That is the question I see asked in web design communities across the interwebs: Should I send my clients a gift during the holidays?
Here is my perfect answer: it’s up to you.
For me, as I get towards the December season, my wallet faces a lot of competition: charitable giving, gifts for family and friends, holiday food, drink and decor (I like a big tree and lots of poinsettia’s, no apologies), school fees due in January, taxes on the horizon, etc etc etc. So when I think of another expense AND the abhorrent thought of going to the post office, it gives me pause.
Over the years I have both sent gifts and not, and I can’t say that either one was particularly met with overwhelming positives or negatives, but, on the pro side:
- It is a very nice way to gently touch base with your clients. It lets them know that you are thinking of them and appreciate their business.
- It pulls you out of the perception of “freelancer” into a proper business category.
- You can write off gifts as a business expense.
- When you consider that you can probably get something thoughtful and nice for $20 per client and you have been paid thousands, it’s really not that much of an expense.
Some things I have done in the past:
- Trade. One year I did a website for a woman who owns a bakery and does mail order shipments. I bartered cookies for time and she sent out all my gifts. This ticked a lot of boxes for me: I skipped the post office and didn’t have an out of pocket expense.
- I sent everyone 1lb bags of coffee from a local friend owned company (Jim’s Organic Coffee) they have a holiday blend and the proceeds go to an elementary school in South America. I had them print out a little story about the school to let them know about the donation and explain the holiday blend. By the time I bought the boxes, the tissue for the inside and went to the post office I had doubled the cost of the coffee.
- I did a bulk order of car phone chargers and sent them out with a little card. Very inexpensive, but I ordered at least 100, and I think I needed to send out 20 – anyone needs a charger, send me a note 🙂
If you are going to gift:
- I would avoid giving something that is branded with your logo. Maybe it’s fine, use your judgement. If you are going to give away coffee cups with your name on them, I would say send those after your launch a website, not during the holidays.
- Consider giving your time. A gift certificate for an hour of your time, or make them holiday banners, or offer a workshop for SEO, how to use Canva, MailChimp, be a better blogger, use social media, etc.
- Go back to my idea of trade. The cookie client was a perfect fit, perhaps you have a strategic alignment you could use.
[The Smallest] Jackery Mini 3350mAh Portable Charger – External Battery Pack, Premium Aluminum Power Bank, Portable iPhone Charger for iPhone 7, 6s, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S6 (Black)
Build-On Brick Mug Coffee Cup DIY Type Plastic Creative Building Blocks Coffee Tea Beverage Drinking Funny Gift
editorial comment: The mug idea has been done to death, because it is actually a good idea. This combines the mug with a toy, which could be fun for playful clients.