Creating a Lucrative Line of Greeting Cards
By Doug Farrick
Learn how you can cash in on the never-ending popularity of greeting cards. Here's a step-by-step plan for creating a lucrative line of greeting cards that will not only bring in a nice profit but also promote your creative business, too.
With an overall plann for creating a lucrative line of greeting cards, you can create great greeting cards that will be appealing to a variety of audiences. Your (firms) job will be to create a line of greeting cards that are targeted to local businesses and groups in your community.
Choose a niche (or be damned) - Traditional categories include holiday, wedding, anniversary, vow renewal, holiday, baby, graduation, special occasion, gifts and everyday greeting cards. Choose one or many categories - that's completely up to you (and your budget)
Do the necessary research - please - Study the various cards on the market. Visit local card shops to find the names of companies whose product line is compatible with the kind you plan to do. Find out what's working for them, then integrate these lessons in your own operation.
This will give you a firm idea of the designs that will be sellable to other people/organizations. Find out what the competition is doing so that you are competitive regarding price, quality and service.
Formulate your own design style - The designs you choose should reflect your creative firms particular style. So take your time in formulating the visual direction you want to pursue. As for creative tools you can use any of the following: desktop publishing software (Publisher, Word), greeting card design software (just Google the keywords) or graphic software (ie; Photoshop, Gimp, Illustrator) or page layout software (Quark, Indesign, etc.)
Words are important, too - You will need to write the front cover, inside and back cover text for each of your greeting cards. Words (along with images) drive the emotion of the card but you know that. It's worth repeating - words matter - a lot.
Pitching Your Product - When you have a number of greeting cards to present to potential customers, you will need to develop your sales pitch. Your sales pitch will be based on how you can fulfill the customer's need with your products based on a profile that you have created for each potential customer. For instance, the sales pitch that you make to a historical association could emphasize the sentimental and historic value of Victorian style greeting cards or a pitch made to a school could be made stronger by with the possibility of selling your greeting cards as a fundraiser product. Take the time to think about a unique angle (think press release) that makes sense to the client.
Go local first - Instead of trying to compete with large greeting card companies, choose to market your greeting cards to the people and companies you know in your local community where you live and work. Leverage what you already have. After your initial investment in material and printing, the money made from every greeting card sale afterwards will be profit and, of course, the publicity is free.
Use the "pillar" marketing strategy - 1 (one) is often called the worst number in business because if that one ever goes away you are up the creek with out a paddle. Therefore, use the "pillar" strategy which refers to the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Each new marketing "pillar" you implement such as: phone calls, face-to-face visits, fax, email, forums, websites, direct mail, flyers, business cards, classified ads, radio ads and television ads only makes your marketing (and ultimately profit) stronger and stronger.
It's all about emotion - The use of greeting cards is to communicate, connect and express your emotions, your feelings, your care, and thoughts for people, friends and love ones. In 2007, the greeting card market climbed to over 10 billion dollars (Stationary, by the way, is a 37 billion industry!). Not to shabby.
And as the internet and technology advances, greeting cards seem to add that "personal" touch which helps differentiate your business from all the other Canada "Drys" out there.
Selling and more selling - Marketing your cards via a website is the least expensive way to sell your greeting cards. Some customers need to handle a greeting card to be able to decide on its value.
To appeal to these customers, you should offer free sample cards. You can include samples of your cards in your information kits. These types of tactics can win you loyal customers that are worth more that the ink and materials that went into your samples. Additionally, you can campaign friends, family members, community groups, schools, organizations, local stores and businesses to buy your company greeting cards.
Greeting cards are so ubiquitous I am surprised more people are not using the power of them to market their business. But when you do, you get the best of both worlds: an additional profit center and another way to market your firm. Most importantly, have fun with this project and really aim to let your firms personality shine through.