How to Sell Holiday Cards

September 2nd, 2021
woman using laptop to select holiday cards

The holidays will soon be upon us, friends, and you know what that means? That’s right… tis’ the season for never-ending family sessions and holiday cards. Whether that thought actually makes you excited or (let’s be real) gives you a little headache, you’ll want to plan ahead and execute said plan well in order to make the most of your holiday card sales. And (a very important) added bonus for your foresight? The better you plan for the holiday card season, the happier your clients will be with their overall photography experience. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to set yourself up for success for holiday card sales in the crazy holiday rush.

mom and dad holding hands with four children
Photo credit: Elizabeth Tate Photography

Plan before the Holidays, and communicate. 

It may seem excessive to some, but if you’re going to be successful in maximizing your holiday card sales, you need to start planning in September, aka, the month that is the calm before the holiday-rush-storm. Not only do you need to start gathering your game plan then (now, if you’re reading this in September), you need to start communicating with your clients then. Why? I can assure you that most of your clients are only as on-the-ball as you are with holiday cards, and the gentle nudge is helpful for Moms everywhere drowning in goldfish crackers and carpool lines, but still wanting that perfect holiday card. 

So, shoot them a thoughtfully prepared email letting them know that you are getting in the holiday spirit a bit earlier this year, and that you’d love to encourage them to do the same. This will prompt them to 1) go ahead and schedule that session with you, and 2) be thinking ahead to Christmas cards. 

photographer at desk using laptop

Utilize email marketing. 

Speaking of email… this is an important piece of the Christmas Card marketing puzzle: go ahead and lay out an email marketing plan for your holiday cards. Put pen to paper, and decide at which points you feel it would be best to nudge your clients along in the process. You don’t want to be an annoyance who blasts them with emails every week, you want your emails to fall into their inboxes strategically during the Fall season, with thoughtful content and information that will prompt some specific action to get them closer and closer to pulling the trigger. Here’s what this may look like…

  • Mid-September: Hi! Christmas card season is upon us… gentle nudge to begin scheduling a session and thinking towards a Christmas card. Highlight your services/product offerings (mini-session dates, anyone?) and how you can be of assistance in this sometimes overwhelming process. 
  • Mid-October: Friendly reminder to schedule a session and browse your website for Christmas cards. Give a brief look ahead to future holiday card sales you may offer. 
  • Early-November: It’s not too late to schedule your session! Provide a cut-off for a last session date. Notify of specific sales to come (ie- when and what discount). 
  • Finally, be sure to send reminder emails 1 week and 1 day prior to actual sale days, and 1 week and 1 days before “last call” dates for sessions and card orders. 

Image credits: Elizabeth Tate Photography

Showcase cards on your website – and in person.

Having a visual example to showcase is crucial to ensuring your clients pull the trigger on a holiday card using your products, and not another vendor’s products. You are a one-stop shop (which is very appealing to a busy mom who just wants it done already), so you need to make that super clear. One thing you can do to make this clear is put examples of your holiday cards on your website for people to see. If you offer new ones each year, this is also a great way to add new blog content to your site and provide content for your email newsletter.

Keep in mind that clients who review your cards on your website in advance may be able to tell you specifically which one they liked, which could actually benefit you tremendously as you shoot their session. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I always pick my family’s Christmas card before the session, because it allows me to tell my photographer whether I have a vertical or a horizontal image in mind, and whether any negative space is needed at the top or bottom. There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect Christmas card, but not having an image to fit it well. Showcasing cards on your website eliminates this problem and encourages clients to take advantage of this stellar service. 

Finally, it’s always helpful to carry some hardcopy examples to the session itself so your clients can get their hands on them. Friendly nudge: if you don’t already have hardcopy examples, order them now, so you have them on hand for your next family session! This is a great way to drive the sale home by selling the quality of the cards alongside the quality of your work. Getting their hands on your cards will also get your clients very excited to pull the trigger quickly upon getting their images back. 

Go the extra mile: Start thinking of next year’s holiday season this year.  Send your own jaw-dropping high end holiday cards to just about everyone you know. This simple gesture is a sure fire way to bring in new clients who in turn will send out cards that bring in even more clients… and so on. 

Selling holiday cards on your website..

Buying holiday cards on your website should be a process that’s clear and easy. If it’s not, you’ll lose people. So, go ahead and create a holiday-card-specific price list in advance, and link it directly to the family session galleries that you send out. At the end of the process, your clients should be thumbing through family session images that they love, and be able to add their holiday cards for any specific image directly to their shopping cart for a completely seamless e-commerce experience.

Pro-tip for ya: Did you know that you can re-activate older galleries (looking at you, Spring mini-session families!), and update them to reflect a Price-list that includes holiday cards for sale? This is a fantastic way to increase your profits at very little additional time-cost for you! 

holiday card template visible on desktop computer

Take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Finally, don’t be afraid to take full advantage of those well known holiday sales! Honestly? People expect and appreciate it. So, utilize email marketing campaigns to effortlessly send timely emails promoting your sales (and reminding them that the clock is ticking). 

Pro-tip: if you do plan to utilize holiday sales, remember to account for the fact that most sales will occur on a sale day and price cards accordingly. 

And that’s all you need to do! If you plan to be successful, it’s important to plan ahead: 

You’ll see your profits soar! 

Elizabeth has been with a camera in her hand since she graduated with her degree in Photojournalism from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2011. She currently lives in North Carolina, where she photographs Families, Births, and Newborns all over the state. Her work has been featured in various publications including The Fount Collective, Style Me Pretty Living, Southern Weddings Magazine, PDN, and Pursuit Magazine. She enjoys shooting Medium Format Film alongside digital, and when she’s not photographing families and little ones, she loves spending time outdoors with her husband and 3-year old twins.