If you forgot to send holiday cards to your clients this year, it is not too late to make it appear that you still care. Sending New Years greetings has many benefits, most importantly the “warm fuzzy” factor. Sending a few brief thoughts to your clients will help them to think of you as a decent human being and will also help them to remember you when they need legal assistance. If you are able to make it seem as though it wasn’t that you forgot, but you meant to send a card for the New Year, it can be better than typical holiday cards in a number of ways.
It stands out from all the typical cards
Most holiday greeting cards have become just that: most holiday cards. The generic card has taken hold—especially for the business holiday card—so much that it becomes a complete waste of time and money. Sending a card in January celebrating the New Year is outside the norm and is less likely to be forgotten. Another way to get noticed is to use professional humor, as displayed in the example from this Wall Street Journal article.
The New Year is about looking forward, not looking back
Sending a holiday card for the New Year gives you a chance to talk about goals, opportunities, and potentials for your clients. This can directly relate to a soft marketing message letting them know you are available for assistance and thinking about them. This is a better forum for this type of message than the end of year card which is normally more reflective. While conveying your anticipation of the coming year, do not leave out your appreciation for the previous year. Be thankful and appreciative for their business and referrals.
Handwritten mailed cards are unexpected and more memorable
Do not send electronic greetings to clients, especially those who have sent you referrals. Email greetings should be left for newsletters, announcements, and other more generic messages. If necessary buy smaller cards where you can write less, or if you can’t can’t physically write to every client, use the 80-20 rule and start with your most valuable clients. Like many people I know, I save and covet the cards I receive that include a handwritten note and I toss out the rest.
It supports your branding & marketing plans
Whether or to send cards has been a topic of recent debate. Over at Law.com, Bruce Carton recently asked about holiday cards: “what is the purpose for sending out holiday cards?” which is an important question with which to begin. I would argue two points: that marketing is not always about obvious direct advertisements; and the most effective source for new business is your current client base.
At the very least, a genuine note can give your clients the “warm fuzzy” feeling mentioned above. Or, as explained in the Gallup Bucket Drop system, you measure happiness with how many drops (compliments or acknowledgments) you have in your bucket. You bucket drops give your clients or employees a “positive outlook and renewed energy. Every drop in that bucket makes us stronger and more optimistic.” Their system requires that your compliments are specific, individual & deserved. Thinking about these three points when writing your holiday cards will make it easier and more heartfelt.
One final note: if your holiday card is meant to support your branding, be sure that it does. In other words, your firm’s mission statement is probably not to “be cheap and do things the easy way”, so spend a little extra money to find holiday cards that are unique and reflect quality. These seemingly minor aesthetics send important cues to your clients about your standards.