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How to Know When Sending an E-card Outperforms a Handwritten Note

Writing Tips

ecard computer

E-cards are safe, cheap and eco-friendly.  Right?

Before getting to helpful etiquette and that handy checklist, you should first consider if the reported benefits of sending e-cards actually exist.

Besides the cool graphics and captivating animation, millions of people send e-cards with the hopes of saving money and saving the environment.

But that’s likely not the case.

There’s no such thing as Free

No stamps required.  Extra money in your pocket.

That can’t be a bad thing, right?

Many of these free online e-card services use distracting advertisements and harmful phishing software to recover the costs of sending their e-card.

With the average attention span for online users in the US now shorter than that of a goldfish, it’s likely that your friends and family won’t even see your well-intentioned e-card.  Distracting and time-consuming ads will spoil your intended sentiment.

If the advertisements don’t ruin your e-card, then the harmful spyware or phishing software that was just unknowingly installed on their computer certainly will.

Most e-card services rely on email for distribution.  This opens the door for a host of security and privacy issues.

Data published by Kaspersky Lab showed an increase in malicious attachments sent along with e-cards, especially around major holidays.  Even prominent card brands like Hallmark and are susceptible to phishing attacks.

People are now hesitant to open ecards.  With attacks on consumer privacy and personal data on the rise, you should consider if sending an ecard to friends and family is worth the risk. Will they even get opened?

Certainly you can get around these malicious attacks by subscribing to a paid e-card service.  And there are some great ones out there.  No longer free, so some of the benefit of sending an ecard vanishes.

But, there’s still saving the environment!

Sort of.

If you know what to look for in a greeting card, you can actually do more to protect the environment by sending a traditional paper greeting card!

How to Spot Eco-friendly Paper Products

E-cards don’t use paper.  True.

Paper greeting cards destroy trees and natural resources.  False.

You can now save trees and the environment by purchasing traditional greeting cards.

And you actually become part of an expanding market for goods that take trash and turn them into treasure!

The secret is knowing how to identify a truly eco-friendly card.  It’s simple, if you know the lingo.

Recycling-Terms-Infographic Symbols and word choice can be misleading. Manufacturers often use the recycling symbol and words like "recyclable" to make you think you are purchasing an eco-friendly product.

If you want to mail greeting cards that are recycled and eco-friendly in the truest sense, look for products and packaging made from 100% post consumer recycled Waste.  The official FSC-certified logo is an added bonus.  At R&B Printery, we use 100% PCW recycled papers for our cards and envelopes.

You can get all the benefits of saving trees and the environment while feeling good about the cards you are mailing.

Now you have the facts.

But, you may still decide to use or pay for a reputable e-card service.  Handwritten, traditional greeting cards have their place.  And so do e-cards.

There are a few features of an ecard that can help you be the hero.

4 Ecard Features That Can Save Your Reputation

Handwritten notes are always acceptable.

But, in some cases, an e-card may be your only option.

Feature #1: Ecards are almost instantaneous.

It happens.

You found out today that you are now hosting the party.  Problem is, the party is in two days.  Oops!

If your time machine is at the shop for repairs, you don’t have many options at this point for notifying people of the event.  E-cards are your best option in situations where space, time, and distance are working against you.

Your party, or any other last minute event, can still be a success.  Use a reputable e-card service to quickly notify your guest list of the upcoming event.  Most services will even collect RSVP’s for you.

Feature #2: No mailing address required.

Nowadays friends and family can live just about anywhere.

Heck, you may have never even been to many of your online “friends” homes, let alone have their mailing address handy.

Keeping up with ever-changing physical mailing addresses can pose a never-ending obstacle to your handwritten notes.

If gathering physical mailing address leaves you feeling like you are having to chase people down for their info, sending an e-card is an acceptable option.

Feature #3: Schedule an e-card to send at a later date.

This is likely the coolest feature of using an e-card service.

Some respected e-card companies offer the ability to pre-schedule an e-card to send out at a later date.

Going to be out of the country?  Planning to be on vacation?

You can be out of touch and get credit for remembering that important event.  Create an e-card and schedule it to send while you’re gone.  Knowing you scheduled it to send weeks or months earlier makes it even more special for the recipient.

Extra brownie points for you!

Just beware that not all e-card services offer this feature.

Feature #4: Combine with an electronic gift card for easy online shopping

Easily send a digital gift card and e-card greeting all in one!

This is a great option for those who have friends and loved ones around the world.

American Greetings offers the unique option of attaching and sending a digital gift card along with your e-greeting card.  With over 25 major online retailers to choose from, you can pick just the right gift card.

Skip customs, shipping fees, and the fear that your gift won’t make it for delivery in time.  Simply pick a digital gift card and send it along with your personalized e-card.

Use an e-greeting card when sending a digital gift to a far away friend, family member, or co-worker.

Over to You

Using a trusted e-card service may save you in a pinch.  You’ll even get a pass from the etiquette fairy if any of the following applies:

  1. When planning ahead is not an option
  2. When you don’t have a mailing address
  3. When you need to schedule and send a card in the future
  4. When sending e-gifts far away

Of course, we’d much rather see you write a handwritten note.  But improving your relationships and staying in touch with friends and family is the point.

So…if it’s an e-card or nothing, click away!


Flickr creative commons image courtesy of anonymous collective.

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