“A crummy commercial? Son of a bitch!” So says 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in the iconic Christmas movie, A Christmas Story.
Ralphie is disillusioned when he finally uses his much-anticipated Little Orphan Annie Insider’s Circle decoder ring only to learn that the secret message from Annie is “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.”
A crummy commercial, indeed.
This is definitely NOT the reaction you want from your customers and clients when they receive an insider’s circle thank you gift from you and your company.
When you give the “gift” of a coupon, it’s really a gift with strings attached.
A coupon for your product or service has value only when the recipient uses it to buy something from you. (Ever notice the “no cash value” disclaimer in fine print on most coupons?)
Instead, a true thank you gift to express your appreciation should have real value of its own.
That’s not to say that your gift shouldn’t be branded with your company name, logo, and message … of course it should!
But the gift should be useful and provide value WHILE it promotes your business. That’s why caps, mugs, calendars, stress balls, note pads, pens, and promotional items like these are such widely used customer appreciation gifts.
You stay top of mind because your customer is reminded of you every time they use the item, but there are no strings attached to that use.
Promotional gifts that are useful and audience appropriate will get used more often.
Let’s say your audience is writers. Giving them a pen or a journal with your logo on it is more appropriate than giving them a ruler.
Homeowners would use a pad of shopping lists or To Do lists … they may or may not wear a cap with your logo.
To be effective — to keep you top of mind — your promotional thank you gift needs to be something that your customers will actually use.
Promotional gifts that are unique are memorable.
The challenge when giving a branded promotional item as a gift is making it stand out from all the other promotional items your customer receives.
For example, Mini Mops House Cleaning put their message on a promotional pen that had bling sparkles all around the barrel. People loved it, and even requested extra pens for friends. (BIG WIN!!)
I have a business card holder in my office that was a promotional gift from the Triple A baseball team in my town. It’s a baseball glove that holds business cards … talk about unique and memorable! And very appropriate since it was given to season ticket holders.
Instead of a coupon, give a no-strings-attached, useful and unique appreciation gift.
If you’ve been giving coupons as thank you gifts, test this out instead. Try giving something useful and unique and see what kind of response you get. Yes, it’s an investment …
It’s an investment in positive customer relations. An investment in customer retention …
It’s an investment in the future success of your business.
I think that’s worth it. What about you?
Your turn … What’s been the most well-received customer appreciation thank you gift that you’ve ever given? What have you received that’s been most memorable? Please share your story in a comment below!