Last year I wrote about how I thought e-Cards are Lazy. I haven’t really changed my opinion on that. In fact, I was so thrilled to read Jayne Navarre’s post Holiday eCards, law firms, lawyers and one person’s opinion, that I have to respond publicly and say, “Make that two, Jayne.”

Sending a digital eCard to a huge database list of “everyone,” without taking a moment to…

  • reflect that behind each name is a real person,
  • jot a simple note, and
  • add a hand written signature…

…is equivalent to diet mashed potatoes. If you’re going to serve mashed potatoes without the butter, milk, salt, and gravy, why bother. I think eCards, too, miss several critical ingredients. Even the ones that come from an individual’s email address (rather than from info@) seem cold and aloof, no matter how clever the design. It’s impersonal. Besides, who wants diet food over the holidays? We get sooo many emails every day, and there’s a chance your eCard will end up in the spam filter.

Go read Jayne’s post for more. It’s worth the read. So here are my thoughts: I’ve received a couple of e-cards so far this year. I’ve clicked through and have been unimpressed. I couldn’t even tell you who sent them. Plus, since I’m on an iPhone, I don’t have Flash and have to wait to view them when I get back to the office. I will say, however, that I’m anticipating receiving Pillsbury‘s e-card for a couple reasons: 1. It’s always great. You can tell that the firm put time, effort, and, yes, money into it; and 2. I always get a personal message attached. (Full disclosure: I’m a Pillsbury alum, but their e-cards are still great). I’ve read some of the comments on Jayne’s post and I keep hearing the main defense of e-cards is the cost. They’re cheaper, especially in “these harsh economic times,” and the clients “appreciate” their lawyers being so thrifty. Really?? How much does a holiday card cost to send out? A couple bucks? A stamp is $0.42. So, we’re looking at spending a whopping $2.50 or so to send your client, whom you bill anywhere from $250-$1200 per hour, a holiday card. If you can’t invest $2.50, and the 30 seconds it takes to write a personal note, “Bill, wishing you and your family a happy and prosperous 2012,” then what is the value of that message you’re sending to your clients? And, while I’m on my tangent, break open your PERSONAL wallet and send some baskets to your top clients and referral sources. INVEST in your client relationships. Remember, clients hire the attorney, not the law firm. So, if your law firm won’t spend the money on the baskets, then you should. I don’t want to hear the “economic times” BS. Your clients’ staffs are hungry and would really enjoy a Mrs. Beasley’s muffin right about now. Better yet, pick up the phone and take your client to lunch. Don’t talk about yourself. Let them talk about what’s going on in their industry. What they are looking forward to in 2012? How the economy has impacted their business operations? Or their kids. To me, when you’re not willing to personally invest in your client what you’re really saying is: “Thanks for the $1 million in fees this year, but I KNOW how concerned you are about the economy, so I’ll just pocket the $150 we’d normally spend on a fruit basket. I wouldn’t want you to get the impression that we’re mis-spending your money.” And don’t forget, it’s all tax deductible.

Gift baskets are amazing. They are the ultimate present to the person who receives them, Michael Scott, The Office.