Everyone knows that Santa gets his job done with a bit of help. It has become common for many businesses to don a little elf hat and help old Saint Nick deliver some gifts to their customers – especially those who are on the “nice” list!
Even if you are not doing it to help the man in the big red suit, it is still a great time of year to celebrate positive relationships – and that includes your business ones.
However, there is a really big opportunity being missed when businesses send out gifts at Christmas time…
While the end of the year is a great time to express your gratitude to clients, why are you only doing this once a year?
We already know that your sales process benefits from having a certain number of step. Equally, when you make the right number of touch points throughout the year with your clients, you can create even closer relationships with them and maintain an even stronger raving-fan community around your business.
In this article, we will look at why you should be more than just an elf. That is, why it is a good idea to reach out more frequently during the year and how best to go about doing this.
The Double Benefit of Regular Client Appreciation
Reminding your customers that you care about them is a fuzzy and heart-warming tradition to uphold in your business. It makes you and your team feel good and it makes your clients feel good.
But what makes it an extra special and beneficial practice is that it also helps with your client retention. Happy clients are more likely to stick with you, buy from you, and refer new clients to you – so keeping them happy is also a great way to maintain a strong bottom line.
It’s a win-win: you get to feel good by expressing gratitude with actions that ultimately also help your business.
What Kind of Gifts Should I Send to Clients?
There are many ways to appreciate your clients. If you have a lot of clients, or limited resources to commit to gift giving, then you can give digital gifts such as gift vouchers for online stores or even something as simple as an email could do for limited budgets.
However, you will find that the impact of the gesture is larger and more recognised when you give something physical. I would therefore highly recommend figuring out a small, physical gift you can deliver to your clients.
This could be things such as elegant stationery, themed food like cakes or cookies, posters or paintings that can be put up, or other regular gift items.
If you can weave in a message or branding in an unobtrusive manner, then by all means do so. However, remember that your purpose here is not your brand marketing. The purpose is to make your clients feel appreciated. So give them something good first and foremost.
If a physical gift is too complicated or difficult, you can also consider organising events that you give your clients exclusive access to. This can do as much if not more to foster a sense of community and can have the added benefit of encouraging referrals if you allow them to invite friends.
How Often Should I Send Gifts to Clients?
When you only send your gifts to clients at Christmas you are Santa’s elf and, while that’s great, elves lose their impact come February. However, if you send gifts out all the time, they start to lose their impact and they start to feel less special.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend having some sort of appreciation touch point once a quarter in order to maximise the effect.
You can switch things up and have different sorts of gifts and/or events each quarter. The variance not only keeps it interesting and engaging, but also ensures that the gifts remain special, and unexpected. You want to avoid becoming predictable so that whenever you do produce a present, it comes as a small and pleasant surprise.
A good idea is to draw up a calendar and look at the holidays, events and other important dates to do with your business or which are important to your prospects. These can help structure the timing of your gifts and help with the selection (or theme) of what to offer.
Genuine Gifts Only
Some people may feel that creating a strategy around gift-giving takes away from the positivity of the gift, as it starts to have “motive”. Let me clarify something: you should not be giving gifts simply because I told you so or because you want to “get more” from your clients. You should be choosing carefully, and giving genuinely.
You should not just be choosing what you give, but also who you give gifts to. This works best if you are honestly giving gifts to people you truly believe deserve them – so don’t just give to everyone. Make sure the gift is really good, and your primary motivation is to appreciate that person, not improve your bottom line.
When do you that, you continue to feel good, they continue to feel good, and you do still get all the extra benefits of improving your business relationship on top of that. It’s a win all around – and you get to be more than an elf: you get to play Santa all year round!