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Nuts and Bolts: When To Make Holiday Cards

April 8, 2014

When To Make Holiday Cards

Time for a little reminder.

It’s a new year, and we’ve already had a couple of holidays come and go.  One thing I notice in the New Cards section – which, like most artists, I check out now and then – is that when a holiday approaches, there’s a sudden flurry of cards uploaded for that holiday. I’ve also seen in the Forum when artists make a post about how long it’s taking to get a card reviewed, and how much they want it approved to be in time for a holiday that’s just around the corner.

Also, like many artists, I’ve experienced longer delays in approvals during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season due to the sheer number of new cards being uploaded for those important card-giving holidays.

It’s been stated time and time again that if you want your holiday cards in time to sell, you need to get them done 3-6 months in advance. Why? Because that’s how long it can take for search engines to index your new content. Last minute cards rarely sell since they haven’t been around long enough.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I, too, make holiday cards at the last minute. I mean, are you really in the mood to make Christmas cards in July? But there’s something I’ve learned over the course of my time as an artist at Greeting Card Universe, and it’s this … even six months is probably  not enough lead-in time for most cards.

If we make Christmas cards this year, even if we make them in February, we’re not expecting sales this year. Oh, we may sell one or two to browsing customers, but it’s the second year when we tend to make more sales. The third year is even better. After that, a card’s performance is usually pretty consistent. We’re designing cards for the long haul, looking 2-3 years into the future, not just 3-6 months.

How can you help overcome this gap between designing a card and selling that design? Specific marketing can gain more attention in a more timely fashion. But if you’re content to sit back and do nothing once the initial upload has been made, it can be a couple of years before you begin to see sales of a new card design.

The name of the greeting card game really is PATIENCE.

So observe the 3-6 month lead-in time for new greeting cards if you want. Make your Christmas designs in July if you can (if only to avoid the December rush). But don’t worry if you can’t get cards approved “in time.” You’re well in time for next year’s sales.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 8, 2014 3:31 pm

    Yup -I’ve resigned myself to designing for the holidays aprox a year in advance as my best ideas come during the run-up to the holiday. Or just designing whenever inspiration hits. IF they happen to get approved right before a holiday – I tweet them etc like hell and sometimes I get lucky and sell a few. The only holiday I try and do in advance is Chinese New year as it’s a different animal every 12 years… and 12 years is a long time to wait.

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