How a Christmas card can get you more business

We’re now less than two weeks away from Christmas Day, and the majority of big commissioning companies and freelancers alike are shutting up shop for the festive period so that they can recharge their batteries.

I’d suggest that you do too so that you can come back in 2012 with a vengeance and a hunger to get more work.

However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try and turn the holiday to your advantage. It’s eminently possible to rekindle lost client relationships, and to make some new ones, by sending a helpful Christmas card email, wishing people good cheer (and gently reminding them that you’re available for hire).

Christmas cards are a token of remembrance: it allows people at this time of year to indicate to others that they are thinking of them, and wish they have a happy holiday season.

Professionally, they can be used to remind clients that you’re still about. Essentially, you’re maintaining the all important client-freelancer relationship.

Some people prefer to send physical cards to their clients. I’ll be sending an email.

I’ll not just be sending it to people I’ve done work for, however. It’ll also be going to the people who I pitched to, but didn’t hear back from (or did hear back in the negative). That’s because with a new year comes new opportunities.

It’s important that you tailor such an email to individuals. I’ll be altering the details slightly, depending on whether I’ve worked for them before or not.

Some commissioning editors, for example, I know are new. Mentioning that shows that you take an interest in their work and are a conscientious person.

The same principle works for designers as it does for writers. People you’ve done work for before (or people who have turned you down) are still likely to need graphic design work. They won’t remember you if the last contact you had with them was a hurried email six months ago.

So you’ve got two weeks: open up your copy of Illustrator and get designing a card. You don’t know where it might lead you.