3 Ways to Find Gift Certificate Templates

Posted on April 4, 2011 by

Gift Certificate Factory provides gift certificate templates that you can print and sell to your customers. Check out our gift certificate template gallery.

Google Images

Google’s “advanced image search” allows you to limit by size, color, and other parameters. A little-known feature is the power to search only for certain content types: for example “photo content”. So you might want to use the “ advanced image search – http://images.google.com/advanced_image_search?hl=en ” to restrict parameters. For example:

  • Find results related to all of the words: spa gift certificate template
  • Return images that contain: photo content
  • Return images that are: Larger than 2 MP (to filter out low quality pictures, especially important if you want to print gift certificates).
  • Return images with an aspect ratio that is: Wide (usual format for gift certificates)
  • Return only images in: full colors (no black and white certificates)
  • Return images that are: labeled for commercial reuse with modifications

The problem is, there are actually few certificates (if any) that match all these criteria. The license criteria is the most restrictive: you might want to search without this criteria enabled and talk with the owner of these images if it’s okay to use his gift certificate.

Flickr search

Flickr is another very popular image database. There are literally millions of pictures, and a handful of good certificate designs. Here again you would gain by using Flickr advanced search – http://www.flickr.com/search/advanced/ to restrict a few criteria. Most importantly, specify “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content” at the bottom of the page. The Creative Commons license – http://creativecommons.org/ is a very liberal license that gives you rights to use the gift certificate template in most usages. You can play with other parameters and different keywords such as “gift certificate template”, “printable gift certificate” or “custom gift certificate” for example. You can also look into our post Gift Certificate Forms or Gift Certificate Templates, to give you an idea of other vocabulary to use.

Gift certificate templates on the web

You can also search on Google for website providing gift certificate templates. Typing “gift certificate templates” in google – http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&q=gift+certificate+templates would give you a list of such websites. Gift Certificate Factory is one of these and provides quality gift certificates for your business that you can easily customize and print. Check out our gift certificate template gallery and see for yourself. These templates are not for free but provide a good return for investment. However, if you want to find free gift certificate templates, you can also find that easily on Google. Just be warned that the quality of these templates might be subpar. In other terms, you could send a negative signal to your customers by displaying low-quality gift certificates in your store.


Choosing the Right Gift Certificate Wording

Posted on April 2, 2011 by

Gift Certificate Factory provides gift certificate templates that you can print and sell to your customers. Check out our gift certificate template gallery.

If you’re making your own gift certificate and you want to give it or sell it to your customer, you need to carefully choose your wording. First, you need to know there are usually conditions attached to a certificate. None of it is mandatory, however it can be helpful to protect yourself against potential abuse from customers, and to limit applicability of your gift certificate.

Standard information to include in a gift certificate

  • name of your company
  • recipient’s name
  • purchaser’s name
  • certificate value (in dollars)
  • personal message
  • certificate serial number: this will help you to keep track of gift certificates, and making sure customers are not reprinting gift certificates for their profit.
  • business contact: your business address, website, email

Let’s go over a few conditions you might want to mention at the bottom (in small print) of the certificate.

Legal mentions to include in a gift certificate

  • restriction for a certain type of service/product: if you want to offer a gift certificate for a specific service, mention “valid only for service X” or “to be used towards the purchase of X”.
  • no cash value. This will protect you against customers willing to redeem the certificate for cash (people will try to do that!). Mention “no cash value” or “not redeemable for cash” on the certificate.
  • non-transferability: if you want the gift certificate to be redeemed only by the person whose name is mentioned on the certificate, mention “non-transferrable” on the certificate.
  • certificate expiration: this might not be legal in your state/country. Check your legal regulations or an attorney for this. If it is legal, you might want to include a certificate expiration date, to avoid having gift certificates out in the open for years. One year from now is a good default. Mention “expiration date: 2012-03-17?.

