happy holidaysBig stores and advertisers have been beating us up with Christmas advertising for years. “It’s Christmas. Shop here! Buy our wares.”

If the top business people are using the holidays to their business advantage, why shouldn’t you?

It’s time for you to make Christmas cards!! Or, if you prefer, Winter Vacation, or Happy Holidays, or Happy Hanukkah.

And it’s actually pretty easy.

It’s called a Christmas card, and you’re going to build one that is representative of you and/or your show.

The first thing to consider is what kind of picture can you put on the front of the card that represents your show? What picture will tell the story? If you have a cooking show it could be you in the kitchen, or cooking in a field – but make it fun. It should be a picture that makes people smile.

When I send out my Christmas cards the picture usually involves me riding a motorcycle somewhere kind of nutty or extreme. A couple years ago I sought out a snowstorm to ride in to take pictures of me riding my motorcycle in it with a Santa hat on (for those of you don’t know much about motorcycles, they don’t mix with snow very well). The bottom line is you want a picture that will make people take notice.

Secondly, once you have your picture sorted you need to decide what to have printed inside. On one card I sent of me in a snowstorm the inside read “Wishing you warm thoughts this holiday season.” It should be something witty and relevant to the picture (alright I know it’s not super witty but it is relevant).

Thirdly, sort through the business cards you’ve collected at festivals, seminars, and random networking events. Then go through your email list of people you’ve emailed with that are in the business, (send cards to people you’ve met who are trying to sell their shows as well – you never know what these relationships can develop into later). You’re going to send all these people card. It doesn’t matter if they know who you are yet. That’s the point of this: making sure they do know you when you’re ready to pitch.

If you come across cards or emails and you don’t have their mailing address search it out online, or if need be, you can email and ask for it. People are generally receptive to mailing address requests as receiving mail has become a bit of a novelty.

When you write your handwritten note inside the card keep it brief, and if appropriate, make it a bit funny. This is not the time to pitch, ask for a meeting, or delve into anything much beyond “It’s been a pleasure working with you (or whatever is appropriate) this year. I look forward to working with you more in the upcoming year. All the best. Keith” Nobody wants a Christmas card that reads like a novel.

Now you have all the components of your Christmas card except one: your contact info. Yes, this card is for self-promotion, but you still need to make it tasteful.

If you have a title for your show and you have taken all the steps to protect yourself legally have the name of the show on the back. If you have a website (if you have a Teaser as well that needs to be on a website) have the web address on the back of the card below that. If you are not at the point yet where you need a website, simply putting your email address across is great. Remember, it’s not self-promotion if they don’t know how to get a hold of you.

So that’s your Christmas card. Your costs with printing, envelopes, and stamps, should be able to get this done for around $150 max. Add the price of a nice bottle of scotch if you have your Art Director friend make it for you and you’re still looking at a cost-effective way to build the relationships you’ll need to sell your show.

After all, isn’t advertising what Christmas is all about?

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