Stop the Holiday eCards

Stop the Holiday eCards

Every venue of communication has a window of opportunity.   The window for generic holiday eCards has opened and shut.  Finis.  Done.   It has been taken over by the mob.  If you have clients and want to do a holiday outreach,  read on.

Why do I say this?  In my email inbox today, I had over 20 holiday eCards.  Their were some nice ones, but most, I think missed the mark.  No bah humbug intended, I love the holidays.  In the 20 days leading to Xmas, my whole family sings a holiday tune each night.  Each of my three children pick a song and put an ornament on a wall hanging xmas tree that grandma made for them.  A new tradition, with fun and meaning for a 2, 4 and 5 year old.  We put the time in.  Parenting, like a business relationship is about the time.  It would not matter what we did.  I could spend the time telling my 5 year old about the “big bang” and the origin of the universe (her favorite story).  It’s about putting in the time.

I’m not here to make a commentary on the spirit of the holidays, this is pure, good business advice.  I hope you read it in time.

First, a history lesson:  Holiday eCards emerged with the advent of email.  It was a natural fit. Easy to do and send.  You could reach out to clients that you may never go to the expense of mailing a card to.  On the receiving end, it was a new thing, unique and unexpected.

This is not the case today.  Today, if I wanted, I could send a generic holiday email to my 10,000+ linkedIN connections for less than $1.  I asked one of my engineers on the actual server time cost… it really is less than $1.  This is not taking into account the persons time to pick a holiday design, choose a generic, well wishing slogan, and click the send button.

This year, I initially thought about sending an eCard.  I’m a technology person and it seemed “logical”.  Thank you to April, Jenny & Mike from Broadlook for stopping me.  Broadlook sent out hand – signed cards this year.

The axiom that I’ve learned in this:

The impact of your holiday outreach is in direct proportion to the time and care you put in.

I like to classify things. From the cards that I got, I thought I would put together a continuum of impact.

Generic holiday eCard – These simply suck.  Stop sending them.  Few people care unless you are the only one sending them a card.    FAIL

Animated holiday eCard – These were cool and fun…3 years ago. Please stop sending these as well.  (Mom can you hear me?)  FAIL

Company branded holiday eCard – The same as Generic company eCard, except sporting a company logo on top of the usual snowflakes and mistletoe.  For the 3rd time…please stop sending these.  FAIL

Holiday Photo eCard – This is acceptable and hats off to the team at Entice Labs who sent out a great eCard. Why was it great?  It had a picture of their entire company.  For me, it was nice to see people I had met once a trade show and had talked to several times.  This passes my “time and caring” litmus test.  At some point, all business at the company had to stop so they could go outside and take a group photo. Nice touch.  PASS

Personalized eCard – When I say “personalized” I mean that someone took the time to write something.  Not a simple one liner, but a well thought out something.  One of the best cards I got this year was 3 pages from a family run business, who lost a husband and father to a tragic accident.  The card was a thank you, a year synopsis of how the business was faring and a heart felt holiday greeting.  Yes it was mass-mailed, but the content took several hours to write. They put the time in.  PASS

New Media eCards – Last year, this was cool, and for those who haven’t seen it yet, it can still be cool this year.  If you have no idea what I am talking about, see  If you wait until next year, it won’t be cool. PASS (this year)  FAIL (next year)

What did Broadlook send this year? We went with hand written cards.

Our card features our new company mascot, Captain Archer.  180 pounds of love and the chagrin to the cleaning company.  We lost Archer’s Mom & our 1st company mascot, Captain Janeway to cancer this year.  I miss her.

Igor & Janeway as a puppy in the 1st Broadlook office in 2002.  400 sq ft of fun!

Thoughts on picking a recruiting vertical; building a new desk

What is a good vertical market to recruit in?   I get asked this question every week.    

However, most often the question is more a question of what I “feel” would be a good market to start a new desk specialty in.  

“Donato, what do you feel a good new desk specialty would be?” 

I say. “I feel like a great market would be placing sales reps in recruiting software companies that do real time data mining of contact information.”  

They respond, “but Donato, Broadlook is the only company I know that does this kind of thing.”

“That’s right”, I say.  “..and I don’t pay fees”   <grin>

About this time they realize I am having fun at their expense and I chime in. “You asked me what I feel, not what I think.”

Most recruiters don’t think it through thoroughly when starting a new desk.   Lets face it, thinking is hard.  A day of designing software wipes me out more than a triathlon (ok I’ve only done one). It’s not their fault.  This is how they were taught.  Or I should say, this is how they learned.  They watch someone who was a big biller and tried to do what they heard.

When discussing the creation of a new desk, I hear a good deal about reading everything from an industry, articles, journals, etc.  Wake up, this type of activity is about learning about the industry, not if the niche will support a desk.  If I am going to trust my livelihood to one vertical or another,  forget the gut, give me data.

“Hey Donato, are you telling me to ignore my gut instinct?”  


The role of the “gut instinct” in this whole process should precede the data gathering.  The gut should lead you to the top several candidates and then you then expose to the scientific method.  The gut gets excited while reading and learning.  Don’t let it get carried away.

The gut is the emotion, the wind.  Let the data be the rudder and the sail.

To start a new desk, I would prefer solid facts about a potential specialty, such as:

How many open jobs, by state and nationally?   (size of universe)
How many recruiters specialize in the niche?     (competition)
What are the average fees paid to recruiters?    (compensation)
What resources can I use to build a candidate pool?  (sourcing)
What resources can I use to win business?  (marketing)
Will I enjoy working this desk specialty? (mental health)
Can I own the space, can I brand this space as mine?  (branding)

Once you do decide on a new desk specialty, based on the data, the first thing to do is think about branding yourself.  I’ll focus on the other questions in my next few blogs.  A great example of branding is Harry Joiner and his site

How easy is it to brand yourself?   Two areas that I know are hot are Physical Therapists and Nanotechnology.  Very different, but both very hot.  So I went out to and checked the following web sites:

BIOFUELRECRUITER.COM                            (FREE)
FUELCELLRECRUITER.COM                          (TAKEN)

Most of them were free and only one was taken. Again, all hot, hot, hot.

Heads up.  Don’t try to go register, PHYSICALTHERAPISTRECRUITER.COM or NANOTECHNOLOGYRECRUITER.COM because I just registered them.  The others are free as of this writing.  I may not fetch the 99K that Jason Davis is asking for, but they will sell for a hefty profit.

The first Physical Therapist Recruiter to purchase the Broadlook Suite, you can have that site for free.  (I have no passion for that desk).  New clients only.

Don’t ask for  Nanotech excites me.  It’s mine.

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