You are if you’re already planning your business’s year-end holiday promotion.
It’s tough to get into the winter holiday mode when you’ve been in flip flops for months. But wrapping up your year-end promo now will give you peace of mind and can help your wallet. Here are eight tips to get you going on what can be a fun and rewarding project.
1. Define your budget. Think about how much you’re budgeting for the entire project—including the core item, additional “support” items (we highly recommend including an edible treat*), custom-printed insert, wrapping, and packaging, etc., and don’t forget shipping/delivery costs!
2. Make a recipient list. Though this will primarily be your clients (list each individual that you will give to), you may choose to include other business colleagues or a significant vendor for whom you would like to show special appreciation. You may also choose to include your staff on the recipient list. ***Be sure to include a good number of extras for last minute add-ons.
3. Consider your audience. Once you’ve compiled your list, brainstorm gift ideas that will work for all of your recipients regardless of age, gender, size, etc. What desires/needs/qualities do all of your clients share? What kind of items would be appealing to all of them?
4. Concept is the key. Whether you’re going for clever, unique, elegant, fun, or another angle, it’s all in the idea. Come up with a specific theme that supports the personality of your business and lends itself to creativity. Develop a fresh visual presentation and carefully crafted writing (a clever or compelling promotional line, heartfelt message, etc.). Focus on messaging that isn’t holiday-specific, but expresses gratitude and wishes everyone well. How would you like the recipient to feel when they receive your package? Our clients regularly tell us “We can’t wait to see what you come up with this year!”
5. Make it memorable and reusable. Whether you’ve allotted $5 or $50 for the core item, you want your clients to keep it, love it, talk about it, and use it year-round. We love themes that are multi-seasonal—custom chocolate snowmen in a branded ice chest, for example. Think outside the usual. Or, if it IS “usual”, then choose the best one in its category, presented in a unique way. Many of our year end promos have been so well received that clients have asked if they can “purchase another one for a family member”, or they tell us they have to “hide their item at home to keep another family member from taking it!”
6. Customize and brand as much as possible. This can mean silkscreening, embroidery, digital printing, vinyl decals, engraving, or wood burning, etc. It’s ideal if you can get your branding imprinted on the core item, but if you can’t, there are other ways to customize. Make sure the item clearly connects to your brand in some way (think concept!). Find an item that is available in your branded color or in the color of your concept/theme. Perhaps you can attach a custom, promotional gift tag, add branded wrapping, or include a smaller, coordinating branded item that works with the overall concept.
7. Get your order in. Benefit from “early bird specials”. Don’t get stuck with rush charges, backorders, or heart-sinking messages like, “This item will be back in stock in January”. Order plenty of shipping supplies.
8. It’s gotta get there. When you’re choosing an item, consider how you’ll wrap and ship or deliver it. How heavy is it? How large is it? How durable is it? Which shipping method is most economical, reliable, and timely? Here’s yet another reason to start early — better and lower cost shipping options! If time and logistics allow, consider delivering personally.
Start early, have fun, and enjoy the creative process. With a little advance planning, you’ll have clients talking about your promos for years to come.
*If including an edible item, consider dietary needs, allergens, and perishability. It’s best if one item works for all, though on occasion, we swap in a different treat for a few recipients when needed.
Debbie Barnett is the Founder and Creative Director of Barnett Design, a 100+ award-winning creative studio. The Barnett team is known for their fresh, fun approach and effective, unique design and writing solutions for branding, packaging, ad campaigns, websites, marketing materials, and more.