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4 Reasons Why I Send Gratitude Letters Every Year (Plus a Free Template!)

Do you remember feeling annoyed the last time someone said thank you? Neither do I. In my book, there’s no such thing as saying it too much. If anything, I think we, as small business owners and freelancers, often forget to tell our clients just how much we appreciate them. That’s why I began sending gratitude letters to all my clients around this time of year—every year. While gratitude letters aren’t new (hello, thank you cards), they can go a long way when sent with intention. 

Gratitude letters can help you:

  • Stay top of mind—Sending a gratitude letter is a great way to network, which is just a big word for staying connected with people you’ve met, worked with, or want to work with. Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, said, “I’m a huge fan of the follow-up. It might sound very boring, but I’m just stunned at how few people know how to follow up on a connection. Make sure that you stay in touch with the people you’re interested in, make sure they’re aware of you, that you stay on their radar… It’s remarkable how much these people appreciate hearing from you when you don’t want something from them.” 
  • Build your relationships—People want to work with people they like. And we like people whom we have an emotional connection with. Reaching out to current, past and prospective clients with a gratitude letter helps you deepen these relationships. Clients will be more responsive and more likely to book or refer you again and again with small gestures like this that make them feel valued, appreciated, and cared for long after meeting you or working together. 
  • Personally says thanks—More personal than the day-to-day sharing we do on social media or in email, gratitude letters convey personalized, heartfelt appreciation to those who are most important in our business—our clients and prospects. And it’s the perfect way to bring your business year to a close and start the new year on the right foot. 

Plus, it’s easy!

Get my free Gratitude Letter Template

Pre-written and designed for you, my gratitude letter template makes it easy to know what to say and how to say it. Just take five minutes to customize the Galler.ee x HoneyBook template (get it below) with your clients’ favorite image and a little personalization in the text, then send it off as an email PDF attachment or a physical letter. Just this tiny gesture can go such a long way.

Here’s how to use it:

If you have Photoshop or Photoshop Elements

  • Download the file above
  • Open the .psd file
  • Using the existing language as a starting point, edit the text to personalize the letter for your client (tip: mention a favorite memory from working together)
  • Customize the image 
  • Save it as web-ready pdf 
  • Email it as an attachment or print and mail it 

If you don’t have Photoshop

  • Download the file above
  • Open the text-only file 
  • Copy the text and paste it into an email or word doc
  • Using the existing language as a starting point, edit the text to personalize the letter for your client (tip: mention a particular reason why you enjoyed the project)
  • If you like, add an image to the bottom of your email or bottom of your word doc
  • Email it—or go the extra mile and print and mail it 

Make gratitude letters your new ritual

Keeping in touch with your clients throughout the year is a no-brainer, but sending a gratitude letter around the holidays can take your communications and brand to the next level. Using a template, it’s easy to break free from mass communications in email and social media to send a personalized 1:1 message. And even though it may be temping to send it off over email, don’t forget that people love getting snail-mail during the holiday season. Bonus points for sending yours in festive envelopes!

p.s. Want more templates? Get my guide on how to respond when clients think you are too expensive.

Rebecca Shostak

Rebecca Shostak is an international award-winning designer and the founder of the subscription-based template shop Galler.ee, which has served over 100,000 professional photographers since 2012.

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