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Financial advisors know all about return on investment, aka ROI. You sent out holiday cards this year. What did you learn this year? Is it worth the time, effort and investment? Should I send them next year?

Do I Do It? Of Course.

In my situation, we sent out 88 cards. We received 59 in return. Since we commission an artist to create a different drawing each year, the cost of 100 cards with printing, artwork and postage amortizes out to about $4 per card mailed. You might ask: “Is it worth the effort?”

Celebrities and Holiday Cards

You might say: “No one sends holiday cards anymore! If they bother at all, they post an image on social media or send something by email. If anyone still bothers, they are likely old people.” Wow, are you wrong!

Celebrities are very big on sending holiday cards. It’s so big, various magazines rank the top 10 or 20 best celebrity holiday cards. Here’s an assortment from Brides, Elle and People. These are only a few examples. There are plenty more!

  • Meghan Markle and Price Harry
  • Kevin Hart
  • Beyonce
  • Kelly Clarkson
  • Barack and Michelle Obama
  • Mark Wahlberg
  • Jade Roper & Tanner Tolbert
  • Sarah Jessica Parker

My personal favorite came to a friend of ours, who worked alongside Margaret Thatcher. The Baroness Thatcher holiday card he and his wife received years ago was very eye-catching.

Do they really send these cards? In 2017, The Chicago Tribune reported it’s over the holidays that Matt Damon hears from his other famous friends like George Clooney, when they send cards.

What About the Business Aspect?

OK, you are convinced some people send holiday cards. But you aren’t a Hollywood celebrity or major public figure. You wonder if reality TV stars do it, too. Three guesses. You are a financial advisor. You are wondering, “Will this help my business?”

“An appropriate greeting card can make a favorable impression,” according to an article from AZ Big Media. “Approximately 50% of holiday card recipients indicate they are more likely to do future business with a company (or an individual) that sends holiday greeting cards.”

Do CEOs and other business leaders send holiday cards? Funny you should ask. According to Business Insider, Sheldon Yellen, CEO of BELFOR Holdings, handwrites holiday cards to 9,200 employees. “He also pens handwritten notes for thank you’s, anniversaries and birthdays,” Business Insider reports.

MarketWatch ran an article called “Why UnderArmour’s CEO sent Nike’s Co-Founder Holiday Cards for Years.” The article quotes Cheryl Lynch Simpson, a career coach, as saying “Holiday cards matter to your career. In general, sending them out is about relationship building.” The article also addresses the benefits of sending holiday cards to clients and potential clients.

Let’s Hear More About the Business Aspect

If you are like me, you make friends with clients. These relationships can last a lifetime, even when roles have changed. When I left production and entered management, I still kept in touch with some former clients. You occasionally hear: “If you start handling personal accounts again, I’m ready to come back.” Former clients keep me updated about their portfolios or let me know when they’ve decided to move assets to another firm.

This opens other possibilities. Keeping in touch with clients with whom you developed a relationship, yet might have left the firm, communicates “I like you as a person, not just because you did business.” It’s a form of contact that might even bring the account back someday. Why? Because it keeps you in mind during at least part of the year.

You learn about births, marriages and deaths. Although not all are causes for rejoicing, there’s a reason to get in touch after you receive their chatty holiday letter with the year’s news.

If you changed firms or went independent, it’s a way of keeping in contact with former clients who became friends, yet didn’t move. It says: “I still like you as a person.” (You’ll need to check with Compliance to confirm it’s OK to still keep in touch informally. Hopefully you have been sending cards for years.)

Can You Achieve the Impossible?

Holiday cards are still big in the U.S., but they are really big in the U.K. People send cards to members of the British royal family and in many cases, they get cards or postcards back!

Their Highnesses are probably more likely to be responding to U.K. “subjects,” but wouldn’t it be great to get a card from one of the royals!