It seems counterintuitive, but client gift-giving is actually good for business, especially small businesses. Even though money is being spent, the returns always exponentially outweigh the initial spend. These small tokens of appreciation go a long way in building relationships and customer loyalty.
With the holiday season rapidly approaching, think about how giving gifts can benefit your business. There are notable factors that play into a successful corporate gift campaign, and we’re here to bring those principles to the small business level.
Why give gifts?
Everyone loves to receive gifts. Gifting token items to your best customers and preferred vendors is a great way to highlight your business’s identity and values. It reflects a level of generosity and implies that you care about individual relationships. Both customers and vendors alike recognize the significance of those two factors in creating long-standing relationships with a business. Your small act of kindness has major implications on your brand perception, the likelihood of repeat business and increased referrals.
Beyond being a nice thing to do, it also gives you a reason to reach out to your customer base without asking anything of them. It is an easy way to reconnect with people who you haven’t been in regular contact with, and most importantly, does not come across as sales-y.
Lastly, your business can mark these gifts as tax-deductible. Typically, if the gift is less than $25 per person, you can write off the expense. It’s a win-win: you create good will with your clients without breaking the bank.
How to organize a successful gift-giving campaign
If you’re going to spend time and resources on a gifting campaign, you might as well do it right. To select your holiday gift, review these five considerations to choose the best item for your audience:
- Useful: Make sure your gift serves a purpose and is helpful to the recipient. If you send highlighters to your clients, but they read on mobile devices, this isn’t useful. It also suggests you don’t know your audience and it detracts from your good intentions.
- Branded: While your goodwill comes without strings, when appropriate, add your logo or business name to your gift. It’s a soft reminder of where the gift came from, and best of all, it’s free marketing whenever it’s used.
- Personalized: This is not to say your gift must be customized, but you must include a personal note with each gift. Write a quick note to say you wish them a happy holiday season and a fruitful New Year, and add in a sentence or two that is appropriate based on your relationship. This can take a chunk of time, so plan accordingly. However, personalized notes go a long way and their absence is noticeable when a gift is accompanied by a template card.
- Perfectly timed: We’ll dive into this further below, but get the delivery date correct. Receiving a gift after the fact nulls any good intention you had. If the majority of your clients go away over the holidays, preempt their departure and send your gifts on the earlier side.
- Respectful of cultural differences: Remember that every customer is different and has cultural and religious preferences. Keep those in mind when selecting your holiday gift. Offending someone would be the exact opposite of your goal by sending seasonal gifts.
Once you’ve ironed out your ideal holiday gift, it’s time to set a timeline. Ensure your deadline aligns with delivery dates so you can successfully deploy this initiative. Remember all components of a gift: the physical gift, a card, packaging and wrapping paper, shipping and mail costs and delivery time. Account for all of these variables, and you’ll be set for a fantastic gifting season!
Bonus: gift inspiration list
If you need a creativity boost, here are some tried-and-true corporate gift ideas:
- Gift baskets
- High-quality pens
- Personalized stationery
- Business card cases
- Tickets to an event
- Universal smart device chargers
- Custom mugs
The great thing about gift-giving is that you can do it any time of year. While the majority of corporate gifts go out between November and January, don’t limit yourself to this season. If your business sells beach umbrellas, send out gifts before summer. You want your gifts to stand out and be memorable. You don’t have to subscribe to what is typical; do what makes the most sense for your small business. Your clients will love you for being authentic and thoughtful.