For the last two years I’ve sent Christmas packages to many of the clients I’ve worked with during that year. Now I’m debating whether or not to send anything this year.
Two years ago I sent out a fairly elaborate package (pictured). I bought giant-sized Hershey’s Symphony chocolate bars, removed the labels and replaced them with labels illustrated by me. I then put each candy bar in a cardboard box filled with green-and-red shredded paper, along with a couple of candy canes, a Christmas card also illustrated by me, and everything sealed up with a sticker also illustrated by me.
Last year I bought fancy tins filled with Life Savers (didn’t replace the label), reused the last year’s Christmas card, and left out the sticker.
This year I’m illustrating a new card and that’s probably all I’ll send. (Provided I can get them printed in time.)
Whether or not to send gifts to clients is an important question. Based on my own experience and after reading a few blog posts on the subject, here’s some of the thinking behind why you should or shouldn’t send Christmas gifts to your clients:
WHY YOU SHOULD
1. It lets the client know how grateful you are for their business.
2. It sends a personal message that you appreciate them as a person and not just as a way to get a paycheck.
3. It’s a great way to self-promote. In theory, the receiver of the gift will be more likely to think of you for their next project.
4. It’s also a fun opportunity to show off your creative skills (i.e. designing a Christmas card, or a candy label, or the wrapping paper, etc.)
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T
1. Everyone else is doing it, making it harder for you to stand out. Some clients may even start to resent all the gifts. “Oh great, more Chirstmas junk food. That will help my diet!” Same goes for cheezy gifts, cheap gifts, and unoriginal gifts. (“Oh goody, another mug.”)
2. Some say you shouldn’t need to send out gifts to get business. Your doctor, your accountant, and your plumber don’t send you gifts and yet you still do business with them. And you are just as much a professional as they are.
3. Some clients (especially those with whom you have a close working relationship) may feel obligated to send something back in return. No one likes to be put in the position of thinking “Gee, I didn’t get you anything”.
4. Sending Christmas gifts is expensive and takes a great deal of effort. There may be easier and more effective ways to invest your advertising dollars.
What do you think? Do you send Christmas gifts to clients? Why or why not? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.