How to Use Discount Gift Cards In Your Marketing
Is there a way to delight your customers and grow your revenue simultaneously? Yes. It’s called gift cards marketing.
Those eye-catching gift certificates and retail discount gift cards have been around for several decades. And there’s a good reason for that: they still work amazingly well.
Why Gift Cards Work
Customers love a good freebie or a discount. So much so that they are becoming the preferred gift option for both purchasers and receivers. In fact, gift cards have been the number one top item on holiday wish lists for 9 (!!!) years in a row. 60% of consumers prefer prepaid gift cards over gifts such as clothing, electronics and others.
For businesses, discount gift cards also present a huge engine for growth. According to First Data’s 2018 Prepaid Consumer Insights Study, on average shoppers tend to spend $59 more then original value of their gift card – that is $21 more than just a year ago.
And here are some more juicy gift card stats that businesses should pay attention to:
- The lift in spending was particularly high for gift cards used for dining, fast-casual restaurants and drug stores.
- The average consumer spends 55% of their annual gifting budget on gift certificates and gift cards.
- 33% of buyers will spend more cash on a gift card than they would on a traditional gift.
The bottom line: gift cards are remaining in vogue. And if you are still wondering whether they are right for your business, consider the additional benefits listed below.
4 Big Benefits of Using Gift Cards and Gift Certificates
For consumers the benefits are clear. But what’s in it for you as a business? Should you really invest in special discounts and gift certificates? Yes, as the benefits are rather solid.
1. Increased Brand Awareness
People usually carry gift cards in their wallets and store gift certificates at a visible spot at home. So that they can just grab and use it when they have the need. For you as a business, that means extra exposure as your logo and brand name are on prominent display.
Additionally, people may have never heard of your business. But, when given a gift card, they’ll come to you for the first time, receive a great customer experience and perhaps even become loyal customers too. That is if your customer retention mechanisms are working alright.
On the other hand, people who may have not visited your business for a while, can get your discount gift card and return to you once again. So here’s another great retention opportunity for you.
2. Boost Customer Loyalty
Discount gift cards are a quick opportunity to make things right with a customer who did not receive the treatment they expected. Perhaps the shipping was too long, or the service wasn’t excellent. In any case, a gift card can make things better and help you avoid losing the person’s business.
3. Make an Immediate Sale
The particular allure of gift cards is that you are immediately earning some money no matter whether the gift card recipient will choose to use their card/discount or not. In fact, over $1 billion worth of gift cards is left unspent each year by shoppers. So that’s definitely a win for you.
Some customers may also choose to spend only part of the sum placed on their card, or, as mentioned already, end up buying more from you. No matter how you turn it, gift cards can generate some positive cash flow for your business.
4. Gift Cards are an Additional Communication Channel
Gift cards help you obtain some valuable information about your customers such as their email address, full name, birth date etc. that you can later employ to offer a more personalized shopping experience.
As well, gift cards act as an easy avenue for attracting more people to your email list, so that you can pitch them more special offers and updates later on. This can help you improve your traffic and sales numbers.
Now feeling, convinced that all-things gift really work? Great! In that case, grab some free gift certificates from us and start using them in your marketing. We have several actionable strategies lined up below.
Gift Card Promotion Ideas for Businesses
Applying the “spray and pray” approach to gift cards marketing will hardly bring you the results mentioned above. You will need to be a bit more tactical and work count discount gift cards caps, terms and conditions and distribution strategies that are really benefiting your business (and the customers as well!).
Below are several gift card promotion ideas and marketing strategies to make that happen.
1. Distribute Gift Cards and Certificates Through Multiple Channels
People should know that getting a gift card is easy from you. If you are a brick-and-mortar business, don’t just limit yourself to selling those at the counter. Instead, choose a mix of distribution channels to pursue. The good options are:
- Social Media: Promote your gift offerings regularly on all the main channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), especially during the holiday season. Use branded hashtags and more general ones like #giftcard #freebie etc to increase your post reach. Also, to boost your followers’ count and engagement on a certain platform (e.g. Instagram), you can host gift card giveaways or competitions. In case with the latter, you can ask your followers to post pictures from your venue, or share their products, to get a chance of winning a discount gift card.
