The season between Thanksgiving and New Year's is a financial joy for many businesses, especially retailers, CPG companies, and luxury service providers. But for businesses whose product line or services don't exactly lend themselves to gifting, there may be a sense of FOMO about not being able to capitalize on the holiday season and experience the cash infusion that many other businesses enjoy at the end of the year.
Even if one's product or service isn't traditionally something that would occur to a consumer as being a holiday gift, there are things you can do to shift mindsets and help people see your product as a gift. You can reach the people who would be purchasing your product as a gift, even if they are far outside of your usual customer base, and nudge your customers to ask for the giftable version of your product. Most crucially, you can tap your referral marketing ambassadors to help with any holiday promotion you run.
Thinking about Your Niche-- Who Wants Your Product this December?
Whether you sell car parts, online courses, or accounting services, there is a core group of people out there who are delighted by your offerings. After all, isn't that why you started your business in the first place, to deliver delight to the people who want what you've got?
Spend time brainstorming: who would see my product or service as a gift? If this is a challenging exercise, make it even simpler: who would love to receive your product or service for free? If there is a Reddit thread for what you do, there is a cluster of people who would be happy to receive your work gift-wrapped, if possible.
Then, reverse-engineer: who would be buying that person a gift? How do you reach the gift-giver? What search terms would that gift giver be using?
Package Your Offerings as a Gift
Think about the customary price point for a holiday gift for your target customer. Odds are good that your target customer would receive a gift in the $50 - $150 price range. If your price point is far below $50--or not enough to qualify for free shipping--you may want to bundle your offerings to hit that $50 price point to trigger free shipping.
If you sell 12-month subscriptions, it might be challenging to sell a four-figure subscription or a subscription with recurring payments that requires a card on file as a gift. Can you package your service or access to your digital products with a flat fee, one-time payment for a shorter membership period?
It's likely there is an entire customer bucket of people who really want to work with you but are slightly priced out of doing so. Selling them a taste of your offerings is an opportunity to demonstrate your value and help them convert to full-fledged customers at the end of the gift subscription period.
Merchandising Your Product as a Gift
There are simple adjustments you can make to your website/ e-commerce platform to cue visitors to your website that your product or service is available for gifting.
First, create an announcement bar on your homepage: "Order by X date for holiday 2022 gifts!"
Create a page on your website specifically around framing your product as a gift. Change up the design and look and feel of how you visually merchandise your product or digital offerings-- make it upscale and festive for the gift-giver. When you build this page on your website, make sure to write some SEO metadata that uses the terms "gift," "holiday gift," or "gift subscription." Choose the terms that are most appropriate for your business to get that SEO boost.
In your checkout process, add a question, "Is this a gift?" and allow customers to write a gift note.
If your payment system allows this, capture the email addresses of both the gift giver and the recipient. You can create a separate newsletter campaign for gift recipients; after the holiday season, you can kick off a drip campaign acknowledging that they have received your product as a gift. You can create ways to engage them: do they want to schedule a time to speak to a client service rep? Would they like to share feedback?
Pursuing Quirky Publicity
If your product or service falls under a category that is not a typical holiday gift or not something typically gifted, packaging your product as a gift sets you apart. Reach out to the online magazines, blogs, and trade publications that cover your industry with a quirky pitch or statement, acknowledging that "while our product isn't the most hotly-anticipated holiday gift, we nevertheless packaged it for gift-giving, because we know how passionate some people are about enjoying best-in-class products/ services in our industry." Or, write a pitch that acknowledges that trying out a short-term, fixed-length gift subscription is a steal: "Typically, our product is an enterprise solution, but we want to allow hard-working entrepreneurs and business owners to treat themselves this holiday season and try a taste of our product."
Your pitch to the reporter or editor could even be tongue-in-cheek: "While our industry isn't known for its gift guides, would you be interested in writing about the uniqueness of the fact that we are marketing our product as a holiday gift?" If you're a service provider or a software company, you can acknowledge that this is an opportunity for your customer to enjoy a brief, fixed-length trial of your service while assessing fit. How many of your competitors are taking this approach to new customer acquisition?
Inspiring Your Ambassadors to Get in the Holiday Spirit
Driving the gifting of your product is the optimal time to engage your referral marketing community. You can create social media collateral for your ambassadors to share on social media that promotes your product or service as a holiday gift, especially if your product is an unusual holiday gift.
If you've been playing with the idea of gamifying your relationship marketing program, an end-of-year push for holiday sales could be the perfect time to do it. Because your referral marketing ambassadors are compensated based on their own referral sales volume, everyone has the incentive to see that your business has a strong holiday sales season.