Entrepreneurs Share Clever Holiday Gift-Giving Tips
Looking for holiday gift ideas beyond generic fruit baskets or cookie tins, which your customers may appreciate but may not remember (or possibly even realize) you gave them?
The Intuit Small Business Blog recently asked a few entrepreneurs to share their top tips for affordable, branded holiday gifts.
Original Cards — To make its holiday card stand out, On Location Tours sends holiday wishes to clients in the form of an on-brand photo holiday card. “The employees dress as [characters from] a famous TV show,” says Georgette Blau, the company’s founder and president. “In the past, we have done Gilligan’s Island, Glee, Jersey Shore, and many others. People now expect them, and it’s a great way to market the company. In addition, we often send out popcorn, which is right in line with our branding.” Blau says the company has distributed the cards electronically in recent years to eliminate printing costs.
Personalized Items — Sometimes what you send isn’t a important as how you send it, says Chris Wise, director of inbound marketing at DME. A few years ago, the firm sent a “customized gift package” to customers and vendors that comprised a personalized candy bar inside a box wrapped in personalized paper. The package was such a hit that DME now offers the service to other businesses. “We’ve had customers create packages that are not only branded, but [also] personalized by name for each recipient (including the gift wrap). The entire package costs less than $15 per piece,” Wise says.
“Homemade” Goods — John Glynn, publicist at the James Agency, says his firm got its clients’ attention by brewing its own beer, complete with TJA-branded labels, carriers, and tags. “Our clients loved it, because it was something that was truly unique, showcased our creativity and work to our clients, and the beer was really good. Meanwhile, the team had a great time making the beer together.” He estimates the hard costs were about $15 per gift.
Useful Gadgets — Amy Creel, director of sales and marketing for Smart Mom Jewelry, gave her clients flash-drive bracelets (pictured) bearing the company’s logo (which she purchased from USBCustomFlashDrives.com for less than $5 each). “They were a nice tie-in, since we sell silicone jewelry for moms of teething babies. We did 1,000 total, and people went nuts! They said they were clever, pretty, and, most importantly, useful.”
Seasonal Gear — Are you customers located in areas affected by harsh winter weather? Linda Parry, vice president of MSCO, says her firm is supporting one of its own clients by giving its other customers the Blizzerator, a 3-in-1 ice scraper, snow brush, and squeegee. “Not only are we raising awareness for a product we helped launch, we’re telling other clients that MSCO is their weapon against stagnant business growth (an analogy to the Blizzerator being a weapon against winter).” The product retails for $24.99 online.
Shared Experiences — What better way to connect with key customers than through a shared experience? Michelle Geib, president and co-founder of Xperience Days, says her company offers some 600 activities nationwide that make compelling gifts, particularly for clients whose time and attention you want but have a hard time securing. “Xperience Days Choice Certificates are color-coded and do not show a dollar amount. ...The recipient can choose from a range of activity gifts within the ‘choice certificate level’ received.” Geib says popular activities for business clients include trapeze lessons in New York ($50), cooking classes in Seattle ($65), and sailing on the Chesapeake Bay ($75).
Stephanie Taylor Christensen is a former financial services marketer who brings more than a decade of experience in marketing and writing to her career as a full-time freelance writer and small business owner.