It’s that time of year again. Thousands of UK businesses are scrabbling to get their client Christmas lists together, separating them into higher and lower value tiers (or perhaps that should be naughty and nice?).
After budgeting, researching and dealing with tax, Christmas cards inevitably become a last-minute exercise. What results is often a humdrum, forgettable company card whose biggest impact will be on the wastepaper basket.
Branding and value
So how do we get out of this cycle of bland client gestures? There are two key points to remember. Number one – always be on brand. A photo of the PT team chowing down on Christmas puddings is hardly the image you’d expect from a gym.
Number two – always add value. You want your Christmas card to have a lasting effect on your clients, to make them pick up the phone and start a conversation with you. For something a little different this year, try one of these client Christmas card ideas.
Give them a little extra
Go beyond wishing them a Merry little Christmas – why not add something extra to your card? You can experiment depending on your business; for example, a caterer may include a festive recipe.
Even something as simple as a mini desk calendar will serve as a constant reminder of your brand throughout the year.
A highlight reel
Every client loves to feel special – particularly when they hear about how they contributed to your business. An infographic with your year’s key stats or a photo timeline of your highlights will show them how far you’ve come. More importantly, you can make it about them.
Consider a CSR element, too. Tell them that their continued business helped you to plant X number of trees, fund X number of new hospital beds or whatever you’re passionate about. A heartfelt message will have a significantly bigger impact, especially at Christmas.
Make ethics your key focus
Continuing with the CSR angle, you’ll really warm those cockles with a charity message. If you’ve supported an animal charity this year, add paw prints to the design, or even real photos! Perhaps you’re working with a children’s charity. A Christmas message written in authentic children’s handwriting adds that sentimental touch.
On both counts, you can ask your teams’ families to join in – scan a child’s handwriting or even dress up the dog. They say never to work with children or animals, but this is the exception.
Combine online and offline
The best marketing strategies combine both online and offline techniques. Your Christmas card is no exception – it can be a client retention or up-selling tool if you think creatively. Add a QR code or a personalised landing page to your print design. Lead your customers through to an animated Christmas message, image, video, infographic or whatever will make them smile.
This landing page is your real estate for conversion. Add calls to action, or take it one step further by personalising each page with the recipient’s name. You could even use this space to link to other resources, such as top tips for the New Year, your year in highlights, or your charitable contributions.
First and foremost, the purpose of a Christmas card should be to thank your clients for the year. However, there’s no reason why it can’t serve as a marketing tool, focusing on giving your clients added value.
This is your chance to show the personality behind your brand, while securing future business. Find the right balance between both, and it could just be your biggest return on investment.