Well, had it happen again this year. Had another client inquire about custom holiday cards for business. I totally understand where they’re coming from. They want something that makes them stand out from the crowd. I get that. But here’s what that entails…
Cards that can be customized with your name or logo help reduce the cost of a totally custom holiday card.
First, you have to design it. If you don’t have a competent graphic designer on staff, you’ll have to hire one. Usually, companies want more than just their logo splashed on it. Often they want some custom illustrations, too. Illustration work and layout take time and can be VERY expensive. In talking with a design friend of mine, he guesstimates that it could take up to 4 to 6 hours or more to create a custom card, depending on what’s being requested. A good designer can run you up to $150 or more per hour, that’s a whopping $600 to $900 right out of the gate. Even if you hired a designer that’s on the lower end, say around $50 per hour, that still could run you up to $300 or more and it hasn’t even been printed yet.
Your designer may also charge to assist with the print buy, but that’s probably negligible when you consider how much it will cost to print a short run holiday card. You could see estimates of $3 or more per card for a run of 500 to 1,000. That’s what we call “make them go away” rates. And you may not even need 500. Regular print houses will not even entertain some of these jobs. It’s just too expensive for them to set up presses and people.
With a designer for 500 cards…
- 4 to 6 hours at $150 per hour = $600 to $900
- 500 cards at $3 per card to print = $1,500
- Total = $2,100 to $2,400
Now you’re thinking “I could do this myself.” Sure, you could use some royalty-free stock art (my favorite is iStock Photo) and blend in your logo. That lessens the time it takes, but it still takes time to select the artwork (I tend to get lost looking at all the spectacular artwork out there) and do the layout. Remember, this is not time that is billable. Doing a custom layout is an EXPENSE of yours or your staff’s time (plus benefits). Plus the time to monkey around with temperamental ink jet printers just isn’t worth the hassle. Add more hours of unbillable time for printer aggravation.
So how can you get a professional looking custom holiday cards without the custom price tag or hassle?
Go “Customized” Instead of “Custom” – With today’s enhanced commercial printing capabilities, customizable cards are a way to get a custom look without the custom price tag. Your company name or logo is worked into the standard design so it looks like it belongs there. This could reduce your custom business holiday card spend by 50% or more.
See a collection of holiday card designs that can be customized with your name or logo
Avoid the “We Printed Them on Our Ink Jet” Trap – Admit it. A card printed on an ink jet printer looks like a card printed on an ink jet printer. You’re not fooling anyone. If you absolutely have your heart set on designing your own card, then, for heaven’s sake, get it printed by a print house! Not only will you save money on those hugely expensive ink jet cartridges (mine always seem to be in the $50 a whack range), your image won’t suffer either.
See custom design printing options (even for quantities less than 50!)
Get Personal & Get It Done for You – I love this idea from my girl, Cindy Schroeder, of Bright Bookkeeping (BTW, a flat out awesome QuickBooks Pro Advisor). How would you like to pick out a real, live physical card from your computer. No, this is not the ink jet kind we just talked about. These are high-quality gloss finish, personalized with signatures or photos, that are produced and mailed for you… one at a time! You could create a one-off, totally custom card for anyone or everyone on your holiday card list. Really. And it’s extremely inexpensive. I’ve been using Send Out Cards/Bright Cards for a few years now. Cindy will even let you try it for free.
Click here to send a FREE holiday card from Send Out Cards/Bright Cards
Realize E-Cards are E-Waste – With budgets being tight, the temptation is to go e-card. Okay, they’re an option. But for your best customers, they are not. Most of those messages will be trashed immediately after viewing. A mongo e-card attachment or an unadorned email with a link to an e-card are just in poor taste for business. Segment your list and send a beautiful physical card to only your best customers and prospects. You’ll save money and save face.
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