Business Marketing With Gifts – 7 Online Resources

Marketing and Gifts

What do gifts have to do with marketing, you ask.  Give me a moment to explain.

I just saw a chart from Statista showing online purchasing reaching all time highs on Cyber Monday.

Holiday Sales - 2012

It seems pretty obvious from this data that we are becoming very comfortable quietly sitting in front of our mobile, tablet and computer screens to fulfill our Holiday gift list.  Plus we’re saving ourselves from the onslaught of the Holiday mobs.  Yeah!

Well, here’s the thing about gift giving.  It doesn’t just happen around the Holidays – or at least it shouldn’t.  Don’t you agree?

It can also serve as a marketing tactic.  There are many times throughout the year when, as a business owner, you have a opportunity to send your customers.  We’re talking about those little treats that show your appreciation.  Those unexpected surprises of recognition that someone has gone out of their way to service you.  A simple card that says you remembered.

We’re not talking about discounts for the masses.  We’re talking about creating a marketing strategy that singles out those special customers.

We’re also talking about employing this gift marketing strategy to your online social communities.  Those select fans and followers who share, comment and like all you have to offer.  Or maybe that select group of loyal email subscribers who read every newsletter you distribute.

Sending these special people something special just makes sense.  Besides, everyone loves a little recognition. Don’t you?

If you think you want to incorporate gift giving as a marketing strategy for 2013, you can obviously use any retailer to send an online gift to an individual, but here are some unusual and a few free online gift resources you may want to explore.

On Facebook

For your Facebook Fans and Friends, you have several online gift sources.

1.  Facebook Gifts

With Facebook’s Gifts, you can pick out cookies, chocolates, household items, or gifts for that spoiled dog or cat.  You don’t need to know the Facebook giftsaddress to send a gift to your Facebook friend.

Facebook alerts the person that you’ve purchased a gift for them and they tell Facebook where to send the gift and get the opportunity to customize the gift by size, style or choice of flavors.

You also have the option of delaying payment until your friend accepts the gift and you can elect to keep your gift giving ways private or let  your Facebook friends know you’re in a giving mood.

If your business is about things retail, you may be able to submit your products to Facebook for consideration in their list of gift offerings.

2.  Treater

TreaterEach treat acts as a one-time payment card for gifts, lattes, cocktails, movie tickets or even a massage redeemed through stores, restaurants as well as online.  Just send your Facebook friends a spontaneous treat. Great for the mobile savvy user.

Treater is integrated with Facebook.  iPhone and Android apps use your phone’s address book, so you can send a treat to one of your Facebook friends using their email address or phone number or deliver it as a Facebook post.

To redeem a Treat, the one-time-use credit card pops up on the person’s mobile-device screen and the merchant manually enters it into the payment register. Once used, the Treat vanishes from the person’s profile and any remaining funds are transferred to a Treater “Piggy Bank” for later use.

3.  Wrapp

Wrapp is a social gift-giving service that allows you to give free or paid gift cards to Facebook friends using your PC or smartphone. The free gift cards are usually smaller amounts, such as $5 to spend at retailers such as Gap or Sephora. You can send them as is, or add funds to make it a larger gift.

The website connects with your Facebook account and tells you which of your Facebook friends have birthdays coming up. You select someone, grab a gift card and choose to send it to them via email or on the person’s Facebook Timeline, along with a message. If you use Wrapp on your smartphone you can deliver the gift via text message, as well.

Gift-ee Is Not On Facebook

Not a problem.  Here are some other online gift giving ideas to keep the spirit alive throughout the year.

4.  Send an e-cardhappy-one-few-people-birthday-ecard-someecards

Using Someecards is a quick, fun and free way to send some love and attention to someone special or to your Twitter followers or LinkedIn connections.

You can use some of the humorous ones already created by others, or best to customize your own to fit the specific occasion, the person or your business.

5.  Use iCards

If you think your gift-ee would as well, iCards may be the way to go.  It is a simple online gift card service.  Select a gift card design, add a personalized message and the amount.  You have the option of emailing the gift card or delivering it in person.  The  recipient selects the retailer or multiple retailers in order to redeem your gift card.

6.  SendOutCards

SendOutCards is a blend of the old and new.  You select your card, personalize it with your message and SendOutCards, prints, stuffs, seals and delivers through the old fashioned post. It also has gifts, calendars, etc. as part of its product offerings.

You can use this card and gift service for the Holidays, for celebrations or to create on-going marketing campaigns. Once you plug in the information, it will be happy to send you periodic reminders.

7.  Go Local

This isn’t an online resource, but I think it is an important option to consider.  Every town has a special “something” – a famous steak place, the best ice cream parlor, the best place for pink lemonade.  Pick up a gift card from your community’s special place or order it the old fashion way – over the phone.  This probably won’t work for those customers online, but it should be great for the local small business owner.

Keeping your gift giving local sends a strong message about you as a business person in your community and your ‘special place’ will certainly appreciate the additional business.  This is a win-win-win marketing strategy.

There are many more online gift resources to consider.  But these few ideas should get you to think about how you can extend the spirit of the Holiday Season into your marketing strategy.

Your Turn:  What are some online resources you use?  Do you think online gifting will work as a marketing tactic?  Do you try to keep the Holiday spirit through out the year or is this just an old fashioned idea?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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