In Part One of this series we gave you some good reasons for sending out client thank yous and how to get started. We’re now ready to get into some detail so that you don’t miss anything along the way. Make sure to read through to the bottom! We’ve also provided some case studies to help spark your creative side and envision your end result. Here are some additional things to consider when planning your powerful thank you gift:
- Think about this project paying off long term
- You will incur a cost up front for development, but look at it as an investment
- Have a vision for how much the project will cost
- Give yourself a range in between which you will be comfortable
- Work an element of timeless or the program the ability to refresh the base thank you every year to save time, energy and dollars in subsequent years. This approach will also keep your clients intrigued, engaged, and guessing as to what you’ll come up with next!
For a business owner who has not undertaken this type of custom project before, the lead-time may be surprising. It is important to define all the moving parts of this project ahead of time. Depending on the complexity, the project may include a copywriter, specialty products vendor, embroidery, printer, packaging, assembly, post office mail or other methods of distribution including personal delivery. Each one of these steps involved will have their own timelines and parameters. The best approach is to pick a date for deliver and then work backwards. In some cases, this may push you into next year, but a well-planned project with squishy time is better than being late. Take advantage of project management, whether you assign that task to a vendor or internally. This is a critical step. Brainstorm your vision. Layout the project. List the resources needed for each step and the relationships between component production timelines.
Put Your “Inner Salesman” on Hold
There is one major point to keep in mind: the goal of the thank you should be just that, to say thank you. It is not a forum for introducing your latest product or service. There should not be any sales language or call to action. The package may be interpreted as a promotion so it should not be crafted in a way that is too heavy handed. You can subtly offer a link to an e-newsletter, which would provide information versus a hard sell, or include a free coupon for something of value. Or you may simply have your website printed on the back as a means to reach you.
In polite society, you don’t say thank you for a thank you. However, your clients may be so thrilled with your thank you package that they may call you with feedback. Reactions can be a marketer’s best friend. Listen. Learn. Incorporate what they say into the next thank you reiteration. You can also consider what their words mean, what they like or don’t like about it, log that into a customer relations management (CRM) tool , and use their words to improve everything you do for based on their personal preferences.
Wild Woman Design – Silly Putty
Being in the creativity business, I have high pressure to come up with a thank you that represents the quality and personality of my company’s work product! I give out tins of Silly Putty (picture of the top of the tin). As the Silly Putty is recyclable you can use it over and over again. This attribute fits my passion for social responsibility and conservation of the environment. It is a neat thing and my clients say that they “rediscover it” time and time again, and play with it while they are at their desks.
Client – Food Labeling Company
I have a client that provides food nutrition labels for food companies packaging. They had been talking internally for years about creating a holiday gift to give their clients. The challenge was that the obvious thing – food – was not an option as their clients range from mom and pop outfits to Fortune 100 companies and many are competitors. My client chose an item that was food related, but one that would not offend any of her clients or show favoritism.
Their final decision took the form of cookie cutters packaged nicely with a thank you note and recipe. The package has multiple uses. Attendees get a 4-cookie cutter package as a thank you for participating in educational classes. A five box series was pre-planned as a thank you for client testimonials. Each year my client offers a different shape and recipe with new copy that refreshes the idea while getting a good return on the initial creative and development investment. The crinkle paper in which the cookie cutters are wrapped matches the company’s brand colors. The owner prides herself in finding recipes and received permission to use them. As a fun spin on their business, they analyzed each recipe and put the nutrition label in the cookie cutter box. The owner says that everyone loves them. Clients have given good feedback that can be used in future planning including, “Cute presentation,” “We will be baking cookies with the kids and grand kids,” “It has inspired a family tradition.”
Whatever concept you choose, appreciate the fact that by giving a thank you gift, it is a reflection of you and your company. Gratitude is a good thing.