Law Firm Holiday Card Fail

September 23, 2016 4:27 pm Published by

Memories of summer still hang in the air, yet law firm marketing departments are busy at work designing this year’s firm holiday card. The daunting, months-long process is the bane of most legal marketer’s existence and the topic of too many to count conversations, meetings, and board votes.

Yet, here we are.

Holiday card time again.

Should it be a snowy mountain landscape, or lit up cityscape?

Should the song have jingle bells or a cooler jazz vibe?

Should the bird sitting in the evergreen be red or white?

And the growing number of holiday card contests isn’t helping the situation. It seems the more money spent, the likelier your firm is to “win.” I’m not saying some aren’t entertaining, like this one from Manatt, or this one from Stinson Leonard Street, but I always find myself asking

What’s the point?

Are the incredible number of hours and dollars that go into law firm holiday cards worth the return on investment? Will the witty message really make a positive impression on that GC you’ve been pursuing for months? Do the thoughtfully selected graphics further the branding message of your firm? Will the arrival of this year’s card help to push the needle on the firm’s growth goals? Probably not.

This year I propose something that goes against the grain of a lot of law firms out there. Do good with your holiday card this year. Have it benefit someone other than the firm’s ego.

Instead of sending an expensive and ultimately forgetful holiday card, here are a few ideas:

  • Click to give. Send a simple holiday greeting that includes a link that recipients can click. For every link click made, the firm donates a dollar to an identified charity. Its little effort for the recipients who feel good doing it, and little cost to the firm. And it not only aligns the firm with a good cause, but also serves as a traffic driver to the firm’s website (where the embedded link should lead). It also offers a second opportunity to communicate later by letting recipients know how much money was raised and offering a thank you message.
  • Spend the money giving back, it’s what the season is about after all. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on this year’s holiday card, give that money to a charity, and let your card recipients know with a simple message. Instead of the impressive video greeting, send a photo of your attorneys standing around hundreds of wrapped presents purchased for a local angel gift organization or stacks of food for a local shelter.
  • Equate the money typically spent to hours and commit to spending that amount on additional pro bono work for the coming year. Let your holiday card recipients know that you’re making the spirit of the season last all year by translating the money that would be spent on a card into additional pro bono work. It’s easy to continue to promote the giving back campaign throughout the year with a hashtag, perhaps a regular callout box in your firm’s newsletter, or maybe a dedicated page on the pro bono section of your website.

As you can see from these simple examples, this doesn’t mean that you’re not marketing.

In fact, it could have a much greater impact on your bottom line than you may think. There’s no shame in promoting your efforts and it gives you an opportunity throughout the year to communicate with your holiday card recipients in a whole new way.

The point is, doing business and doing good are not mutually exclusive.

This holiday season let’s see how much good law firms can really do.


Jessica Sharp is Principal of Maven Communications. You can follow her on Twitter @jessicagsharp.

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