As this year wraps up, I officially celebrated my first full year of freelancing! Since I started, I’ve worked with some fantastic entrepreneurs, and signed some awesome (and not so awesome) contracts.
Both my clients and colleagues are inspiring and enjoyable to work with. I’ve learned a lot of personal lessons, as well as business lessons throughout the year (more of which I’ll share in an upcoming blog post).
But the question I’m facing now is, what should I give my clients for the holidays, and how much should I spend?
Is a Christmas card or a basket of fruit appropriate, or should it be something more expensive or personal? Coincidentally, this question that was asked in the Freelancers Club and thanks to the wonderful and creative minds of everyone in there, we came up with following advice:
Gifts based on revenue or length of relationship
Linsey Knerl from 1099Mom suggests to base your gift on the amount of revenue or length of relationship. Clients with revenue over $5K, for example, will get a better gift than a client that only worked on one or two projects.
You want to keep your gifts in proportionate to the income you received from that client throughout the year. This isn’t to say that one client is better than the other, you just don’t want to eat up all your revenue on a $100 client by purchasing a $100 gift.
And don’t forget that a branded gift is both good for moral and marketing, such as the personalized Sharpie markers with your site’s URL, like Linsey gives to her clients.
Virtual or physical gifts depend on the client
Missy Diaz from G34 Media asks if it’s better to give virtual or physical gifts. The answer, depends on the client and their personality.
If the type of business they run is mostly online and done virtually, they are probably used to dealing with non-tangible transactions. However, if your client prefers to touch and feel their products, then a physical gift is the better choice.
If you’re looking for a really awesome virtual card idea, check out a service like Paperless Post. They have a huge selection of holiday cards to choose from, many of which are free, and all of them can be personalized with your own brand message.
The best part is the “envelope” feature that personalizes each card with the recipients name on the front – just like a real letter.
Spread holiday cheer without overspending
This blog is called “Careful Cents” for a reason, so if you do buy a Christmas card or holiday gift for your clients, make sure you don’t overspend. There are lots of ways you can express your gratitude without spending money.
For example, I have a client who has requested any Christmas gifts or money, be donated to their favorite charity. You can do the same thing with your clients.
Instead of giving them an expensive gift, find out their favorite charity and make your money go further with a donation in their name. You and your brand will be viewed as generous, and as an added bonus, you’ll get a tax write-off too.
You could also offer your most exclusive clients and customers, a discount on future orders, consulting services and products – or a host a giveaway. Make sure you explain it’s your way of thanking them for putting up with you all year (this is what I did for my loyal newsletter subscribers).
And don’t be envious of the big brands that spend a lot of money on holiday gifts. As a small business, you can interact with your clients in a much more genuine and personal way!
Send something more personal
Speaking of which, the last tip here comes from Jennifer Laverty, who suggests sending something much more personal, like a handwritten card, or a small gift that reflects the relationship you’ve developed together (like an inside joke).
This is especially smart to do for clients who are large companies, or if you work with corporate clients, who are overloaded with lots of fruit baskets and gifts for the holidays.
Something creative or thoughtful, will have a bigger impact than something you randomly picked up at the store. Again, take time to say “thank you”. That alone will affect your client, over all the gifts in the world.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten from a client, vendor or service provider? Are you planning to get your clients gifts this year?