December 21, 2015
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year! The winter holiday season is upon us! This means taking a few days off from work, singing some festive songs, and avoiding too much eggnog at the work party. Even though you may be taking some time off work, that doesn't mean you should take some time off from reaching out to your contacts. You can make sure you stay top of mind with your contacts even while you're on vacation for the holiday season.
The first thing you must think about is your contacts. What are they doing during the holiday season? What would they care about? What's the best way to communicate with them during this time?
Hint: they are very focused on themselves and their family, not you. It's harsh but it's the truth.
For most, the holiday season is an extraordinarily personal one. Almost everyone in every industry gets holiday vacation time. It's during that time that most people turn off their business minds and focus on the rarely given, but highly coveted, "family time".
So, to maintain relationships during this "family time", you must understand your contacts do not want another business pitch. Just think through how you would want to be approached during this same time. Below are my recommendations on how to keep relationships fresh during the holiday season:
As I mentioned above, the holidays are a personal time so do not include your business signature or mention anything about your business in your email. You're approaching your contacts as a person to person, not a business to client.
What type of email are your most likely to read: one with 5-7 sentences or 5-7 paragraphs? This also applies to text messages and phone calls.
Sending them an article or website that is not related to your business will keep the relationship fresh. Infographics are great for this purpose. Sending something outside your 'normal' email will keep you versatile and surprise your contact.
The point here is to stay top of mind, not start a lengthy conversation. In your email, do not ask any questions. Keep them all sentences. Example "Hope you and your family have a great holiday season" instead of "What is your family up to this holiday season?". It's a busy time of year and your contacts are probably more interested in spending the time with their own family, not engaging in conversation with you (the truth hurts!). Keep the questions for after the holiday season. I'm sure your contacts will be more than happy to tell you about their holidays once they're back to their normal routine.
Think about when/how your contacts are going to read their email. Odds are, they'll quickly glance at their phone while their family members are chatting or perhaps while their grandkids are watching a movie. You want something that will:
Another beautiful thing is that you can use Contactually's future scheduler to have these emails go out if you yourself are on vacation or off the grid. Since these emails won't require the contact to respond back, no need to worry about your inbox being flooded with responses. Do, however, be aware of any out of office messages! Having an auto-responder immediately sent to a very appreciative contact may be a little awkward.
The moral of the story is: put yourself in your contacts' shoes. What type of email would you want to read while you're waiting for your Aunt Elma to put the finishing touches on her famous apple pie?