Yes, it’s already mid-October. No, you’re not the only one asking, “How did that happen?” The holidays are right around the corner, and they seem to come earlier each year. One question I often get at this time of year is, “Are holiday marketing efforts worth it?” The answer is, yes and no.
The holidays give you an excellent opportunity to strengthen client relationships and stay top-of-mind. But marketing materials that are too salesy often fall flat or, worse, are a complete turnoff. Holiday cards are not brochures. Their purpose is not to cross-sell practice areas or push accolades. Luckily, there are a few simple tactics to avoid this trap and make holiday marketing work for you.
1. Hit the right note. How exactly do you foster client relationships in a holiday card? There are a few tactics that work time and again. The first is to be thankful. Let clients and friends of the firm know how much you appreciate their support throughout the year. Another way is to make them laugh. Giving your clients a chuckle creates a bright spot in their day and is differentiating — many firms are too conservative to take this approach. But remember, humor should always be appropriate and not alienating.
2. Keep it personal. Which is more meaningful to you: a generic email blast that has clearly been sent to thousands of other recipients, or a personal note from someone you worked with? Clearly, the second option stands out and is less likely to be blindly deleted. Everyone in the firm should add personal notes whenever possible to holiday e-cards, and the same goes for printed cards.
3. Think ahead. Get started now! Quality holiday e-cards and print cards take time and planning. Waiting until Dec. 1 to start the effort is a sure way to end up with generic materials and a stressed-out team. Some firms start planning for client holiday materials in late summer. This allows ample time for creative brainstorming, design, approvals, and production or printing. If you don’t think you can pull everything together by early December, consider a New Year’s card instead.
4. Stand out with snail mail. Competing for attention in someone’s inbox is getting harder. While that doesn’t mean you should avoid email, adding a corresponding print card is a great way to stand apart. People still enjoy receiving printed cards and often display them on desks, adding to the card’s impact. If you are going to do printed cards, though, be sure to do them right. Use quality paper and interesting designs, and take advantage of printing techniques like laser die-cutting or foil. If budget is a concern, consider digital printing to create cards that look interesting but don’t break the bank.
5. Make sure your digital card gets seen. Consider this: You spend big bucks on an animated holiday card. It has all the makings of success — it’s trendy, different, well-designed and hilarious. You email it out and wait for the clicks to come rolling in. But to your dismay, hardly anyone opens the video. This is why you need to pay as much attention to the email’s look and greeting as to the card itself. Make sure the email is designed to the same caliber as your video and has a clear call to action. Add a personal note to entice clicks. Finally, remember basic email best practices: create a catchy subject line, don’t overload the message with images that could trigger spam filters, and make sure it is optimized for mobile.
As with any marketing effort, holiday greetings are as much art as science, and there is always room for improvement. Be sure to track analytics like response rates, open rates, click rates and website referral traffic, and listen to anecdotal feedback. This can help you pinpoint which tactics work best for your firm and audience.
When done right, holiday marketing can make clients smile and associate the warm, wonderful feelings of the season with your brand. Now, kick back, sip that pumpkin spice latte and start brainstorming!
Danielle Yocum is a brand manager for Right Hat. She helps bring simplicity to complex legal services by telling brand stories through market intelligence and strategic messaging and communication tactics. Danielle has spoken for the Legal Marketing Association, written for Legaltech News, and is an MBA candidate at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleEYocum.
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