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Holiday Marketing Tactics That Work

By Tracy Schorn

December 8, 2017

Mary Ellen Hickman - Holiday Marketing Tips. Photo by Tracy SchornDuring the holiday season when just the thought of One More Thing may make you faint, you’re probably not in the mood for large undertakings. But according to Mary Ellen Hickman, business and marketing strategist at Hickman Consulting Partners, a little investment now can generate new clients and additional business in the new year.

“If you choose to set aside a few hours this December to invest in your business, you'll see a marked difference by the end of the year,” says Hickman, who spoke November 30 at the D.C. Bar Practice Management Advisory Service’s Small Firm Lunch and Learn series on holiday marketing strategies.

Hickman advises, “focus on the fundamentals” and avoid difficult tactics like SEO or Google AdWords and other unwieldy projects with iffy results. Better to focus on the quality of your work, choosing the right services for your business and concentrating on your best clients. “Do less and ruthlessly prioritize,” says Hickman.

What works, and what can be tailored to the holiday season? 

• Email marketing
• Strategic networking
• Select speaking engagements
• Planned social media
• Handwritten cards 

Hickman says the tried and true holiday greeting card is a “tactic that pays out every single time.” If you don’t have time to send a hundred cards, send 20 to your dearest clients. Focus on where you really want to strengthen the relationship, says Hickman, and write a brief personal note on each card.

The best branding practice is using custom-designed cards, which you can design yourself. (Hickman uses Moo.com.) But failing that, professional-looking, store-bought cards work, too. Just “get them in the mail” soonest, says Hickman.

Don’t want to go old school with printed cards? A brief, branded holiday email sent the week before the holidays works, too. Hickman advises against sending a marketing message. Instead, just send good wishes for the holiday break. As marketing tactics go, it’s inexpensive and has a wide reach.

Also, there is always giving a holiday gift. “Don't overthink it,” Hickman says. Food or booze is always welcome, says Hickman. If you can manage to deliver your gifts in person, the gesture will go a long way. Again, keep it small and focused. If you can’t manage 20 gifts, do five.

Finally, after the holidays are over, evaluate your efforts. Calculate the total resources invested, your out-of-pocket costs, and time spent. Measure your return on investment and the number of new, signed clients. A little holiday effort can add up in the year to come.

For more marketing tips from Hickman, follow her LinkedIn feed.

Sign up for the next Lunch and Learn program, “Level Up, Become a Microsoft Word Power User,” on December 14, featuring Lex Tech Review founder Chelsey Lambert. The program will offer you tips, tricks, and template options to help you save time by creating documents, letters, or other work products in a flash.