Sending holiday e-mails to your customers

In 2009 I have seen something of years past become popular again: the holiday e-mail. I’m not bashing the idea of sending a nice note out or even the concept of sending real cards through the postal service. What gets me is the e-mail that was clearly crafted in about 2 hours of the work day before a holiday. It should have taken no longer to create than the call for help they sent out right before drafting up this holiday masterpiece. An e-mail sent from your computer telling me that your computer isn’t working doesn’t tell me much, since it clearly is working.

Lots of people and companies actually go out of their way to put together a good e-card and send it out a few days before the holiday. It usually has a sale announcement or is saying that their offices will be closed. Its nice, and its clearly something they sent to an entire mailing list. Great.

These craftily drafted letters though have a subject like “Happy Holidays” and only come from people trying to sell you something, but that are too lazy to actually make a pitch to you. There is always an attachment. You open the message to find a piece of clip art (from the clip art disk that came with their copy of MS Office 1997) followed by a message. Most holidays are actually mentioned, but around Christmas the political correctness of these people has them only referring to “Holidays”.  The rest of the  message is their signature file which has 6 phone numbers, an address, maybe a website URL, their title, a picture of their dog, their kids birthdates, and some crafty quote from their favorite movie of 1988. I’m kidding about some of that.

So what is the proper way of doing this without sending spam? There are 2 answers: a.) don’t do it; and b.) use a real mailing service to get it done. There are a few reasons why these should be sent out. The first is obvious: you’re not going to be working, but by sending the e-mail you might still be making money. The second: you actually care to wish someone a nice holiday. The third: because they call you a lot and you want them to know you won’t be there, and subconsciously tell them that if they need to get ahold of you to try their cell phone or home phone.

So to those of you sending out e-mails hoping someone is going to call you: STOP, RE-EVALUATE what you are doing! To those of you maintaining real, legal mailing lists and using them to actually promote things: good work!