How to choose wording for a personal message

A personal message will vary substantially from one relationship to another. If the gift certificate is from a father to a son, the message tone and content will be very different compared to a corporate gift certificate. Here you can follow your inspiration, but we can give a few guidelines:

  • be precise: you can specify for what reason you’re giving this gift certificate. If you’re selling a gift certificate it might not be applicable but if you’re giving it, there is probably a reason. Tell your customer why you’re giving it.
  • use the right tone: it is important to know who you’re giving this certificate to. If you’re giving it to a customer, you’re not going to use the same language and vocabulary as if you give it to a loved one. Be professional or informal according to the occasion.

6 Top Reasons To Use Gift Certificate Templates

Posted on March 30, 2011 by

If you want to make your own gift certificate, you have the choice between 2 options:

  • using a template
  • making a gift certificate from scratch
  1. Save money

    You may have to pay for the templates, but spending a few dollars for a professional gift certificate template is still way cheaper than hiring a designer. You will save big bucks by using a template. Yes, you might do it yourself, but except if you have great design skills, this might not be the best use of your time. That brings us to the second point.

  2. Save time

    Using a gift certificate template will get you a printed gift certificate in a matter of minutes. Compare that with using Photoshop or another design software if you want to make a gift certificate from scratch. Except if you have great design skills, you will spend multiple hours getting a good theme matching your business, aligning things together, and making sure everything looks all right. Even if you have good design skills, the quality of the certificate will probably still be inferior to a professional gift certificate design.

  3. Customize it easily

    You can customize additional information by simply pointing, clicking and typing. It should not take you more than a minute to fill entirely a gift certificate form. Plus, if you want to print several gift certificates, you can easily change specific information for each certificate (for example, recipient’s name and purchaser’s name).

  4. No software to install

    One big advantage of using a website hosting gift certificate templates is that you don’t have anything to install or configure. Just go to the website, select a template, customize it and print it. No software to download, no complicated menus to navigate, no problems to choose fonts… All these problems have already been thought of and taken care of. Relax and focus on getting the gift certificate of your choice printed.

  5. Ready to Print

    The only things you need is paper and ink for your printer. Well, actually, it’s not even necessary. You could even save the gift certificate as a PDF file on your computer or a USB key, and bring it to the local printer shop. They will take care of the printing and you’ll have a professional gift certificate on quality paper that your customers could not help but notice in your shop.

  6. Branding: match the gift certificate with your business

    It’s important for your branding that the gift certificate matches what your business does, or alternatively, that it matches the occasion: so for your spa gift certificate, you might want a spa themed gift certificate. If you’re selling gift certificate for valentine’s day, then you might want a valentine’s day gift certificate. When selecting a gift certificate template online, make sure that the theme of the gift certificate is a good match. Fortunately, template sites have a wide selection of templates, so you should find what you’re looking for!

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Gift Certificate Forms Or Gift Certificate Templates: A Question of Vocabulary

Posted on March 28, 2011 by

Since starting in the world of gift certificates, it puzzled me how there seemed to be so many words to describe essentially the same thing.

Gift certificate VS gift card

“gift certificate” is identical to “gift voucher” and while it refers to a different concept than “gift card”, people seem to use all these expressions to describe the same thing:

  • a gift certificate (aka gift voucher) is “a voucher entitling the bearer to a free product or service, intended to be purchased as a gift” http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gift_certificate – http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gift_certificate
  • a gift card is “a restricted monetary equivalent or scrip that is issued by retailers or banks to be used as an alternative to a non-monetary gift.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gift_card – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gift_card

gift certificate form VS gift certificate template

To describe what is generally accepted as “gift certificate template”, people use the following terms:

  • gift certificate form
  • gift certificate format
  • gift certificate template

Even though it seems these terms are used interchangeably on the internet, they are slightly different. It comes down to the basic difference between a template and a form:

  • a template is the skeleton of a document. In the case of a gift certificate, the template refers to the document containing a background picture, some headers, and maybe some field names (like ‘recipient’s name’, ‘message’).
  • a form is a document that is filled by the user. So the user takes the template and fill it as a form, adding information as he goes. So he might write the name of his company(“Glastonbury Massages”), the name of the recipient (“Joe”), the certificate value (“$50?) and other information.

Gift Certificate Factory provides gift certificate templates that you can print and sell to your customers. Check out our gift certificate template gallery.


Instant Gift Certificates: Select, Personalize and Print

Posted on March 26, 2011 by

What is an instant gift certificate?

