Getting Paid: Easy & Affordable Holiday Season Marketing & Networking That Will Fill Your Practice with Clients You Love
The holiday season is a great time for marketing and networking that’ll fill your practice with the type of clients you love to work with by keeping you and your practice at the forefront of people’s minds. This type of marketing and networking works equally well for pre-licensed as well as licensed professionals.
Yes, it’s true, Holiday Season Marketing works. Even during the pandemic. No mask wearing, vaccination or social distancing required. It doesn’t involve Zoom, video or phone.
You don’t have to drive anywhere, park, register, pay for admission, dress professionally or talk to anyone . . . It doesn’t even have to cost much or take much time.
What type of marketing and networking is this?
Drumroll please . . . Sending a holiday card—or greeting. By email or snail mail. With or without a handwritten note or signature. Yes, a printed message and a printed signature works equally well.
Emailing or Snail Mailing your referral sources or colleagues or mailing list an actual physical card or e-card or a short email message with or without a holiday template will keep you connected to your referral sources, colleagues, and even those new professionals you’ve met on Zoom or other online or in-person event.
When you’re top of mind to colleagues and referral sources, you get referrals.
Hate that idea? Then send a personalized email greeting message on a plain email or holiday email template. Three or four sentences will do. A hello greeting, wishing them well for the holiday or holiday season, thanking them for their client or job referrals—or expressing some kind of gratitude for the year or season, then closing.
Sometimes professionals will send this type of email to a segment of former clients (who they have permission to email) and attach a pdf of or link to a helpful article or one they wrote. You’d be surprised how many of these clients send a referral or make an appointment for a session. It works equally well even when there is no holiday or holiday season.
The type of card, message, greeting doesn’t matter, it’s the contacting and connecting through the card, e-card, email, newsletter, etc., that makes the difference.
You don’t even have to send this to very many people for it to be effective—5 or 10 or 20 cards will do it. No need to send 100 for this type of marketing and networking to be effective.
It can be personalized or not—this just depends on you, your budget, the amount of time you have, the type of practice you have (branding, niche), the type of referral sources and clients you work with.
Think about it . . . It’s very budget friendly at any price point in any budget. While it takes a little time and effort to send these, it usually adds up to less time, effort and money than you were spending before stay-at-home orders—remember when you were driving in traffic to an early morning event that you paid $35-50 or more to attend?
If you don’t want to do this yourself, and your marketing and networking budget allows it, you can hire a virtual assistant to send the e-cards or to snail mail cards signed, addressed and sent online or send actual snail mail cards that are put together—put in the envelope, addressed, stamp affixed, and mailed at the post office. If you don’t want to pick out the card or the printed message you can have the virtual assistant do that, too!
Needless to say, to carry out sending a virtual or physical card you need to have the person’s email or physical address. Don’t forget many have given up physical offices but still have the address on their website or directory listing. If you aren’t sure that they are still at the physical location, then an e-card or email message is probably the best choice.
For those who don’t want to spend any money or write anything or for those are on social media and want to only do a Facebook or Instagram holiday card or graphic, that’ll work, too—especially for those professionals near or far that you don’t have an email or physical address for. However, don’t rule out the power of receiving a snail mail card you hold in your hand and know the person made an effort to send to you—or an animated e-card that makes you laugh or feel calm and peaceful. People remember.
A caveat . . . in picking out your card or writing your email message, be sure to be consciously inclusive of others who may not celebrate the same holiday as you do during the holiday season. While you don’t have to tailor your cards or messages specifically to your receiver’s holiday—although doing so is a nice touch if you are sure what holiday they celebrate (Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Christmas, etc.). Remember to check out the words as well as the graphic so that you don’t inadvertently send a word or visual greeting that includes a Christmas tree or Santa Claus to someone who doesn’t celebrate or believe in those traditions. An alternative to sending a holiday season greeting is to skip that altogether and send a New Year’s card. Either works.
Sending a snail mail card costs $2-$8 per card with envelope depending on the cost of the card itself, whether or not you have your name and or greeting printed on it and add postage on top of that. So, $3 to $10. And you have to buy stamps and take them to the post office to mail. Postage is 58 to 88 cents per envelope (Square envelopes are 88 cents—sigh . . . square cards are my favorite).
There are also snail mail cards (Paper Source, MOMA, Hallmark, etc.) that can be bought ($3-$10) and sent online—with your actual signature and or note and no post office trip to buy stamps or send. These often play a song or have a pop-up graphic.
E-cards cost less. Most e-card services are less that $50 per year for an unlimited number of cards that can be sent throughout the year, not just during a holiday season (Jacquie Lawson, 123 Cards, Doozy, etc.)
An email message without any holiday graphic or template will do just fine and costs zero dollars.
An email message with a holiday graphic or template can cost zero dollars (free plans) to $10 per month or $100-$120 per year (Canva, Adobe Spark, etc.) depending on the graphic app you use.
The cost for most therapists to do this at the low end is going to be under $50; at the medium price point, $100-$150; at the higher end $200-$250.
I just bought my Holiday Season and New Year cards for this year. Total cost of customized printed Paper Source cards to send 60 total for Holiday Season (preprinted message, name and website as signature, with envelopes) and New Year (no printing)—both for me to address and add postage to: $135. (Disclosure . . . I bought early for a 40% discount and free shipping.) Last year I sent 20 beautiful pop-up cards from MOMA and the total cost was $50.
The cost of sending a an online or physical card--if you don't choose the no cost email option—is about the same as attending two or three in person networking events.
It's more than likely that this year, you, like most therapists, spent a lot less on networking and marketing because you didn't attend any or attended just a few in-person networking events or attended online events. That same amount of money—the amount you would have spent on gas, parking costs, and registration fees—can go toward covering the costs of your holiday card and message.
Try this out. It can be fun and creative. Consider sending some type of a card or greeting. If you even get 1 referral and only 1 session you will have covered your cost. Besides the cost for these cards is a tax-deductible business expense. A win-win.
Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor, is in private practice in Santa Monica where she works with Couples and Gifted, Talented, and Creative Adults across the lifespan. Lynne’s been doing business and clinical coaching with mental health professionals for more than 15 years, helping them develop even more successful careers and practices. To learn more about her in-person and online services, workshops or monthly no-cost Online Networking & Practice Development Lunch visit www.Gifted-Adults.com or www.LAPracticeDevelopment.com
Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT
For 10+ years Lynne Azpeitia has helped therapists to live richer and happier lives through her workshops, private practice and career coaching, and her practice consultation groups which train, support, and coach licensed therapists, interns & students how to create and maintain a successful, thriving clinical practice and a profitable career