Client Gifting 101: A Guide for Giving Business Presents
A few years ago, I met with a brilliant financial planner. Three days later, I received an oversized mug in the mail with his business’ logo and a tagline printed on it.
That mug still sits on my desk at home as a pen holder, and though I haven’t seen nor heard from the planner in a while, I think about him all the time.
Client gifting is so important. It shows gratitude to your clients and makes them feel valued. At the same time, it allows you to promote your business.
This is the goal of your client gifting: To get important people to remember you.
As with everything in marketing, it’s important to gift with a clear strategy.
Here is my client gifting 101 guide so that you can get it right every time.
Figure out why you’re giving a client gift
Before we figure out the best way to gift your clients, let’s explore the benefits of using this particular method to promote your business.
Most publicity ideas involve spending money each time you want to blast your name out there, and the exposure is pretty short-lived.
Flyering? You’ll have to pay to print and distribute flyers each time, and the flyers only stay up for a limited period.
Digital marketing? You need to keep paying the advertising platform to display your ad. As soon as you stop paying, your exposure is over.
Tabling? You can set up a stand in malls, events, or trade shows to promote your business and network, but once the show is over, all those you met can (and probably will!) forget about you.
As they say, “Out of sight, out of mind.”
This doesn’t happen with client gifts. Client gifts are usually a cheap and easy way to promote your business to your target audience and remind your clients of your existence even when you’re not there. It is ongoing publicity.
When you gift right, your clients will feel valued and use your gift often. Every time your clients use your gift, they are at least subconsciously thinking of you, and you don’t even have to shell out fresh cash for it each time.
Aside from being a smart financial investment, client gifting builds a sense of loyalty among its recipients. If you value your connections enough to send them a small something, they will value you as well.
When you should give a client a gift
So now that you are convinced that it is well worth sending out gifts to your clients, when is it appropriate to do so?
With Jewish holidays almost every month of the year, there are many opportunities to send out something to your clients, specifically for the High Holidays, Chanukah, Purim, and Pesach. These are all major events associated with giving.
Another appropriate time to gift is when someone does you a favor, just as you would in your personal life. So if a client refers you to another client, send over a thank you gift. You can be sure she will keep you in mind next time she has a new referral.
A small gift can also complement a business card at a conference or networking event. At the end of an event, your business card can easily be lost in the pile. With a unique gift attached, you will stick out in people’s minds.
How to give a client gift
Now for the most important bit: how do you get the gift just right, like my financial planner friend did?
There are three rules to help you become a top level gifter:
Relevancy: Your gift needs to be relevant to your business in some way. Remember, the purpose of the gift is to promote your business. If the item does not relate to your business in anyway, it won’t serve its purpose. Running a contemporary tech brand? Your gifts need to be cool, tech-related items. Are you an established professional? A cute little teddy bear is not going to be appropriate. My friend the financial planner sent me an oversized mug, which signifies abundance. Relevant? Check!
Branded: If you want your gift to remind your client of your business, make sure to brand all gifts with your logo and tagline. Your logo should be prominently displayed so that it is noticeable but doesn’t take way from the utility of the item.
Current: Your gift should show your clients that you are with the program and up to date. Is there a current fad going on? If it’s relevant to your business, send a fad-related gift. This year, that might mean you give your client a fidget spinner. Is there an upcoming holiday? Gift accordingly. For example, a branded squishy dreidel for Chanukah would be an awesome present.
Your gift should not be insulting or inappropriate. One agency gave out toothbrushes to all their employees during the holiday season. Huh? Another company gave out gift cards for a restaurant that was 50 miles away. Useless!
Here’s a great example of gifting done right: A friend of mine recently bought a new wig. The store where she bought the wig also gave her an umbrella. Genius! It’s relevant to a wig store; no one wants to be stuck out in the rain with a new (or old!) wig and no umbrella. The umbrella was branded with the company logo. And it was just at the beginning of the winter, so an umbrella was definitely current.
Now that you have a clear strategy on how to gift right, get gifting and have your customers and clients coming back for more every time.
Estie Rand has been helping small, medium and large businesses improve on minimal budgets for over 13 years. A graduate of Baruch College Zicklin School of Business in New York, Estie is also a Certified Professional Coach. After spending many years finding fulfillment in the non-profit industry, Estie founded Strand Consulting to bring her skills of doing more with less to small business owners.