Every year, I wrack my brains for gift ideas for clients.
Something that's thoughtful, personal, and memorable. Not too expensive, of course, but not embarrassingly cheap either.
Something that says, "I appreciate you and I took the effort to pick this out just for you."
Which means gift cards are out (although if you want to send me a gift, an Amazon gift card is always appreciated! wink, wink!).
And every year, I reach out to people I know asking them for gift ideas for clients, but I still come up empty-handed.
And so, I figured, since I've had clients for 11 years, it's probably worthwhile to look back through the years and make my own list of gift ideas—those that were big "successes," based on the reactions of the recipients.
Before we get to the gift list itself, let's back off a bit and talk about a few criteria.
For me, a terrific client gift has these characteristics:
The gift mustn't be a generic gift that you could've sent to almost anybody else. Examples of impersonal gifts are gift cards (as I've mentioned).
For a gift to be great, the choice needs to be informed by your knowledge of the client. If you've been working with them for some length of time, you ideally know what their interests and tastes are.
If not, this is a good time to do low-key research by looking at their social media posts. Skim their Facebook and Instagram posts; those seem to be the most personal of all. You're not stalking; you're looking for something to spark a terrific gift idea.
I like giving gifts that my clients will be looking at for months, if not years, to come. This way, they'll be thinking about me in the future and, hopefully, bring more business my way.
Food and other perishable items may be what your client will appreciate the most. I certainly have not always followed this rule and I've given a bottle of wine and tea to some clients. That's because they truly were wine and tea lovers, respectively.
Just make sure, if you do give food items, that you're not doing it just because you couldn't come up with any thing better!
I avoid very expensive gifts because I don't want the recipient to feel obligated to me.
That's why the idea client gift is intrinsically valuable, not valuable because of its price tag. It should help make my client's life easier, or give them delight.
Finally, I always give physical gifts, not digital ones. Physical gifts stand out because, firstly, who doesn't love getting stuff in the mail?
Besides, a physical gift is more likely to be "experienced" by the recipient. A digital gift, on the other hand, is easily forgotten in the recipient's hard drive or in the cloud.
7 best gift ideas that my clients raved about! #freelancing #homebiz #wahm
With the above requirements in mind, here are client gifts I've given in the past that have gotten rave reviews from the recipients.
One of the first client gifts I've ever given was a custom-made mug. My client was so pleased that she posted a picture of it on her social media accounts, complete with a shout-out to me.
Now, a mug may not strike you as being personal. It's not, if you just picked up any mug from the store shelf. I'm talking about a unique mug with a hand-drawn image and text that specifically resonated with my client.
You don't have to gift a custom-made mug for it to be personal. I myself have received a store-bought mug that I used every day for years. It had a simple design and a quote that spoke to my heart. Moral of the story: Spend time looking for just the right mug that would be perfect for your client.
Source: I've ordered print-on-demand mugs and other items from Zazzle. There are many others.
I recently gifted a tote bag to my client, who's also a writer and editor. It was a simple tote bag with an image of books, obviously a terrific gift for any book lover.
I guess I made the right choice because my client emailed me: "Thank you so much for the bag—such a thoughtful gesture!
The bag is even more appropriate than you realize, since I recently joined a book club. I can't wait to show it off at the next meeting!!"
Imagine, at least once a week, this client will be thinking of me as she stuffs a book into the tote bag and brings it to her book club.
As a big tea drinker myself, I love giving tea as a gift. It is perishable, so I look for tea sets that will last at least one month of daily drinking. I also look for classy packaging—extra points if the packaging can be repurposed or reused after all the tea is gone. One example is a tea set that comes in a wooden box. The tea may be perishable, but the box isn't, so it still meets the criterion for being long-lasting.
Upon receiving her tea set, a client messaged me, "Thank you for the fun and thoughtful gift! Love it! ?"
Focus word jewelry is usually a pendant or bracelet with a focus word on it. The idea is to help your client remember a value or goal every time they use the jewelry.
I once ordered a focus word bracelet for a client and this was her reaction: "Thank you so much for your wonderful, thoughtful gift! It was not at all expected, yet I appreciate your kindness in choosing and sending the perfect gift of purpose. I will treasure it."
I have to admit, I'm much better at picking gifts for ladies than gentlemen. For the male client whom I knew almost nothing about, I played it safe by ordering something that wasn't very personal but still highly appropriate: a poster with a business-related quote.
These products are popular with people in the tech world (my client was in the SaaS world). My client was moving into a new office at the time and, when he thanked me, he said he was putting up the poster on their office wall!
Here's a terrific gift idea for clients who are into wellness, yoga, alternative health, and related topics: a bracelet that's also an essential oil diffuser! Your client simply applies a few drops of their favorite essential oil onto the bracelet, and they inhale its healing scent for hours. It's a gift that's inexpensive, unique, and highly appreciated!
I love this gift idea so much that I gifted it ... to myself! It's a year-long subscription to uplifting messages especially for female entrepreneurs. The monthly pack includes one physical card and a sticker. It also has a digital component: an audio recording that goes deeper into the month's message.
Source: Mindset Notes
I hope some of the gift ideas on this post would be perfect for some of your clients. Or, that they sparked some new client gift ideas that you otherwise may not have thought about.
Either way, let me know: What gifts have you sent to your clients? Which ones were big hits?
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I earn a commission when you buy through the links on this page. While I only recommend products I myself use or have vetted, you should always do your due diligence before making any purchases. (Full Disclosure)
Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
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