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Why Christmas Cards are a Present for Indie Artists

Think Christmas cards are just for grandma? Think again. Bands and artists sending out Christmas cards is not only good marketing, but great PR, and a good way to make a personal connection with fans. A well-crafted and personalized Christmas card can both reinforce your fan base-connection, and take it to a new level.

We live in the digital age of social media, where making personal connections with fans is easier than ever. Sending out a Christmas cards, however, carries even more weight now than ever. While digital media is still in the forefront of the market, people still love something tangible to hold in their hands. Everyone sends out blast newsletters and tweets, make yourself stand out with something a little more personal.

This is especially for bands and artists who are still building their fan base and contacts, as it makes it easier to engage with these folks on a more personal level. When it comes time to create Christmas cards, the artist can tailor the message directly to their Superfans, labels, recording studios and other groups and businesses with whom the artist interacts with. A well crafted Christmas card will strengthen the bond with those you interact with. Do it wrong, however, and it may not mean much. Before you start ordering up your cards for this Christmas, here are some tips:

1. Who do you send your Christmas card to?

If you have 10K fans, then this could be difficult, but it's more likely that you have 10-100 dedicated and supportive fans. Even your family should be reminded of how much you've appreciated their support over the past year. And then you have the super fan... those few people who have made the extra effort. Has someone travelled hours just to see you perform? Has someone been actively promoting your Facebook and Twitter? Writing a personal message and thanking them will cost just pennies, but will make a lasting impression.

And then you have your music industry contacts. You don't want to use these as spam opportunities, and send them to record labels in hopes that they will take an interest in you. However, producers, sound engineers, and other bands you play with will all appreciate you taking the time to thank them.

2. Choose a design that accurately reflects your image

What type of band are you? A folk singer can use a more stripped-down and homely design. Conversely, a hardcore rap artist or death metal band might not exactly be suited for the tacky Christmas sweater fireplace photo. Your choice of design can reaffirm your messaging, while one that’s a bit off-brand could make it seem forced. Think about the rest of the content you put out there and make sure it aligns with everything else. Having said that, there’s no harm in being a bit more lighthearted at Christmas, and everyone loves the irony of a bunch of long-haired and tattooed tough guys saying "Merry Christmas".

3. Personalize your message

Make a list of everyone you do business with. Labels? Who is their A&R guy you met at the show? Who is the intern that brought you coffee at your firest meeting? Who are the engineers on your demo? Also, pick the top ten "super fans" who support your music and career just as much as you do... they deserve a card as well. If you have the time and resources, use a pen. Think of something you shared with the particular person over the year – time in the studio, van jokes, specific shows... refer to this when you write your card, and you’ll reinforce the bond you’ve created over the year.

4. Look to the future

Finish your message with a reference to what could happen in the future. You could "look forward to touring in their city next year", or "looking forward to recording with you next Spring" or even better, mention a specific upcoming show in a fans city. It’s an easy way of staying front of mind, and shows your fans that you’re here to stay, and they're important to you.

With Christmas approaching, as smaller band or artist, you can revel in the goodwill to your fans that the bigger actss would love to channel, if only they could.