When you’re an emerging small business owner, getting client attention (or prospective client attention) means competing with bigger businesses with bigger budgets.
This means you need to think smart. It’s not just about ticking off having sent our some corporate gifts, it’s about giving your customers something truly memorable at trade shows, at first client meetings, or with their purchase from your eCommerce store.
Small Business = Small Budget
You might put aside a decent budget for your customer presents but you’re still marketing on a small business budget compared to mega-competitors!
If you’re trying to get your product into retail, and you’re allocating a substantial part of your budget to wowing them, you’re probably still not competing with the “Private Jet” approach of multinational competitors.
At trade shows too, your $5 per head budget won’t compete even if it seems like a big outlay to you!
Important: measuring the success of corporate gifts
Like all marketing expenses, you should be measuring the return on your investment.
- Do you need to set up a unique URL in Google Analytics (or include a QR code) to track how many recipients took action after receiving your gift?
- Will you offer a call to action with your gift and then monitor how many “actions” are taken vs the number of gifts you hand out? This will be considered your 'conversion rate'
- Will you include social shares and thank-you messages in your ROI calculation?
This will influence your choice of gift – for example a very visual gift will get more social shares and word of mouth but a highly practical one will get more one on one brand exposure.
Also consider the selling price of your product or service.
If your expected conversion rate is 5% and the gift costs you $4, that means you'll need to send out 20 gifts (in other words spend $80) in order to increase the lifetime value of one customer. If your product only sells for $20, you could even end up loosing money with corporate gifting. However, if your product sells for $1,000 or more, these kind of cheap gifts sound like a no brainer.
A call to action based gift (tying an offer into it) can make it much easier to monitor your conversions.
If you chose magic beans for example – the CTA could be “Send or upload a picture of your sprout to receive 20% off your next purchase”. This gives you content, viral advertising and a great way to monitor success.
Return on investment when marketing to existing customers can take time, it may be that you have to wait until the following year to receive more return business or referrals from those existing customers.
Be sure to always ask new clients “how did you hear about us”.
On brand is more important than branded!
Getting a logo printed on most gifts ups the price immeasurably. While it would be wonderful to have your logo all over your customer’s office or home, giving them something that actively engages them in your brand’s core message will be just as effective.
So if the pricing choices come down to getting something amazing that screams what your brand is about, or getting something ordinary and sticking a logo on it, go with the amazing and add a business card to the envelope!
If you can do both (like the beans of course) then WOOT. Total win!
Gift giving is not about you!
Even presents for business clients, where the goal is to get them to love you forever, are not about you. It’s all about them.
What they need or would like, what would impress them, make them laugh or make them talk about your small business to their friends. This might mean looking outside what you want and focusing on what they want.
- Do all your clients have children? Consider something that the child will want to carry around!
- Do they sit at desks? Do your clients travel a lot? Something huge and cumbersome isn’t going with them!
Similarly, don’t annoy your customer! If you’re sending out a product that needs to be signed for (so large enough to be a package) you may end up forcing a customer to spend precious Saturday time in line at the local post office – for something she didn’t want in the first place!
Worse still, if your gift is borderline letter and package size but you post it as letter (the difference in postage costs is astounding), it may get reclassified by Australia Post in transit and your customer may end up having to pay a fee to pick up the package!
Winning without spending
It’s all about left field. Yes, your competitor may be spending $100 a head on those gorgeous, branded pewter wine bottle stoppers - but so are 50,000 other businesses.
Basically, if you can find it at every corporate gift shop, cross it off your list!
The hidden costs of corporate gifts for small businesses
So you found a cool gift that nobody else is doing and it’s on budget. Hooray. Now think about logistical issues
- How will I package it
- Will it need labels made
- Will I need to spend hours packaging and labelling (or paying someone to do it)
- Can it be posted on budget
- Is it shaped so it can fit in a regular sized envelope or will I have to pay extra?
- Will it survive the transit? If there is a delay, will it go stale or rotten or will it break?
- Do I need to buy/make/get printed a separate card or note?
- If I’m doing a bulk mail out, will I have to write on every single card?
- If it’s for a trade show or market, will I need to provide a bag?
- Are there any discounts or cost of sale on an included call to action that must be included in budgeting?
Live Love Bean can help you work through all these decisions and design you an ideal corporate gift that definitely won't break your budget.