An instant gift certificate is an already designed gift certificate that you can find online, edit it yourself with the information of your choice, and having it printed in a matter of minutes. There are a number of websites providing online instant gift certificates. We’ll take for example this website, Gift Certificate Factory. The process goes in three steps:

  1. Select a template
  2. Personalize it
  3. Print it

Step 1: Select a gift certificate template

Websites providing instant gift certificates have a gallery of templates to choose from. These templates are grouped by occasion or category. So for example you have holiday gift certificate templates, christmas gift certificate templates, massage gift certificate template or golf gift certificate templates. You have a wide selection of templates to choose from, so you can take the time to browse several templates for the occasion you want.

Step 2: personalize it

Now that you have selected a gift certificate template, comes the time to personalize it. You can specify the name of your company, the recipient’s name, the purchaser’s name and gift certificate number, to help you track your gift certificates. On some templates you can also specify additional information, such as terms and conditions, your company’s address and website etc. The interface provided is very simple, you just have to point and click, and type the text you want to be on the gift certificate. Now that your gift certificate is personalized, it’s time to print it.

Step 3: Print it

At this point, you could also download the gift certificate on your computer if you want to archive it or print later. However, you can also just print it now. There’s a built-in print functionality on the website, so that you can just click on it, configure your print preferences (such as paper type) and off you go! Just make sure you have enough paper and ink. You may want to use a sharp paper cutter or alternatively, scissors to cut the paper.


How To Make Your Own Printable Gift Certificate

Posted on March 24, 2011 by

You’ve decided to make your own printable gift certificate for your small business. Congratulations! You are joining a growing trend: last year, more than 23 billions of dollars worth of gift cards have been sold in the United States.

Before we get started on how to make your own printable gift certificate, keep in mind that quality will play a very big role in convincing customers to buy it for their friends or relatives. They should be proud of their gift! That means that the better your gift certificate quality, the more you will sell. Concretely, that means you should have design skills if you want to do it yourself. Alternatively, you may want to check Gift Certificate Factory for professional gift certificate templates, or if you are willing to spend more money, you could hire a designer to do it. In that case, budget for a few hundred dollars to have the gift certificate customized to your business.

Choose gift certificate wording

You should at least write the following information on the gift certificate:

  • name of your company
  • recipient’s name: the person receiving the gift certificate
  • gift certificate value (in dollars or different currency) or service provided
  • a unique serial number identifying the gift certificate

You can have the following optional information:

  • logo of your business: that adds a nice professional touch
  • details of your business (address, website): purely optional
  • purchaser’s name (likely, the person who will buy the gift certificate)
  • signature (making sure the gift certificate has not been duplicated)
  • any other information you find relevant to a gift certificate

Gift certificate format

You can have your own format of course, but the most common format is 8? X 4? (inches). You can use standard 8? X 11? (inches) paper or custom paper. Make sure you use good quality paper, as it will make a big difference in how your customers will perceive the value of the gift certificate. Remember, this is a gift, so it has to look neat. You need to make the customer buying the gift certificate proud of buying it. Similarly, use a good printer or if you don’t have one, use the services of a professional printer. It will cost you a few dollars but it will certainly be worth it.

How to design your gift certificate

You can browse for pictures matching your business (if you make a spa gift certificate, look for “spa pictures” online) or you can use ready-made templates for your software of choice (Microsoft Word has some templates for gift certificates for example).

Additional considerations when making your own gift certificate

You will need to keep track of gift certificates to make sure people can’t fraud, which would be very costly to your business. To get the most out of your gift certificates, you might consider to read our article on how to sell more gift certificates.

Gift Certificate Factory provides gift certificate templates that you can print and sell to your customers. Check out our gift certificate template gallery.


How To Make a Custom Gift Certificate Online

Posted on March 24, 2011 by

When making a custom gift certificate (also called gift voucher), you can either make it online or make it using the software of your choice (for example Microsoft Word).

If you’re using a generic software for this task, you only have a limited number of templates, which might or might not be suited to your business. It also requires you to own a copy of the software, and it is more complicated than editing online gift vouchers. For any of these reasons, it might be worth it to make a custom gift certificate online.

