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With summer in full swing, it may be difficult to imagine Christmas and Hanukkah looming around the corner. But if the topic is holiday cards, it’s not too soon to knock a few big decisions off your to-do list.
Each year, law firms send millions of greeting cards throughout the U.S. and around the world, and Christmas and Hanukkah are their favorite times to reach out to clients and contacts. While it may seem early, you will need plenty of time for the process if your holiday card is going to be printed on paper.
This brings us to the first reason e-cards are more desirable than printed cards.
Pro: E-cards arrive quickly. With e-cards, it’s only the design process that takes time. A pre-made e-card can take a day or two for designers to incorporate your message and company logo, while a customized e-card can take one to three weeks to complete. Working from existing mail lists, e-mail sending systems can deliver your message instantly; there are also no printing or post office delays to consider.
Con: It is an intangible object. Your e-card could get lost in a sea of e-ail or be blocked by a spam filter. A printed card is far more likely to be seen — particularly if you address it to a specific person, not just a firm name.
Pro: Arriving by email, it encourages interaction. While they may not physically exist, e-cards can take advantage of having a direct connection to the Internet. Linking to your website at the end of an e-card is a direct and inexpensive way to encourage clients to visit your site. A particularly savvy sender can also create a distinct URL — a landing page — to track clicks and determine the card’s effectiveness in driving traffic.
Another option is to solicit feedback and, hopefully, start a conversation. Adding a reply button to your card will encourage people to respond and give you, the sender, a chance to deepen the connection you share.
Con: E-cards are the impersonal option. Because you send tons of emails everyday, people often associate emails with “quick”and “easy” as opposed to “thoughtful” and “meaningful” communications. Printed cards provide an easy solution to this digital problem. They can be held, read, cherished and kept for a longer period of time.
Pro: You can expand the narrative. E-cards can include animation and video, which allow the sender to include far more information than a printed card. Rather than a holiday card with a generic year-end message, you are able to include photos and a small summary of your firm’s accomplishments during the year.
Pro: It’s environmentally friendly. Even with a greater use of recycled paper and soy-based inks, printed cards still produce more waste. While e-cards do have a carbon footprint, it is far smaller than print.
Pro: Cost. In terms of cost and time efficiency, e-cards win by a landslide. Printed cards can range all the way up to $10 or more per card, depending on the design and its complexity. And then you have to pay postage. E-cards typically range from $0.10 to $4 per recipient, once design and sending costs are figured in.
When it comes to sending greeting cards, showing your clients and contacts your appreciation is the most important part. Printed or digital, factoring a “Thank You” or a “Happy Holidays” into your budget is a decision you won’t regret.
Tim Derian began his career over 30 years ago as a professional calligrapher. Since then, he has gone on to found Vivid Graphics and Vivid Greetings, sister companies that produce greeting cards and other communications for law firms and other businesses. He tweets @_VividGraphics_.
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