Make your message personal when sharing holiday thanks

By Donald Dunnington

This is the season for giving thanks (and buying lots of gifts), but when it comes to business giving, is your online sharing helping or hurting? It’s really easy to undermine your thank-you email or social media message if you let it evolve into a “buy now” opportunity.  Even if you avoid the the buy-more pitch, you’re headed for an unhelpful result when you write a generic thanks. 

Sound Like Yourself

“How can you sound like yourself,” Ben Yagoda asked in his book The Sound on the Page, “if you use the expressions of everybody else?” It’s so much easier than thinking of something original to share, when you send thanks in that default greeting card voice. It’s a form of the mindless mass messaging that sets the wrong tone for a blog, email or social media post. Do a robotic message at risk of undermining all the trust you’ve worked hard to build in your brand.

Real thanks, like a welcomed gift, feels personal to the receiver because it’s thoughtful. You’ve shown care in your hand-crafted message.

Like a Handwritten Greeting card

After years of marriage, finding the right greeting card—not to mention a gift—to give my wife for Christmas, birthday, anniversary, or any other special occasion becomes increasingly difficult. Flowers, dinner out, a special experience we can share—these gifts still work because they’re shared pleasures that create new memories. 

Beyond the gift, it’s the handwritten card that’s most appreciated. The secret is writing a message specific to this moment in time—something that resonates with moments that came before, perhaps that brings hope for moments yet to come. Like the thoughtful gift, a thoughtful, personal message takes more time, and that’s a price worth paying.

To Make Your Message Feel Personal, Be Personable

“But I can’t write a personal email message to every customer,” you may object. That’s true, but you can share yourself. You can tell a personal story of how and why you serve those who gave you their business, who continue to give their trust and come back again. Invest time and energy to create something that gives the receiver value, that says “thanks for reading this message, thanks for viewing this picture or video, thanks for allowing me to serve you, thanks for your trust.” 

You don’t need to write worn-out words of thanks to show gratitude. Demonstrate your thanks through the effort you invest in your message. Show gratitude by putting value in your communication, just as you work to put value into your products and services. Let your message reveal who you are as a person, what your organization means on a personal level, what it means to be able to serve your customers, your supporters, your advocates, and fans. 

You’re starting a conversation 

It can feel awkward writing something personal for public consumption. It’s like speaking from the heart in public when you’d feel safer reading from a script. In both cases the best communicators aim to start a conversation within each mind in the audience. You’re bridging the distance that separates speaker from audience, writer from reader.

People trust and believe a message that doesn’t sound scripted, that sounds like it’s aimed directly at them. When you’re asking readers or listeners to pay attention, be generous with the time you spend in preparing your message. That’s showing real gratitude.