Do you have a “Gifting Plan” for your clients written into your business model? No doubt about it, gifting right can really make a difference in your business bottom line. Gifting wrong can result in the opposite of what you are trying to achieve for your business.
In an effort to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of hurting your business rather than helping it with corporate gifting strategies, we’ve put together a quick checklist of things to consider when initiating your most creative and effective gifts for your clients.
#1 Do Not Overspend
If the amount you spend on a gift far exceeds what you could potentially recoup from client referrals, you could be killing your profit margin…which defeats the purpose of a client gift anyway. What’s more, do not feel that you need to go high-end if you are a small operation. YES. You read that right. Overly expensive gifts aren’t impressive. They are seen as gaudy, arrogant, and could give your clients the wrong impression. A gift that is too expensive could even cause your clients to feel uncomfortable… and we certainly don’t want to do that!
#2 Messaging is Everything
In fact, the message that you send with your corporate client gift is so important that even if your gift is perfectly selected for them, a bAD message can undo all of your best intentions. If you don’t believe us, think about your own experiences and let those be your guiding light. Can you remember a time you received a gift or a note that felt a bit contrived and impersonal? If you are sending a gift with ulterior motives, don’t insult the recipient by believing they won’t be able to tell the difference. Believe us. They can.
In addition, the gift itself can send a message about who you are and how you feel about the working relationship you have with your client. In other words, make sure that your gifts are consistent with your brand and don’t conflict with your business values.
#3 Don’t Make Assumptions
Yes, we realize that this makes finding the most creative client gift ideas more challenging… but hear us out. Sending a bottle of wine for example, to someone who commonly abstains from alcoholic beverages, could be offensive and awkward…and could negatively impact the future of your relationship.
How can you avoid a pitfall such as this one? Ah HA! We are glad you asked! The best way to send an appropriate gift — (and this is quite possible the BEST business advice we can give) — make an effort to get to know your clients on a personal level. If nothing more, you’ll get insight into their personal preferences, hobbies, and needs. And remember a gift that is chosen for your client based on their personal taste, is a gift they will appreciate more than any other.
#4 Avoid Giving for Self-Promotion
Frankly, your clients are smart and they can tell. Self-promotion can be so obvious and tacky they’ll likely want to take a shower after receiving your gift. Before sending out any gift at all, ask yourself this question: Who is this gift about– you, or them? If the gift reeks of business propaganda, you may want to rethink your strategy. Your business gifts should aim to stand out for all the right reasons. Yes, a good client gift will help you and your business stay top of mind. But if it is evident that the spotlight is on your business – (like the gift is clearly just an opportunity for you to get your logo in front of their face)– you’ll only be remembered for being tasteless and self-important.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean you can’t have your logo anywhere on the gift, but there is a fine line and it’s easy to cross it if you aren’t careful.
Gifting shouldn’t be confused with advertising. The two are completely different. Be sure to put thought and intention behind your gift. Check yourself and your motives. In other words, DON’T JUST GIVE TO GIVE. If gifting feels like a burden to you, it will likely feel that way to your clients as well. The bottom line is that the gift should say more about your client than about you. If your logo and brand are more of a focal point than the gift itself, then it isn’t a gift anymore…it’s a marketing ploy.
Believe it or not, when you choose to give a gift can also make a big difference in how your clients respond to your gifts. The timing of a gift can work just as much for you as against you. Last-minute gifts that are given without much forethought can, unfortunately, result in a bad taste in your client’s mouth. On the other hand, sending a gift when your client least expects it can be a delightful surprise. By the same token, you might want to consider giving a gift off-season. Not to mention, when you aren’t operating with erratic holiday etiquette, you can be freer to get creative in your gift-giving.