The Problem with Including Business Cards in Thank You Notes

It alters your message and wastes money. There’s a time for blatant self-promotion and there’s a time for expressing your deepest gratitude. The two shall never meet. If you do, the recipient of your note will surely wonder if you have a hidden agenda. Unfortunately, that could mean less than desirable results for your efforts. The last thing you want is to have your clients wonder how grateful you really are.

So how do you let the recipient know what you do and how to contact you? You do a little thing I like to call soft self promotion. I usually scribble a note at the bottom of the card saying something like, “Let me know if you ever need anything” or “I’d be happy to return the favor”. Right after my signature, I either include my phone number or e-mail address. This lets the person know I am a business woman who genuinely cares about the recipient’s well-being as opposed to being a business woman who only cares about the recipient if there’s something in it for me. Get it?  It’s one of the major differences between soft self-promotion and blatant (hard) self-promotion. Plus it seems to be more inline with proper business etiquette.  Think about it. Are you really going to think favorably of a holiday card from your accountant with a business card in it? You just might be prompted to roll your eyes at it and immediately trash it. Once a business card gets placed in a note or holiday card the intentions may immediately be skewed.

I learned this the hard way. After sending hundreds of holiday and thank you cards with my business card enclosed with little to no response it dawned on me that I was doing it completely wrong. Not only was I was wasting time and money on stamps, I was connecting with my audience the way I had hoped.  I analyzed my approach and realized I was sending the complete opposite message than what I wanted to communicate.  The hallelujah chorus sounded once I replaced my business card with jotting down my contact information. Suddenly, the responses and words of gratitude kept pouring in. It’s amazing what a small change can do for business and how much money it can save!

Do you respond favorably to cards with a business card placed inside? Do you receive responses from placing business cards in thank you note?


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