There are several advantages of using online custom gift certificates: simplicity, greater choice and better quality for designs. Websites providing gift certificate templates specialize in helping you making printable gift certificates, so take a chance to use them!

In this example, we’re going to use Gift Certificate Factory, which provides quality gift certificate designs for small businesses.

  1. go to giftcertificatefactory.com
  2. click on the ‘templates’ button: this will take you to the template gallery, showing you a wide selection of gift certificate templates.
  3. Select a template that you like – you can restrict the template view by category, for example if you search for birthday gift certificate templates, select “birthday”
  4. Now you can edit the template with the information you want – depending on the template, you can edit different information. You can always edit the name of your company, the recipient’s name and the gift voucher value. On some templates you can also add a personal message, the giver’s name, and your business details (address, website…)
  5. If you’re not happy with the way the template looks, you can always go back to the template gallery and select another template.
  6. When you’re done with your editing, you have to buy the template. You will then be redirected to the payment website to pay and provide your details.
  7. When payment is done, you’ll be redirected automatically to the template you were editing.
  8. At this point, you can still edit the template.
  9. You can then print or download the template directly from this page.
  10. If you want to print the gift voucher later, or you want to save it for reference, download the template. It will be stored on your computer as a PDF file.
  11. You’ll have unlimited access to this template for 24 hours – so if you need multiple versions of this template, make sure to download the template multiple times – that is, as many times as you need versions.

We detailed the process as much as we could – so you see, it’s not hard to make a custom gift certificate online!


Tracking Gift Certificates For Your Small Business

Posted on March 22, 2011 by

Why you should keep track of gift certificates

If you’re planning to sell gift certificates for your small business, you need to think about tracking gift certificates (and if you’re not planning to, you should check our article on 6 Reasons Your Small Business Should Sell Gift Certificates).

If you’re a small business, chances are you don’t have an integrated gift card solution which can be quite costly. So, if you offer gift certificates to your customers, you need a way to track them. Let’s see why this is necessary:

  • you must prevent customers from frauding by reprinting a gift certificate, hence making your business lose money.
  • if you allow customers to redeem a partial amount of the gift certificate value, you need to know which amount is still available to redeem.
  • you also need to find out which gift certificates have been redeemed, if you want to evaluate the performance of your gift certificate program.
  • you may also be interested in getting more fine-grained knowledge about the gift certificate: when it was sold, which promotion it was part of, etc…

Gift certificate numbers

You need every gift certificate to have a unique, random certificate number. Indeed, to be able to identify a gift certificate, its serial number needs to be unique. A random number is also important in that it disallows people from reprinting a gift certificate and using a text formatting program, to change its serial number to make it look like a valid new one. Actually, in order to lessen the possibility of people guessing a valid code, you can also incorporate letters and other special characters in the serial number.

How to generate gift certificate codes and keep them in a gift certificate log

You can either use a random code generator software or generate the codes yourself. In any case, make sure you hold a registry of current gift certificates in use (also called gift certificate log). You can use Microsoft Excel or any spreadsheet program to keep this log. You need to make sure that customers cannot see such a list, as you don’t want to them to know valid gift certificate numbers. In this file, you may want to specify certificate serial number, issuing date, gift certificate value, redeemed amount, and any other information you find valuable to track, such as what promotion the gift certificate is part of, whether it was sold or given to the customer, etc…

This was a small introduction to help you start tracking gift certificates. Gift Certificate Factory provides gift certificate templates that you can print and sell to your customers.


How To Sell More Gift Certificates

Posted on March 20, 2011 by

THE most important rule: beautiful gift certificate design

A good gift certificate design that is relevant to your business is very important to sell more gift certificates. People would be reluctant to buy a mediocre gift certificate to give to their friends or relatives. So one option would be to shell out a few hundred dollars on a good designer to create attractive gift certificates. If you cannot afford to spend that amount of money, or if you just want to test how well gift certificates would boost your business sales, consider buying some high quality templates from websites providing premium gift certificate templates.

