Marketing Gift Certificates For a Small Business

Posted on April 10, 2011 by

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Gift certificates are on the rise. More and more small businesses realize the opportunity lying in front of them and decide to offer gift certificates. They are a great way to make more sales and increase customer loyalty for your business. To maximize their value, it is worth considering how to successfully execute gift certificate marketing.

Gift certificate marketing objectives

Your gift certificate marketing strategy should target the following objectives:

  • Communicating the fact that gift certificates are available and are a popular and desirable gift
  • Conveying the relevance, variety and quality of the gift certificate- offer upsells such as metal tins, boxes and die-cut envelopes
  • Reinforcing the “convenience” benefit of purchasing gift certificates
  • Building awareness of your gift certificate program through inclusion of certificates in print, direct mail, e-mail, online, and other advertising opportunities

Gift certificate marketing ideas

  • Trigger impulse purchases

    You should place all gift certificate designs on a highly visible, easily accessible, well-organized page on your website, as well as on your confirmations and receipts, which will appeal to impulse purchasers. Big stores all have their gift cards at that location, that’s because it works.

  • Use Personalized gift certificates

    Gift certificates are usually given for special occasions: birthday, christmas, graduation etc. Make sure that you have a wide array of gift certificates so that you can accommodate all gifting desires. Having unique designs and personalization options like a space to write a personal message helps. You can also have designs that fit with corporate customers, so that you don’t miss potential sales.

  • Network with similar small businesses

    A very effective way to market your gift certificates is to partner with another local business. The way it works is that you offer gift certificates for the other business, and they would do the same. It works better if your businesses are somehow related, or could attract the same category of customers.

  • Use a psychological weapon: reciprocal agreement

    Reciprocal agreement is a widely used sales technique meaning that you first give an item to somebody. The sense of reciprocation, deeply rooted in human social behavior, makes the customer want to give something back. You could offer a gift certificate of small value to a person visiting your shop for the first time. Reciprocal agreement kicks in and you have turned a visitor into a customer, likely along with a juicy purchase.

  • Use another psychological weapon: liking

    Liking means that we are more sensitive to people we like, like our friends, and so we value more advice or opinion coming from them than coming from a stranger. This is also a widely used sales technique. For example, at checkout time, you could offer a gift certificate to a customer and to his best friend (if that still makes economic sense to you). That will act as a referral and you’ve secured a new customer, your customer’s best friend.


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