6 Ideas to Turn Your Customer Holiday Gifts Into a Marketing Tool

Hopefully you’ve already created your annual customer and client holiday gift list. Whether they’ve been naughty or nice, all clients should get recognized in this holiday ritual. But how can you make your holiday gifts do double duty—not only as a “thank you” for the past year’s business, but also as a marketing tool to encourage more business in the new year? Here are some ideas.

Remind them of you. The simplest way to make your holiday gift a marketing tool is to choose a promotional product with your company’s name and/or logo on it. But for best results, make sure it’s something your client will actually use—ideally, in a setting when they’ll be thinking about buying what you sell. Also make sure it matches your brand and is relevant to your business. For example, if you sell accounting services to businesses, a high-quality pen set, sophisticated note pad or travel coffee mug is likely to be used at or on the way to work when the client is thinking business, while a logo baseball cap will probably get stuck in the back of the drawer. On the other hand, if your clients are owners of landscape businesses who buy your company’s mulch, that logo baseball cap might get tons of use when they’re out on the job in the hot sun.Capture

Personalize it. A promotional product with your logo isn’t the only way to put your personal touch on a corporate gift. For instance, if you own a graphic design business, you could design your own wrapping paper or gift boxes for your gifts (be sure to add a label that says you designed it!). This way, you’re subtly reminding clients of your talents while they open your gift. If you own an interior design firm, you could make gift wrap or ribbons out of leftover fabric swatches. You get the idea.

Give what you make or sell. This not only saves money because you’re using your own inventory, but also reminds the client of your quality product. Every time the client drinks a cup of coffee made with your fresh-roasted beans, uses your handmade stationery or puts his iPad in your leather case, he’ll be reminded why he does business with you.

Deliver your gifts by hand. If your clients are local, make an impact by delivering your holiday gifts yourself. Make a brief appointment so you’re not interruptive, and spend the time catching up with the client. Don’t make this a hard-sell sales call, but listen for cues as to how you may be able to help them in the future, and cement your interest in working with them again next year.

Give the gift of time. Instead of giving a physical gift, take key clients out to breakfast or coffee—something brief that provides a break in their busy days, but also gives you time to reconnect. You’ll stand out from the crowd of social media connections by simply being present in real life, and you’ll be top of mind when the client turns to next year’s budget.

Give the gift of information. A business book or magazine subscription that’s relevant to your client’s industry, challenges and interests shows you put some thought into what will help her get ahead in the coming year. Plus, you can follow up later by asking the client how she likes the book and why you thought it might be helpful to her…segueing nicely into how your business might be helpful as well. And if you’ve procrastinated, this is a quick and easy gift.

With these simple tips, you can turn holiday business gifts into the gift that keeps on giving—giving you more business, that is.

About the Author

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva and visit SmallBizDaily.com to sign up for her free TrendCast reports. She’s been covering small business and entrepreneurial issues for more than 30 years, is the author of several books about entrepreneurship and was the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine for over two decades


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