The holidays are here which means it is the most exciting time of the year. Everyone is merry, everything is bright, and everybody is rushing to buy things for the people they hold dear. The process of gift selection and the actual giving doesn’t just extend to family and friends. For many small businesses and entrepreneurs, it’s Thanksmas time – so let the client appreciation gift rollout begin!
For most, the process of gift selection is daunting, and when it comes to client gifts, many variables create internal conflict for the giver. In a society that loses their shit over Starbuck’s opting for a festive red disposable cup, it’s no wonder why it takes so long to pick a winner. And don't forget cost limitations, unrealistic expectations thanks to Pinterest, the best holiday gift lists and of course the need for mass production. Here are some tips on tried and true client gifts to help you amplify your Thanksmas giving game.
Instead of hitting up Costco or Target, opt for shops or brands unique to your community or local area. My number one goal with customer service is ensuring they never feel like a number. Their business matters to me. They matter to me. With that in mind, I strive to deliver something to them that is original and unique. Whether it’s chocolates, jams, coffee, candles, whatever, it always comes from a brand that isn't from a major retailer.
Try to think outside of the box. Is there a creative way to tie in your business with your gift? For example, I do marketing for a film company that’s slogan is “Films that feel like Home.” When I think of home around the holidays, I think of family, homemade goodies, and fresh scents. So, I decided to create a gift basket for our clients that consisted of homemade artisan bread and butter spread, tied rosemary sprigs, local dessert and a delicious bottle of local red wine. I made sure each basket was different and used assorted linen dish towels to tie it all together. For baskets being delivered in the new year the bottle of red was swapped for a fabulous bottle of Prosecco.
And, if you are counting up the cost in your head, and thinking you can't possibly do all this, step back a moment. If you pay cash or buy in bulk a small shop or liquor store will often offer a discount if you ask! And, use some creative methods when packaging to save even more and give that personalized touch. You might eliminate the basket and opt for simple gift bags that you dress up to reflect your brand. Still too much? Maybe the linen dish towel is replaced with craft paper and a velvet ribbon. Or, keep the linen dish towel and just have edibles without the wine.
Booze is always a good idea (or at least I never complain), but remember that most of us don’t read instructions or have the patience to assemble a cocktail that requires any more than four steps. So, if it’s a cocktail kit keep it simple. When in doubt opt for a great bottle of wine. You don’t have to break the bank just be sure to visit a liquor store with knowledgeable wine staff that can make recommendations in your price range. If your client loves fine whiskey, don't buy on the cheap, find a pair of high ball glasses or another accessory they can use when they bring out their good stuff.
I love to send holiday Thanksmas cards to clients and colleagues. In keeping with my philosophy of customer service stated above I always try to make it personable and fun. No pre-written message and no basic cover image for me. I have two French Bulldogs (aka my pig kids) that I torture annually (see photo example) all for the sake of making people smile. They hate me. And, don't forget how colorful holiday stamps dress up an envelope.
For real though, whatever you decide to do it isn’t so much about what the gift is or how much you spent, it’s the thought that counts and the service they can expect with you year round. Just putting a little extra energy into the selection process and the presentation can make all the difference.
Do you have any ideas to contribute to the conversation? Comment and let's discuss.