We appreciate our clients 365 days a year, but it’s important as the year comes to a close to offer a special thanks to those you do business with and this usually means a holiday gift. Giving gifts to clients is a challenge. You want to show that you appreciate them, that you’re acting in the giving spirit of the season and – very importantly – you don’t want to offend anyone’s sensibilities or traditions.
Like every business, we wrestle with this every year end and know you likely do too so we thought we’d look at the worst – and possibly best – holidays gifts you can give to your clients.
#1 Logo clothing and items
Clothing is a challenge because one size very obviously does not fit all and you don’t want to let anyone know that you know that they were a 2XL. Plus it will likely only get worn when they wash they car or do yard work. Portfolios, ink pens and calendars also fall into this category. Most of us get more calendars than we can use and, if a client really wants one of your ink pens, they’ll snag one from you when you’re not looking…
This food item is a seasonal mystery that, for most people, is far from appealing. In the UK, fruitcake is more widely accepted, but here it’s just a heavy, aged, radioactive looking (and tasting) atrocity. Survey 10 people and you likely won’t find a single fruitcake aficionado. Norwegian fruitcake is another matter – it’s an actual cake, not a densely packed loaf that could easily serve as a doorstop. Skip the fruitcake this and every other year…
#3 A discount coupon
A voucher for a free something that’s well and truly free could be apropos. But a discount coupon if they spend money with you is not a “gift.” A gift is something freely given with no strings attached that should not cost the recipient any money. Buy one get one frees, $10 off and 20% off of products or services are not holiday gifts. These are appreciated all year round and can certainly go along with a gift, but not in place of one…
#4 Donation to charity
Unless you go out of your way to find out the favorite charity of each and every client, this is another non-starter. If you want to give to charity, that’s great. In fact, if you’re not, you definitely should be – and not just at the holidays, but all year round. But giving to charity and telling a client you did it in their name isn’t generally something that will be appreciated – unless you hand over the tax receipt as well. Otherwise, donate but don’t brag…
#5 Wine and liquor
Wine is a nice gift provided you know exactly what kind of wine your client likes and you don’t cheap out and buy swill. Also, bulk wine relabeled with your company logo is very 2004. The same goes for liquor. Most people’s tastes in alcohol is very finicky and hard to gauge. Plus, you’ll have some clients that don’t drink for personal or religious reasons and you don’t want to offend them. Also avoid booze-centric gifts like shot glasses and growlers…
So what do you buy?
Good food is always appreciated. Seasonal fruit is nice. Chocolate dipped fruit is fantastic as long as it’s good quality. Gift cards with wide appeal are a wise choice – like to the movies, Amazon or Starbucks. These are sure to be used and you may get a warm fuzzy thought from your client while they’re sipping their macchiato. Also consider a subscription service so they’ll get a monthly reminder all year long of how much you appreciate them. Dollar Shave Club is fun for guys and Birchbox is a nice treat for the ladies. BarkBox is nice for clients who are all about their four legged friends. The bottom line is that the gift should be about the client, not you.
To all our clients, we appreciate you now, at New Years, Easter, President’s Day, Earth Day and all year round. Everything we do, we do for you.
Have a safe and happy holiday season –
Chad and the whole Seattle SEO Consulting team