

But I’ve never consistently sent out birthday cards. What do you like most about SendOutCards vs. handwriting with ink? I get the time saving part for sure, though I see the tradeoff in a printer doing cursive fonts vs. something handwritten.

Cost / benefit though, and better to use SendOutCards or similar if that’d make the practice easier to keep up.

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Michael Katz December 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Hi Sunni!
I love send out cards for this kind of thing for the convenience and the quality of the cards. If you’re already in my database, SOC has a place to enter a birthday. Then they send me an email reminder a couple of weeks before. I can send the card from there in about 30 seconds.

Better, though, would be for me to hand write cards and send then – more personal. Better than that would be a phone call. Better than that would be for me to come to your house and give you a hug.

So it’s not a right or wrong thing, so much as a decision on what’s reasonable. If I had to hand write cards, I’d never do it, so SOC is a good compromise.

You can send a couple for free off of my account:
sendoutcards.com/michaelkatz

And yes, I don’t hide the address gathering. I say, “I send really good birthday cards. Give me yours and your address and I’ll send it to you!”

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Sunni December 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Good stuff, Michael.

So you create your ‘card design for the year’ and send that to everyone? Sounds smart, since everyone just has one birthday per year.

I’ll email you my address to get on you birthday card train. :-)

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Sunni December 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Was just wondering…

Does SOC send people reminders to keep their addresses updated in the system? (since people move)

Plaxo was doing that, and I see they’re still around, but I don’t know if there’s any integration.

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Michael Katz December 16, 2013 at 4:48 pm

No on SOC. Although unlike email, when the address is bad, the card comes back through the mail with a forwarding address sticker. I use that to update the record. Not perfect, but it works pretty well.

Sunni December 14, 2013 at 9:57 am

Btw, any tips on how to cleverly ask for someone’s address? Or do you just say (like you have in the comments above) “Gimme your address and I’ll send you a birthday card”?

Double btw, I like when you do videos. You’ve got the same fun spirit as in your writing.

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Diane December 15, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Michael: I’ve been following you for awhile and want to thank you for the great presentation you did for AWAI’s B2B summit yesterday — using your program to help some of my CPA colleagues with some desperately needed newsletters.

BTW, my birthday is March 4 :-)

Diane

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Michael Katz December 15, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Thanks for following, Diane (I thought I heard footsteps!). And glad you’re enjoying the AWAI program.

Send me your mailing address and I’ll send you a (snail mail) bday card!

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Brian Bennington December 15, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Hey Michael, You’re the “ginchiest”! (Always wanted to use that word, made popular by “Kookie” Ed Byrnes on “77 Sunset Strip”.) I’ve been doing custom-designed Birthday cards for 15+ years for my small group of auto dealership clients. Your understanding of their importance and suggestion they’re sent is “right on.”
But, if they’re going to clients, I’d suggest a 24 to 48 hour follow-up call (while the card is fresh in their minds) with suggested content something like the following: “You know, after I sent you your BD card, I got to thinking I’d better check on the “whatever” you got from me.” In today’s society, where almost no one wants an unsolicited phone call from a sales rep, a recently received BD card can soften a customer’s response and possibly open the door to mentioning more business. By the way, my birthdate is Jan. 12, and I’d love to receive a card from the funniest, most well-rounded and well-grounded sales trainer I “almost” know! I’ll email my address.

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Michael Katz December 16, 2013 at 11:36 am

Hello Brian!
A great suggestion on follow through from strong marketing tactics.
Thanks for reading and writing!
Ginchily yours,
Michael

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Carol Davis December 26, 2013 at 1:22 pm

I am faithful to do this for my customers and friends on my FB page and they do love it! You just missed my Birthday which was yesterday, Christmas Day but I love belated cards just as much! Thank you always for the great ideas and inspiration to wow and acknowledge our customers in every way possible!
Carol

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