Christmas is the time of year when we start to think about how best to say 'thank you' to our valued clients. How you say thank you will say a lot about your business. What message will your 'thank you' actually send?

In the "old days", pre-digital, a lot of the time the 'thank you' came in the form of a card. And there were two types of cards. The first was a generic card, with a pile of random signatures, with no personal greeting or message - to me this was pretty much a waste of time. The second kind of card came with a personal handwritten message, normally one of appreciation for the business during the year - signed by the person you dealt with. This kind of card certainly had meaning.

Today, we are going down the path of the digital thank you, and like all digital marketing, it's really easy to be lazy and just do a blanket email to say thanks. The problem is, we get hundreds of them and they are not personal, not engaging and they lack meaning.

Now I know it's unreasonable to expect anyone to sit down and right hundreds of personal cards, or send hundreds of personal emails (mind you we used to do both), but it's not unreasonable to do that for our top clients. Sending a blanket email to someone who spends a lot of money with you really doesn't send a great message.

We are all starting to push back from the lack of personalization in the world, meaning people value you taking the time to tell someone how much you appreciate their business. It's worth the time and the effort.

In an era when people are getting lazy when it comes to communication, your business has an opportunity to stand out from the crowd by communicating in a more meaningful way. Send them a card, give them a call, give them a gift, make a donation to a charity on their behalf - whatever, just make it personal and meaningful.

My advice is simple, send as many of your clients as you can a personal message to say how much you appreciate them. Make reference to some specific events during the year to show that this is a personal message and do with authenticity. After all, if you don't really value your clients, you probably won't be in business for very long.