Spokane Journal of Business

Keeping in touch

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Cami Rogers believes in the value of keeping in touch.

Through her Spokane Valley home-based business, Cami Sends Cards LLC, Rogers provides a unique direct-mailing service, in which she sends customized greeting cards to clients on behalf of businesspeople.

Sending a greeting card is a more personalized way of reaching out to your client base, she writes in her letter to potential customers. The bottom line is that customers will appreciate your thinking of them.

Even her business card is folded in the shape of a greeting card.

I like for people to show appreciation and say thank you to their clients, Rogers says. It makes someones day to open a greeting card.

Keeping in touch with greeting cards is an alternative to a direct mailing of commercial marketing materials and can be a way for busy professionals to connect with clients consistently and show their appreciation, Rogers says. They hope that connection will lead to repeat business and referrals, and sometimes her customers benefit. If they get one referral, it pays for the whole mailing.

The soft-spoken Rogers, who warmly greeted a reporter recently, practices what she preaches. She took time to send a thank you note following an interview.

Rogers clients are mostly Spokane businesspeople, although she also has clients in Seattle and Coeur dAlene. She has mailed cards as far away as Japan and Australia.

Rogers formerly was a medical secretary at Sacred Heart Medical Center & Childrens Hospital, of Spokane, but accepted a buyout from the hospital during a work-force cutback several years ago. Pondering what to do next, she saw a notice about a greeting card business in a small-business magazine. The idea appealed to her.

I like to do computer work, and I thought itd fit me perfectly, she says. Im creative, I like to quilt, and I enjoy meeting with people.

She and her husband, Kurt, launched Cami Sends Cards in 2005.

The owners are the businesss sole employees. Cami Rogers handles the day-to-day operations of Cami Sends Cards while her husband, chief financial officer at Spokanes Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories Inc., handles the financial side.

The couple, who have four daughters from age 5 to 17, share an organized office in their home, equipped with two desks, two computers, a phone, a fax, and a special printer for printing cards with customized greetings.

I have a big closet that has six shelves in which I store all my cards and envelopes, Rogers says. I have to be organized to be able to do my job.

Cami Sends Cards acts as an administrative assistant and offers to mail cards to recognize birthdays, births, and as general thank-yous, thank-yous for referrals, and to express sympathy, as well for as other occasions.

Rogers says her service is most popular with real estate agents who ask her to mail cards to home buyers congratulating them on the purchase of their new homes. In a real estate follow-up program she offers, Rogers then sends out a series of seven cards to home buyers right after they buy their homes and then every six months for three years after their purchase closes, she says. The service is a good way for professionals to keep in touch with their clients if they dont have their own assistants, she says.

Prices start from $24.95 to mail seven greeting cards over a period of three years. Rates for periodic bulk mailings, or personalized mailing card program, range from $1.79 per card per month to mail more than 501 cards to $2.19 per card per month to send cards to between 50 and 200 addresses. Bimonthly and quarterly rates are available. People who wish to use her services intermittently must pay a $30 sign-up fee. Rogers also charges for miscellaneous services, such as address changes, resending a card, ZIP code research, and more.

Customers may select card styles and greetings from lists of alternatives. Just a note of thanks. I enjoy working with you and appreciate your business, for example.

They can personalize their own greeting message and choose from hundreds of cards from one of her vendors, Rogers says. She hand writes the salutation in each card.

Brightly colored envelopes are addressed with the businesss return address and commemorative postage and include a business card. Rogers also maintains the customers client database.

In addition to real estate agents, Rogers customers include financial advisers and other businesspeople who want to keep a relationships with clients, she says.

The company logo isnt on the card, she says. It doesnt look like its commercial. It looks more personal.

Rogers declines to disclose the companys revenues, but says its customer base is growing. Its already a full-time job, she says.

She began marketing her business to fellow members of the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. Now, she operates a booth at various conferences and garners business through referrals.

The days surrounding Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July are the most popular time to send cards, Rogers says. Thanksgiving is No. 1, and everyone says thank you, she says. The Fourth of July holiday is a good midyear time to reach out.

Everyone sends Christmas cards, she asserts, so mailing a card at Thanksgiving is a way to make a business stand out.

I really see this business booming with the real estate follow-up program, Rogers says. I still do a lot of personalized mailings, but I see it going toward the real estate market.

Contact Sandra Hosking at (509) 344-1260 or via e-mail at sandyh@spokanejournal.com.

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