December is a bit like the Valentine’s Day of freelancing – a chance to show appreciation to your significant clients for everything they’ve done for you since you first met. This may involve sending freelance holiday cards, gifts and anything that crosses your brain, really.
And though, just like any Valentine’s Day (or anniversary), you are expected to be kind and thoughtful the year round, it is always nice to receive and send a warm gift, especially when the days are getting shorter and thermostats fall below the double digits. There is a little special something, a warm and fuzzy feeling in your stomach when you receive an unexpected gift. As a freelancer, it makes you memorable too – perhaps way more than anyone else in their little black book.
Not all freelancers do send gifts to their clients, but there are certainly good reasons to do so. You can find hundreds of gift ideas online of course, but as creative professionals, isn’t going the extra mile something we are actually good at? Here are 5 quick and wonderful tips to impress your clients with some amazing gifts this Christmas.
Don’t use an online generator
I mean, you could use an online generator. There are a lot of those online, though they usually work best when you pair them with the best part of your skillset. As a writer, I’m a big fan of Lovebook, for instance. But if you are a designer, why would you go on a holiday card generator to create a very basic, mechanical template with no soul in it?
Fire up your preferred piece of software and create something for your client. Put some effort into it, use up half a day on a weekend, if necessary. Create something they will remember, and you will reap the fruits as soon as there’s new business available.
Image credit: Humberto Fernandez
How much you spend is not important
Your clients may be businesspeople, but they are still people. The fact they have huge budgets to spend on you doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate the small things. Be free to spend a hefty sum on any gift of course, but don’t feel obliged to do so. Sometimes simple is best.
As a general rule of thumb, keep in mind that the amount of money a client has spent on you should not influence the gift they receive at Christmas. Well, not in monetary terms, at least. If you feel like you would like to do something more bespoke and unique for them, they will still appreciate enormously. It may sound cliché, but it’s the thought that counts!
Be thoughtful and personal
Less is more, simple is best, but so is being thoughtful and personal. A holiday gift, be it a simple card or something more unique, is supposed to be warm and prompt at least a smile. Unfortunately there isn’t much I can say here – nobody will know your clients better than you. But that’s precisely why you should feel free to go the extra mile.
After all, think about it: if your paths crossed somehow, there is a chance you will have some interests in common. Perhaps your client loves video games as much as you do; ask for their Steam profile or try to have them admit what game they’re looking forward to buying, then surprise them with a Steam gift straight to their inbox. This is the kind of ‘personal’ I was referring to. If you’ve been working together for a long time, it is likely that you will have discussed personal tastes and interests at some point. An Amazon gift card is all good and perfect of course – but how unique is it to receive a bottle of your favourite wine?
Image credit: Edson Rosas
Choose the receivers carefully
This little tip is the kind of thing which may sound obvious to some freelancers, and a bit less obvious to others. In truth, you should not limit yourself to sending gifts to your current clients alone. The holidays are a perfect time to try and pick up some colder leads too, or to thank that client who’s always sending you referrals.
Say there’s a client who’s been sending a lot of new business your way. What better way to show them how grateful you are than to send them their very own gift? The same applies to an old client you would really like to work with again, for instance. If you’re lucky, that little gift is going to turn into some more new business for you. You just have to take the leap.
However, you should also be mindful of the person you’re sending the gift to. If you send a Christmas card to all your clients, some may be offended by your preference towards a certain festivity. A simple ‘happy holidays’ should do in that case. Again, it’s about being personal and warm!
If you are stuck, look for inspiration online
It’s not easy to find holiday gifts for your clients, especially if you’re looking to steer away from a simple greetings card. You may have chosen to put a lot more effort into it, which is certainly commendable – but it doesn’t mean you have to be alone while doing this!
There will be hundreds of thousands of other freelancers worldwide in the same situation as you. Online is a great place to look for holiday gifts inspiration. You could connect with other freelancers here on Creativepool, for instance, or use our Project Search function to look for some creative inspiration in the community.
If you’re really short on ideas or you’re not too acquainted with any of your clients just yet, there are of course some simpler and less personal ideas you can opt for. Think coupons, business books, an Amazon gift card, or even a case of wine to split around the office. This may not feel too personalised just yet – but it will set you on the right path nonetheless, most likely by strengthening your business relationship with your current clients as you approach the New Year.
Have you got some interesting, unique and creative holiday gift ideas to share? Let the community know in the comments section!