This holiday season, you may be wondering whether to send gifts to your clients. Or, if you’ve already decided to make a holiday gesture, you might be deciding exactly what to send. It’s a dilemma that many people face this time of year, but there are a few tips and tricks you can use to ensure that your gifts are appropriate and unique.
Make your list, check it twice
When deciding to whom you’ll be sending gifts, think beyond just the people who pay you. There’s nothing worse than forgetting someone at a firm who has been a crucial part of your client relationship, so it’s very important to double-check your gift list. Consider including every individual who has played an important role in your business, or send a business-wide gift that everyone in the office can enjoy.
Choose what to send
Determine whether you want to send a more standard gift, like a basket of cookies, or if you’re going to tailor your gifts to each client. One unique, personalized gift idea is a small donation to your client’s charity of choice. If you decide to send the same gift to each client, avoid cliché gifts, like pens and notepads. Whether you send a standard or custom gift, including a handwritten note or holiday wish shows attention to detail and tells your client that you care about them.
Don’t break the bank
You don’t have to overspend on holiday gifts. There are many ways you can express your gratitude without spending a ton of money. In fact, very expensive gifts may backfire by making your client uncomfortable or making them feel pressured to send one in return. You want to stand out, but ultimately, gifts are just a gesture. To avoid overspending on personalized gifts, consider customizing your gifts based on the revenue gained or length of your relationship—it can help you budget proportionately to the income you receive from each client.
Gifts and cards can get lost in the mix in the week or so before Christmas, so sending them early will ensure that they get noticed. We try to get ours out by Thanksgiving. Some firms choose to skip the holiday season entirely and send their cards or gifts after the New Year. And even though the holiday season is usually the time to spread cheer and goodwill, you don’t have to wait until the end of the year to show your appreciation for clients. Cut through the clutter by sending yearly gifts on a different holiday, like the Fourth of July or Halloween.
E-cards may not have as much impact as cards sent by snail mail, but many businesses are considering their environmental impact and going digital for the holidays. People appreciate companies that are environmentally conscious, and choosing to skip physical gifts shows your dedication to conservation. Digital cards aren’t the only eco-friendly option, either. I once received a paper card in the mail that could be dissolved into tree seeds and planted—a very memorable gift.
Things to avoid
Be cautious about how you choose your card and its colors, because not everyone celebrates the same holidays. Humor can be misunderstood and people can get very offended, so think about your audience when choosing your gifts and messaging. In general, it’s best to stay away from religious imagery or statements. Additionally, don’t view gift-giving as an advertising opportunity. Your clients already use your services, so don’t send them blatantly promotional products.
Ultimately, although there are a lot of perks to sending client gifts, you don’t need to send gifts just because everyone else is doing it. If it’s something that you can’t afford or you are uncomfortable with, you can skip gift-giving altogether. But when done right, gifts can both spread holiday cheer and set the tone for positive client relationships in the coming year.