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With Mother’s Day coming up we thought it would be good to talk some more about Gift Vouchers and how they can help your business in so many ways. If you haven’t already I would recommend reading my blog posts on Improve your cash flow with Gift Vouchers and How to design a Gift Voucher to cover the basics as I won’t be repeating them here. I will be concentrating on how to make them work for you and how they can grow your business. All of the following ideas revolve around the concept of building goodwill with your customers, which is one of the important marketing tools a business should be making use of. When you have the customer goodwill, then they will recommend you to others which is a very powerful form of endorsement of your business. Now how can you build up goodwill through the use of gift vouchers?
This is the most common form of a gift vouchers. The “pay now, buy later” style that is most commonly given as a gift to someone else. This has two main benefits to you as a business owner. First, it increases your cash flow as you get paid now but don’t have to fulfill the service or product offering until a later date (just don’t forget to properly account for the GST and make sure that you actually have the capacity to fulfill the voucher when presented – review your terms and conditions here carefully). Second, it usually introduces a second customer. Whether it be the eventual buyer, or the one who came in to buy the gift voucher (often at the suggestion of the recipient) – you now have the chance to add two new names to your database.
I talked about this last month in my marketing grab bag article. It put their brand in my thoughts again because they had given me ‘free money’ to spend with them so I did. More importantly they built up a ton of goodwill by saying ‘they liked my custom and wanted to see more of it.’ Customers like to feel that they are important to a business, not just a revenue source. Not only is the custom missed, they have given me a ‘compensation’ for the time spent in coming back. Now I know that it would have been sent to me by an automated system reading my sales history, and it was set up in a way that the business would break even when it was used, but it doesn’t matter because they put the effort in to having their customers reminded of their importance and that is what will keep a customer coming back.
When selling a high price item, especially one that has a consumable or servicing requirement, why not include a gift voucher for a related product. What do I mean by consumable? A consumable is something like the ink in a printer, oil for a mower, dust bags for a vacuum cleaner; things that are used up or wear out during the life of the machine. By including a gift voucher that can be used on a related product, e.g., oil or a blade sharpening for the mower, you encourage them to spend money with you at a later point when they could go to a competitor. While you may think this could be more classed as a general discount flyer than a gift voucher, it’s not because you have already made the sale to the customer. By promoting the add-on, you are saying to the customer ‘we know you are going to need x in the future, so if you come back to us then we will reward you for it by giving you money to spend on it.’ This builds goodwill because you are showing that you are thinking of their future needs, not just the next sale.
People don’t like change; they will stick with what they know even if there is something better for them out there. People especially don’t like change if will cost them money. This is one of the biggest barriers to getting customers to try out new products or services for a business. This reluctance vanishes if it doesn’t cost them that much to try. Gift vouchers are the perfect tool for this as it gives the customer the flexibility to try it out when they are ready, not when the business advertises it. Like the ‘follow up service and support’ idea, it’s not about the next sale, it’s about saying to the customer ‘we see what you do with us and we thought this would be useful for you too.’ Again this builds up the goodwill as it shows you are thinking about your customers’ needs, which makes them feel important.
This is a quite common form of gift voucher, the ‘spend $x or more on your next purchase to get $y off’, the example found in the ‘reactivation of clients’ entry being one of them. Now the goal of this is to encourage the customer to spend more with you but it doesn’t limit to what it’s spent on or when like a normal promotion. It also relates to the ‘try out a new product or service’ idea as customers are more likely to try something new when they have increase purchase dollar value to get the deal. The key is that it’s up to the customer on how it is used, which builds that goodwill because you letting they are making the decision.
This one works on the idea that you are using the goodwill of a customer you already have to promote your business to someone else. It works on the idea that you reward your customer for ‘on selling’ your business to others, ie ‘get $x to spend when you bring a friend do y’. It’s different from a discount promotion because you are letting the customer control what happens. Your existing client gets the reward for bringing their friend in and you get the chance to hook the friend to be regular customer. This particular system works best in the services industries, like restaurants, beauty salons and gyms; anywhere a ‘try before you buy’ experience is the best way of obtaining new clients.
So this is just a few ideas where using a gift voucher can both improve customer good will to you and improve your bottom line. As always I’m on just scratching the surface on this subject matter in these articles. If you want to find out more, why not book a meeting with us at Copy Express and we can work together in finding the right tools to help promote and grow your business.