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Marketing / Business relationships

Client Christmas cards: yes or no?

If you decide to send a card, here’s how to create a memorable moment of connection, rather than simply filling up their shelf.

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With Christmas in just seven weeks, the dreaded corporate card conundrum is upon us! It’s about this time of year that soloists ask themselves should I bother? Do clients appreciate it?

The answer depends on the approach you take.

Before putting pen to paper I urge you to stop and think about why you are doing it and what your actions may communicate. Are you sending cards from rote or a sense of obligation, or do you genuinely want to create a moment that matters for your client?

Christmas cards are simply another form of marketing, and the same rules apply to this marketing exercise as to any other.

"If this were all you were thinking of doing, then spend your money and time on taking a few of your top clients out for a coffee instead."

Here’s a rundown of your options.

Option 1: The no-card solution

Many solo business owners have given up on the annual Christmas card writing challenge, preferring instead to simply ignore the whole thing.

This is a perfectly fine and logical option, and it will not cost you any marketing points in the coming year. I have yet to hear a client say, “I would have rebooked with you, but you didn’t send me a Christmas card!”

Not sending a corporate Christmas card is the equivalent of not running an ad, or not sending a promotional email. Your clients are unlikely to miss it if you don’t do it.

Option 2: The mass-produced card with your name scribbled on it and nothing else

This approach is what gives corporate Christmas cards a bad name and is the spam version of Christmas cards. Doubly so if the front of your card contains your logo or you shove in promotional material into the envelope.

It is the equivalent of a checkout operator telling you to have a nice day: You know they don’t mean it but are doing it because they must.

If you head down this path, you can guarantee your card will not be remembered, never read beyond the first glance and will end up in landfill the second Christmas is over. The most you can hope for is it looks pretty while it sits ignored on their office shelf.

Not to put too fine a point on it, you are burning money and time for no return. If this were all you were thinking of doing, then spend your money and time on taking a few of your top clients out for a coffee instead. You will get a more significant ROI, create stronger connections with your favourite clients and have more fun in the process.

Option 3: Add meaning to your Christmas cards

Meaningful Christmas cards require a good deal of consideration. Just like any marketing activity, you want to make it memorable and stand out from the pack.

One way to do this is to think of Christmas cards as the ultimate in personalised marketing. It is a one-to-one communication that is fully customised to each person. You are trying to create a memorable moment of connection and deepen your ties with your client.

How can you do this? Personalisation ideas include:

  • Match the card to the person You could consider custom dataset printing, where each person’s name appears in the cover design.
  • Acknowledge and thank the person for the role they played in your business this year.
  • Name something that you are grateful for from working with the client other than their payment of your invoice.
  • Recount a happy memory or story involving the client that happened this year.
  • Reflect on any successes they had this year.
  • Share something about them that inspires you.
  • Include a shared joke (e.g. their laughter at your miserable Movember attempt).
  • Not every year is a good one. If they have had a tough year, or faced personal challenges, then it is OK to acknowledge these with hope for more positive year ahead.

Taking the time to create a memorable moment takes time and thought. It is the difference between a blanket marketing blast to a widely undifferentiated public who do not know or care about you, and a conversation between friends. Consider where your clients sit on that scale, and make your choice accordingly.

Do you believe client Christmas cards are valuable? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Ingrid Moyle

from Heart Harmony Communications is a psychology-based copywriter and web designer who works with small business owners to help them convert lookers into buyers online. When not hardwired to her computer, she quests for the perfect coffee while playing Pokémon Go (Yes, it is still a thing).

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