So you have an excellent steady list of clients, many of them repeat customers, and enough marketing to attract new ones. However, are you missing out on attracting even more new clientele by failing to promote your services as gifts? What makes your services perfect for your clients but not great as a gift?
Obviously, if you have a good answer to that question, this clearly isn’t the article for you. But if you don’t have a compelling reason for NOT promoting your services as gifts, what are you waiting for?
Why Give Services as Gifts?
If you can market your services to clients, you can usually think of several reasons they might decide to give them as gifts. Unless you offer services for the worst times of life – funerals, divorces, non-elective medical care, etc. – the chances are that your services are an enjoyable luxury. Possibly a luxury that people might not ordinarily purchase for themselves.
What better experience can you give as a gift?
In recent years, there has been a steady but continuing trend of giving services and life experiences instead of material gifts. It’s a consequence of being more environmentally conscious – why give something that someone might not want or need? It’s also because people are more inclined to buy things for themselves because only they know what they really want and need.
Consequently, gifting experiences that someone might not have the funds for or would never consider for themselves is an ideal option to give a gift that will linger in the receiver’s mind. Alternatively, the giver might be unsure of the specific tastes of the recipient. In that case, a gift card of a defined amount to spend on whichever service they desire is a better alternative.
Do you provide specialised services that someone would love to receive? Maybe you offer a vast range of services. Either way, you can market your services as gifts all year round, but especially at Christmastime.
Using Old and Existing Clients to Attract New Ones
Your clients are not only your source of income, but they are also your greatest source of new clientele. Even when they have moved away and possibly stopped using your services through changing tastes or seasons of life, they might still hold you in high regard. If you are on social media, you might note that you still have followers who have long moved away and don’t have regular interaction with you, but they still have friends and loved ones near you.
Now you can promote your services as gifts at every available point in your premises, on your website, and on your social media profiles. Your regular and loyal clients need to know that they can gift the services they love most to their loved ones.
If they love you, they are more inclined to recommend you to their friends and family. However, when you promote your services as gift-worthy, you get the opportunity to demonstrate your services to a new audience.
Better than anything, you get paid upfront.
Now, it’s fair to say that you won’t turn all recipients of gift services into regular and loyal clients, but you have a fair chance. While people might not be as willing to make a switch or indulge themselves on a personal recommendation, they might be more receptive to a “free” opportunity to sample your offerings. And you don’t have to offer anything for free.
NB: Do you know how many people receive gift certificates and never use them? This is NOT a reason to offer gift cards, but either way, you still get paid.
Attracting Gift Givers, Not Just Clients
Let’s not forget, people who give gifts might not be clients themselves. Not everyone who considers gifting a pampering session, massage, or gym membership will be clients themselves.
For example, I have long been gone from my home town, but half of my family are still there. Now, since sending gifts can incur vast amounts of import taxes and VAT, I have opted for shopping “locally”, i.e. near to the recipients rather than local to me. Understanding that I have been gone a long time, many local services and experiences have changed, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still gift pleasant experiences.
For Mother’s Day’s I used a gift card to give my mother a pamper day at the local salon. I also did the same for my sister-in-law. I’ve also purchased educational courses, gym memberships, and dance classes that I knew would appeal to my loved ones.
Incentivising the Giving of Service Gift Cards
It might sound counter-intuitive to offer incentives to clients when they purchase a service as a gift, but it has far-reaching opportunities.
Suppose you offer a specific experience gift, do you also provide service or product add-ons that enhance it? For example, would you offer a gift basket of appropriate products to someone having a pampering experience? Maybe a pair of driving gloves to someone on a race day? Perhaps even a video of the session at an escape room?
In cases where gift cards have a specific monetary value, most people like to feel they are giving a little more than what the financial value says. That’s why we all take the prices off the gifts we give. No one likes to think that the value of the gift equates to the value of the relationship.
Add “free” service add-ons to a gift card for a particular service or a little product basket to enhance and extend the experience, reminding the gift recipient how incredible it was. You offer more than a direct trade-off and add value and thought to the gift.
*This is also great for getting them to come back again.
How to Promote Services as Gifts (maybe the ideal gift?)
You might already have the option to purchase gift cards for your clients and customers, but are you marketing them for the most significant uptake?
Don’t just assume that clients know they can purchase your services as gifts for their friends and relations. The same applies to having a small poster by the checkout. It’s not enough to hint at the idea, you need to shout it loud.
That means putting the information at eye level in every natural resting spot in your premises. Promoting on social media is another one. When you post to your followers, you’re able to attract their friends too.
Email marketing can also be an excellent method of letting your people know. Christmas and other gifting periods are ideal times to let frantic gift shoppers know they have an alternative to traditional last-minute purchases. No one is thrilled to get socks and chocolate, no matter how much they might pretend otherwise.
Add Coupons to the Gift Card
Sure, you have already upscaled the total value of the gift with service and product add-ons. But the coupon could be the difference between converting a new loyal client or letting another one get away.
At the same time, offering a coupon to the purchasing client could mean they come back for themselves or add the voucher to the receiver’s gift. Either way, that coupon is an incentive for either the gifter or giftee to come back to you.
Packages & Gift Bundles
You might already offer packages in your everyday services, maybe you don’t, but can you offer special packages as part of a gift bundle?
One fitness or dance class is not much use, but maybe a bundle of four with a basket of accessories might be. For example, your gifting customer might have a friend or spouse who really wants to try yoga but can never seem to afford the classes and accessories all at once. Maybe you can create a “beginner bundle” including appropriate accessories, a coupon for the recommended activewear, and a yoga mat alongside the five classes for the price of four. It’s a single example but one that adds significant value.
Make Your Language Accessible
Your gift customers aren’t necessarily clients themselves. Stay away from any industry jargon and ensure those looking for gifts can easily understand the gift opportunity you are offering. Don’t ever assume that everyone knows what you are talking about because your marketing will fail.
When your gifters know what you are offering, they know what they are giving. If they can’t see the value in the gift, they won’t buy it. It sounds simple, but when you spend so much time dealing with clients that know your services and benefits, it’s easy to forget that people buying a gift perhaps don’t understand.
Use Social Media
I’m not talking about paid advertising here. I’m talking about the power of social interaction and social proof. When you use social media, it is so much easier to actively target the direct contacts of those who follow your page. If your clients follow you, they actively invite you onto their news feed, which means you can target your posts both to your existing clients and those who might have no previous experience with you.
When you promote gift services to your news feed, you can even incentivise their sharing of your post. Entry to a prize draw or an invitation to a VIP party. It’s up to you how you entice your clients to share social posts.
Increase Revenue with Services as Gifts
What’s the takeaway? The fact is that offering services as gifts has the opportunity to expose significantly more people to your business and your services. You don’t have to offer freebie sessions to entice people to try you out, you make people who know you and people who don’t think you will be perfect for their circle for influence.
When people buy service gifts they feel good about themselves. Whether someone purchases a three-month cleaning contract for a friend who has just had a baby or a pamper day for their mother, they feel that they have provided a valuable experience.
There is every chance that the newborn mom will extend the contract (after getting used it) and the mother will start coming back to you.
Services as Gifts = New Clients + Guaranteed Revenue.