How to Give Clients Gifts: Part 2

Last week, we answered some tough questions about handling gift-giving to clients and affiliates during the holiday season. Here are two more frequently asked gift-giving questions answered, with ideas and examples to help spark your imagination.

How can my gift stand out among many others during the holiday season?

Don’t Google “unique gifts for clients.” Seriously—now it is critical to think outside of the box. And you’ll also want to think very strategically about what gifts make the most sense in particular for your type of products and services—as well as your type of clientele. Just sending a gift, any old gift, serves as a mere token. It won’t get you the attention, fond remembrance and return business that you’re ultimately seeking. And trust us, if a high-ranking website told you about the coolest new client gifts for 2010, your recipient will probably already have four of them by Boxing Day.

How can I promote my business through my gift?

Practical gifts are especially useful when they’re doubling as a promotional tool. Every time your client reaches for your gift, he or she will think of you. Of course, you’ll have to go beyond branding a ballpoint pen. If its not practical, anything that’s exciting enough to make your clients tell someone else about the gift—even if it’s just their spouse or hairdresser—will get them talking and thinking about your brand.

You should also consider double-personalizing a gift. Instead of just embossing your company’s iconography on an item, add the recipient’s name and logo, too. This extra measure doesn’t just remind them of you—it reflects your partnership. Companies are more likely to hold onto the gift because it displays their name. And it shows that they’re a special client to you because you took the time to tailor a gift to them—rather than sending over one of a hundred generic, single-branded, you-centric items.

Two examples …

These days, technological gifts go a long way and are a little more exciting and cutting-edge than non-digital counterparts; for example, earlier this year we discussed the USB Insert. This flat device is an inventive way to share digital art, games and other media as a combination of advertisement and gift–and fits perfectly inside a card for easy shipping.

Our favorite recent gift was last year’s desktop Ecosphere, from Blue Ocean Press. We still enjoy watching these critters play around in their habitat, and it’s a great conversation-starter when clients visit our office. Plus, the long-lasting present ties in perfectly with the company’s brand name—bonus points!

Next week, we’re discussing the idea of giving the gift of charitable donations, including the benefits and opportunities available with e-philanthropy. Don’t miss it!

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