Want to be startled? Don't send a holiday card to one of your clients, but ask him, a week after New Year's, “Did you get my holiday card?"
"Why, sure, " your client will say. “Thanks for that. " What else can he say? He got dozens of holiday cards from vendors. He figures he got yours, too, but it didn't stand out in his mind, because. . . . vendor holiday cards never do.
This year, save your money. Don't send holiday cards to your clients at all.
Do this instead: pick a DIFFERENT time of year to send cards to your clients. Pick a holiday that makes sense for your business (buy a copy of Chase's Holiday Guide at any bookstore to search for a relevant holiday) or make one up. Send a card that says, “Today is national [here's where you get creative] day, and I was thinking about you. "
Or, send your clients a card on their birthdays. That'll stand out. You can use Plaxo to find our your clients’ birthdays. Or send them a card on the anniversary of the day you met them. Or send them a card on the anniversary of their founding date! That will be appreciated.
Do something different. Don't let your standard holiday card end up in a pile of recycling. Take the opportunity to put your own stamp on the holiday-greeting thing - and make an impact.
Liz Ryan is a former Fortune 500 corporate executive, an entrepreneur and the founder of WorldWIT, the world's largest online network for professional women (http://www.worldwit.org). She lives in Boulder, Colorado.