Your gift certificates should be highly visible

Have you noticed how big stores always display gift certificates in premium locations? They’re always located close to checkout, so that each and every customer will notice them, and might be tempted to buy it. You should do the same: choose a prominent location in your store and display your gift certificates there. You need to setup such a location so that customers can not walk in and just pass through them without seeing them. You can experiment with different locations and different positioning and see what works best.
Another trick to make people notice it is to place some signage wherever appropriate: in a corner of your shop, or on your store window, say “We Have Gift Certificates” or “Gift Certificates Available”.

Gift certificate presentation matters

You can also make gift certificates more desirable by providing attractive gift certificate presenters, such as envelopers or gift boxes. You could even go more creative and create custom velvet bags. This will go a long way in convincing customers a gift certificate would make a great gift for their friends or relatives.

Ask people if they need it

A great selling tip is to ask customers if they’d like to buy a gift certificate while you’re processing their purchase. Don’t be afraid to ask for the business. You’ll generate more sales doing it.

Setup a direct mail marketing program

Send out a mailing to your customer base or a list of people who live in a 10 mile area around your business. Include a gift certificate in the mailing. Yes, you will have to offer some of your services for free, but you will get more customers and you will get to sell more gift certificates to them.

Remind people of gift occasions

It’s not only about Christmas and birthdays. Mother’s and Father’s day, Graduation, Wedding, Thank you Gifts are all occasions for which people might be enticed to buy gift certificates. Create flyers for each occasion and do offer different gift certificate themes with appropriate designs: a snowy countryside for Christmas, a wedding theme for wedding gift certificates, a graduation theme for graduation gift certificates etc…

Gift Certificate Factory provides gift certificate templates that you can print and sell to your customers. Check out our gift certificate template gallery.


6 Reasons Your Small Business Should Sell Gift Certificates

Posted on March 17, 2011 by

There is a growing trend of people wanting to give gift certificates. Last year, businesses sold 23 billions worth of gift cards in the United States alone. What about your business? Have you sold any? If you don’t yet offer gift certificates for your customers, you may be missing out on very profitable sales opportunities.

  1. Opportunity to make more sales

    Big chains make billions of dollars every year by selling gift certificates. The good news is, small businesses can also benefit from selling gift certificates. Indeed, by selling gift certificates, you will add a new sales channel, and this could boost your sales significantly. Massage therapists, spa centers or dance schools would benefit from it. But so would martial art schools, wedding stores, restaurants and countless other businesses.

  2. Getting referred to new potential customers

    The best part of a gift certificate is that, in addition of being a gift to the recipient, it’s also a gift for your business. It allows your business to get referred to by a friend or relative of a potential customer, for free. Actually you are getting paid for it. That means that you could get new customers that you would not have been able to reach otherwise. The person buying the gift certificate is actually vouching for your business, basically stating they trust your business to provide quality products and services.

  3. Helping customers to find a gift

    As you may already have noticed, people are often at a loss to find gifts for their friends and relatives. If you can help your customers in finding a suitable gift, they will be happy that you relieved them of the stress of having to think too much. In that respect, a gift certificate is perfect, as it already says it is intended to be a gift. So the customer doesn’t have to think too much about whether this would make a good gift or not. This is especially true for service businesses, since then people don’t have the hassle to find out whether the person already owns a given product.

  4. Free marketing tool

    A gift certificate program has a powerful marketing power. It allows people that trust your brand to promote it to their friends. This is very beneficial for your branding, generating positive word-of-mouth around town. This is one of the best ways you could use marketing to push your business forward. And as we noted it earlier but it is worth repeating, it is not only free but you’re getting paid for it.

  5. Giving gift certificates to show appreciation to your loyal customers

    In addition of selling gift certificates, you can also use gift certificates to reward loyal customers. By giving gift certificates to loyal customers, you’re telling them that they’re important to you and that you want to show it to them. This will increase their loyalty to your business, making it more likely for them to come back for more, and referring your business to their friends.

  6. Giving gift certificates to fix a mistake

    If you make a mistake in your business towards a customer and you want to say that you’re sorry, you could give a gift certificate to show that you really mean they’re important to you. This will also improve customer loyalty, and people will tell their friends how great and helpful your business is.

Gift Certificate Factory provides gift certificate templates that you can print and sell to your customers.