By now, you've probably reached the point many lawyers reach this time of year: Either you've opted to send out holiday cards from your firm and are dreading it, or you've decided not to and are wondering if you should reconsider.
Some see sending out cards as an empty, antiquated waste of time and resources. But even if that’s how you feel, it might not be how their clients feel. In a post on his blog, legal marketing expert Tom Kane points out that while most clients probably don’t pay much attention to your holiday greetings, there probably is always one or two who would feel slighted if you didn't take the trouble.
If you’re going to bother with sending out holiday cards, Kane advises, do it right. If there’s a personal note you can add, do it. Don’t bother with e-cards; most still find them tacky.
And, make sure every card you send is hand-signed by all your firm’s lawyers. You could even have support staff sign if there’s room on the card, and make the job into a fun (well, as fun as it can be) mid-day assembly line with catered lunch as the reward.
“Without (signatures), the cards are a total waste of time,” comments Kane. “I've heard clients comment that such impersonal cards are meaningless and lack feeling.”
Another benefit of making card signing a coordinated group project: It saves clients from receiving duplicates from your firm. John Remsen of legal marketing firm The Remsen Group says that one year it received six separate cards from six different lawyers in one of its client firms. Making it look like you and your partners don’t communicate is worse than sending no cards at all.
(And speaking of embarrassing, Remsen points out: Make sure every client on your card list is still alive!)
Some lawyers wonder if sending out holiday cards generates business. Lawyerist’s Allison Shields maintains that shouldn’t be your priority. “Sending holiday cards is a nice way to stay in touch with clients,” she says, and it may remind them that you’re at their service. “But the idea that sending holiday cards will generate referrals on their own is highly unlikely.”
Finally, be careful about the imagery on the cards you send. Steer clear of anything religious or tasteless. A winter scene or a portrait of your lawyers and/or staff is the safest bet.