- Email: Don’t forget to drop a quick line about your gift cards in your email newsletter. You can also create segmented campaigns for past and current gift card holders to encourage further spending.
- Mobile app: If you have a loyalty app, use it to proactively update your customers about their pending gift credit, its expiration date and relevant promos.
2. Give Discount Gift Cards for Referrals
Referral marketing can be a powerful avenue for attracting paying customers to your business. Here are some stats showing just how important it is:
- Referral marketing has 3-5x higher conversion rates than any other marketing channel.
- Offering a reward significantly increases the referral likelihood, but the size of the reward does not really matter.
- 39% of consumers say that incentives such as gift cards, discounts or other freebies increase their chances of referring a brand.
Finally, according to the Wharton School of Business, referred customers will have a 25% higher lifetime value over others and they are 18% less likely to churn.
Create a tiered referral strategy offering a gift card or a gift certificate to your brand’s most loyal ambassador. For instance, you can offer $50 credit for 5 successful referrals. Or increase their gift card discount size by X% every time they hit a new goal.
3. Send Out Gift Cards to Reactivate Dormant Customers
Typically, any business caters towards several distinctive groups of customers:
- The Loyal Shoppers – people who started buying from you a long time ago and continue to do so up till today.
- The Dormant Customers – people who engaged with your business a long time ago and are still on your email list. But they did not shop from your business for some time.
- The Lurkers – indecisive shoppers who have signed up for your email list, and perhaps even added some goods to the basket but never actually bought anything from you.
Discount gift cards can be effectively used to convert those last two types of customers. For example, you can set up a low-value bulk gift cards email marketing campaign to specifically target those segments.
Picture this: a person who has never purchased from you receives a $10 discount gift card from your business as a quick reminder of your existence. A lot will actually feel compelled to reciprocate in some way – at least browse your offerings and perhaps even consider buying something.
And remember, as data indicates most shoppers end up spending more than the value of a gift card. So you will definitely be turning in some extra profit.
4. Leverage Gift Cards to Collect More Data and Improve Personalization
Gift card buying patterns can actually tell you a lot about why and when your customers are most likely to shop for these. Gift card purchases are rampant around the holiday season, but a lot of people also grab those at other times.
By adding a quick field to your gift card purchase form – something along the lines of “Please specify for which occasion in this card” – can help you collect more insight about the important event in your customers’ lives and their typical shopping patterns.
Here’s a quick example to illustrate this point: Jane purchases a digital gift certificate at your massage parlor and sends it via email to her aunt Jossy on May 7th. Next year, you can retarget Jane with a quick email reminding her of aunt Jossy’s upcoming birthday and offering another discount/gift card. Or you can send an email to Jossy and remind her of what a great experience she had last time, and incentivize her to visit again.
This way you can offer a more personalized experience to your customers to foster repeat business. And if you are ready to invest in some advanced tools and analytics for tracking customer purchases with e-gift cards, the tradeoffs can be incredibly massive.
Take Sephora for example. The beauty retailer runs a personalized gift card experience program across all of its channels, including its website, mobile and in-store. And their efforts pay off. The company has seen an 8x YoY digital gift card revenue growth and a 71% lift in average in-store cart size over initial digital gift card value.
Ultimately, gift cards are a handy and versatile marketing tool for businesses within any niche. They can help you boost your brand awareness, increase marketing profits both directly and indirectly and increase customer loyalty and engagement. All you need to do is devise the right gift card strategy for your business and start applying it today!
And if you need to get an eye-catching gift certificate for your brand, we have plenty of good options available for free!
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok