Level Up Your Client Appreciation Gifts to Leave a Lasting Impression
Level Up Your Client Appreciation Gifts to Leave a Lasting Impression
“Thank you for your business.” “We appreciate your partnership.” We're all taught the importance of common courtesies such as saying “please,” “thank you,” “you’re welcome.” Yet in business, as in personal relationships, making the extra effort to send client appreciation gifts can not only elevate your company’s business relationships but can also boost referrals and help retain your best clients or customers in an increasingly competitive world.
Big companies have been sending client appreciation gifts as a part of the sales/client journey forever. And gifting top clients to show appreciation is certainly not new to even savvy small to medium-sized organizations. For the latter, it’s actually one of the few attainable ways small businesses and entrepreneurs can compete against the big guys.
Yet client appreciation, like everything, has evolved. The standard flavored popcorn tin or the ubiquitous fruit basket during the holiday season is usually met with a big yawn in the break room by its recipients these days. Boring and unremarkable aren’t what we’re going for here!
In this article, we’ll explore four things you need to know about smart client appreciation gifting.
- How to develop a client appreciation strategy that fits your business and industry
- How to plan your corporate gifting budget
- Considerations to keep in mind for the gift receipt experience
- Common client appreciation gifting mistakes to avoid
Creating a Simple Yet Effective Corporate Gifting Plan
You’ve heard the adage, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Well, that wisdom holds true for yes, even client appreciation gifts. When considering your organization’s gifting plan, you’ll want to keep in mind four factors: Who will you give gifts to, what will you give, when or how often will you give? The fourth – how much should you spend? – will be covered in Budgeting Tips below.
The first question - who will you give gifts to - depends largely on your business. For example, our professional services customers tend to give client appreciation gifts to clients who refer them business, to the key person(s) when a new deal closes, and a holiday gift for the office staff of their clients. For the latter, holiday gifts, they typically have one to three tiers of clients that they align their gift budget with accordingly. For retail businesses, you might want to give customer appreciation gifts to your best customers and top vendors with whom you depend on to run your business successfully. A third example comes from many of our solo consultant and freelancer customers, who gift their top clients not just annually during the holidays, but also at key project milestones and, when appropriate, to mark more personal occasions in their clients’ lives such as the birth or adoption of a child or recovery from a major illness. Bottom line, you know your business and clientele the best. Use these examples as a starting point to identify whom to give gifts to in your own business.
The second question to address for your client appreciation plan is what will you send – the actual gift or gifts themselves. This is where client appreciation has evolved most notably in the past several years. Generational shifts, increased environmental and sustainability concerns, and several other trends have shaped the type of gifts that win over the past few years.
Regardless of what you choose to give, a great client appreciation gift should check off four boxes – the ‘WARMS’ Test as we like to call it (as in warms the heart!):
- It should Wow!
- It should be Appropriate for the recipient, occasion, relationship
- It should be Relevant by being useful in some way, if even temporary
- It should be Memorable
- It should be Socially aware, at least in part (by virtue of the material, reusability, responsible sourcing, culturally appropriate, etc.)
Those five guideposts still allow for a wide range of gift ideas.
The third question to address for your client appreciation plan is when will you send a gift – for what occasions? There are many appropriate occasions to send a corporate gift to external recipients, including welcoming a new customer or saying thank you to a business partner or vendor.
There are also many reasons to send a corporate gift to internal recipients, including recognizing an exceptional employee, or celebrating a promotion or retirement. Increasingly with more employees working remotely, at least part of the week, many savvy companies have also added or enhanced their onboarding, team recognition programs and virtual events and town halls with corporate gifts to add a personal touch.
Budgeting Tips for Your Client Appreciation Gift Giving
How much should you plan to spend on your client appreciation gifts? Well, no surprise, the answer is ‘it depends. One approach we recommend is to consider your client appreciation budget as part of your overall marketing or business development investment. After all, sending thoughtful client appreciation gifts can not only elevate your company’s business relationships but can also increase referral business and help retain your best clients or customers in an increasingly competitive world. Those are positive business outcomes worth the investment! Regardless, quality over quantity is always advisable.
Beyond the Gift Box or Basket: The Whole Experience Matters
One of the reasons more traditional corporate gifts have fallen out of favor is that as consumers, we’ve all come to cherish, if not expect, a memorable experience, even for more mundane interactions. So when it comes to sending corporate appreciation gifts, you need to make sure that the full experience is accounted for - from receipt, to opening to using the sent gift.
That means everything in the gifting journey matters – shipping, packaging, the actual gift contents and the experience one has using the gift. The more of all five senses you can engage – taste, smell, touch, visual, sound – the better! Think about the last time you received a specially wrapped, unexpected gift – and the feeling you had as you unwrapped and revealed the contents. Exactly!
Common Client Appreciation Gift Mistakes to Avoid
We’ve been helping our corporate clients solve their unique client appreciation gift solution needs for a couple of years now. Plus, our team collectively has more than 30 years combined experience across multiple industries with gifting. So we know a thing or two about client appreciation gifts!
Yet three common corporate gifting mistakes seem to be evergreen:
- Being reactionary vs. proactive. This is solved by having a client appreciation plan and trusted fulfillment partner! In addition to planned gifting, a good strategy will also consider and prepare in advance for the unexpected. Then, when the unexpected happens (because it always does), there’s less of a fire drill.
- Logo Overload. While customizing gifts with your organization’s logo can be a smart strategy, be wary of the logo and marks eclipsing the actual gift. We advise our custom box clients to keep things 'low key luxe' -- visible, yet tasteful.
- Only gifting during the holidays. For both external client appreciation gifts and internal employee corporate gifts, if you only send gifts during the holiday season, you risk being out of sight, out of mind.
Use these insights to level up your client and corporate gift giving. Putting these recommendations into practice can strengthen business relationships, help you express gratitude and will leave a lasting impression on clients, partners and employees year-round.
Not sure where to begin? We’d love to help!
At 211 to Waterloo, we understand your time is limited yet your desire to send truly personable and memorable gifts to celebrate your customers, partners, and/or team members is not. As your trusted partner, our goal is to keep your time to a minimum and make the process fun and easy.
We have access to a vast network of high-quality and memorably distinctive products from well-respected brands. Many of our favorite providers are small batch and artisan-produced goods. Our designers are expert at creating gift boxes filled with the perfect selection of products, displayed for an exceptional box opening experience, and tailored to your specific needs and budget.
We’ll get to know you and what you’re trying to achieve so we can offer personalized guidance and support that ensures your project’s success. We’ll happily tailor one of our existing gift boxes if you don't find just the right one from our current selection. Our goal is to make sure both you and your recipient’s experience is exceptional.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
Visit our website (www.211towaterloo.com), email (hello@211toWaterloo.com) or call us at 470-650-4313, M-F, 9am - 5pm ET.