disconnect between making a purchase and giving a gift
When a special handwritten letter arrives in your mailbox amid the bills and junk you’re hard pressed not to feel giddy, wonder, and delight.
You want to capture those feelings to share them with someone else.
However, choosing a card, staring at the page wondering what to write, finding the address and a stamp, and finally mailing it can be overwhelming and frankly feel like more of a chore. The initial bonus is getting to cross it off your to-do list.
But should you bother?
The typical card buyer is not the recipient (generally, you don’t send a card to yourself!). The purchase of a card doesn’t necessarily bring instant gratification. It is the act of handing the art and message over to someone else that brings joy and laughter.
Now, one might argue a beautiful card in your hand with a pre-printed prompt to conquer the “what to write” fear might let you steal some of that delight for yourself before you give it away.
The buyer is the gift giver, and the act of giving the gift is rewarding.
But sometimes that satisfying feeling is disconnected from making a card purchase transaction.
Unless you’re someone on a mission to reclaim the lost art of letter writing, to most people, cards have a reputation of being disposable. They’re almost an afterthought that for some reason needs to be attached to a more significant, more tangible object. It is a utility for knowing who gave the present, and honestly, they require effort and thought.
Colleagues, other artists, and recipients of my notes offer spontaneous compliments about my work. And thank you’s from the receivers do filter back from others who speak with them on the phone or stop by for a visit, in addition to directly from the person who enjoyed getting the card. Both the sender and I know it was received. We know it brings a smile.
But convincing a buyer to put in some amount of work upfront to feel the excitement later, when the recipient opens it and keeps it, is challenging.
I’m often writing to someone who I know won’t answer – whether a child or a senior. I don’t know much about them, but try to choose things that might spark a conversation for wherever they’re at. The card they receive is something to talk about. Something that might trigger a memory, or just set a fun, merry tone for the day.
So, a one sided story can inspire meaningful connections.
That one sided story takes on another role in my business as these blog entries. Sometimes a journal entry of sorts is appropriate and sometimes it just feels like my adventures in lunchbox notes, suggestions for what to write, favorite postage, or picking just the right words are more about me than something to remind a reader to use paper mail, art + stories to make meaningful connections with their family too.
This particular post is also an experiment in how to participate in a business challenge about marketing struggles without alienating the intended audience.
My audience isn’t looking for creative marketing help, but it’s interesting to me, and I enjoy helping those who help me learn something. Sharing business thoughts could feel off topic from what my audience expects. Maybe it shows some behind the scenes human qualities with perhaps a nugget of something useful obtained by reading it.
Either way, it’s helping me look at how best to essentially encourage others to (pay money to) be kind, thoughtful, and let someone else know she is thought of today.
This post is a part of the Double Your Followers blog tour to spread the word about April Bowles-Olin’s upcoming CreativeLive course. Does hearing the word ‘marketing’ make your armpits start to drip with anxiety? Are you terrified of sounding salesy or like you have the personality of a dead blowfish? If so, come join me and 2,500+ entrepreneurs who’re taking April’s latest CreativeLive course, Double Your Followers with Creative Marketing. You can RSVP and watch for FREE. Yep, free. High fives, wildflowers, wine samples. Who doesn’t love free?