Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Valentine's Day is a great time to give a little something to your customers. Of course you love your customers and this is the perfect time to show it. Gifts and goodies for customers on Valentine's Day do not have to be costly to make an impact, either. Tokens of appreciation will work just fine. But if you are trying to wow an important prospect or thank your top clients, this can be a good time to do that, too.
There are several ways to "deliver" your Valentine's Day gifts, too. If your customers are not local, you can mail packages or cards. You can also mail locally and if you have a big client list, that will be the best way to maximize your time. You can also hand deliver them. Making a personal appearance is a good way to do a little relationship building while you are at it, and when you come bearing gifts, you are sure to get a warm welcome. You can deliver your goodies any time the week before Valentine's Day, so you have a whole week to work this promotion.
Here are some ideas. All these will cost from under a dollar to a few dollars per customer.
Candy: Everyone loves those traditional candy hearts with messages. They are a timeless representation of the holiday. You can buy them in the individual boxes, which makes it easy to attach your business card with a red ribbon and voila', your gift is complete! You can also buy them in bulk and then transfer them to small cellophane bags. Craft stores keep these on hand year round. Just fill with candy hearts (or another candy of your choice), tie them with a ribbon and attach your business card. Just use a hole punch to make a hole in your business cards and tie them on with the ribbon. You can probably even find a heart-shaped hole punch at your local craft store. Other candy ideas: anything red will work -- red hots, red gummies, red lollipops. And chocolate is the new black and it truly goes with anything.
Flowers: It's not the most economical time to buy flowers, but you can usually find good deals at wholesale clubs or grocery stores. The key to using aomething as "everywhere" as flowers on Valentine's Day is to combine them with a good marketing message. It's even okay to be a bit cheesy on Valentine's Day, so let your creativity run wild.
Cards: It can be hard to find business-appropriate cards, but you can get some made just for you quite inexpensively. No matter what card you use, you must sign them personally. Taking time to sign them, and even add a personal message tells your customers that you care about them. Another plus when sending cards is to include something inside--a small flat promo item like your business card on a magnet will work.
Coffee or Tea mugs: Again, you can get your company's logo on coffee mugs pretty cheaply, too. They are great vehicles for delivering goodies year-round as you can customize the contents for almost any occasion. You can also buy plain mugs at a discount store. Fill them with candies or samples of coffee or teas that you like. Another plus is to include a "coupon" for coffee with you. You can follow up later and set coffee dates with these clients, giving you some one-on-one time with them.
If you want to give bigger gifts for offices or for your VIP clients:
Goodie Baskets: You can buy or make these yourself. These are great gifts for offices where several people work because they can share. Here are some easy suggestions:
Chocolates -- A guaranteed winner, chocolate is never wrong (unless you already know a client doesn't like chocolate). A variety of good chocolates, or even a
basket stuffed with miniature candy bars will work. You could do a big basket of $100,000 candy bars and add a message "Your business is PRICELESS to me!"
Retro Candy -- Here you can use those childhood Valentine's favorites in a bigger way. Use the candy hearts, lollipops, red Jolly ranchers, Skittles, whatever you like that sort of has a red theme will work and look pretty.
Lollipop basket-- Any red lollipop will work and you can usually find Valentine's Day lollipops, even heart-shaped ones in the stores beginning in late January. Just tie a few together with ribbon (again attaching the business card). You can stick several into one big basket for an office.
Any of these can be a big boost to your business. It's a great time to remind your clients that you are here for them, and to bump up your "middle-of-winter" sales.
You can get 36 boxes of candy hearts for under $22 Sweethearts Conversation Hearts 36ct
This Ghirardelli Chocolate Red Valentine's Day Gift Tower, 3 Tier is a great option for those higher end clients and only costs $20. Ghirardelli makes good chocolates and this presentation makes a great statement.