We talk a lot about building relationships with clients. Through emails, social media, and blogging... But this time of year it's especially important to step away from the computer screen and show your clients how much you care about them in person.
And what better way to show your thanks than by giving gifts?
First, it's a nice thing to do! Your clients have spent a lot of time and money with you. It's the least you can do to thank them for their loyalty and make them feel special.
Second, this keeps your photography business top-of-mind. A spring wedding client may not still be thinking of you by year's end. A thoughtful holiday gift will put your business front and center in your client's mind going into the new year.
Third, your gift will have a ripple effect. A gift that is meant to be displayed will be seen by coworkers, friends, and family. It's not just a gift – it's a permanent advertisement for your business.
Who are your best customers? You probably already know who they are.
Reward the clients that come back every year. The ones that make large purchases. Some you'd like to be better friends with. And include any new clients you get a good feeling about.
As a photography business, you’re largely local. Word of mouth is your best friend. So the best way to grow your local business is by tending to the relationships you already have and turning each new customer into a brand evangelist.
Stumped for ideas? You're in luck. There are literally hundreds of thoughtful holiday gifts you can create for your customers using their images that will make a lasting impact for years to come.
I poked around looking for good ideas and found a boatload of options that would make excellent holiday gifts for your clients.
Ornaments are a no-brainer for holiday gifts.
In my family, we pull out the same ornaments year after year to decorate our home. And ornaments featuring photos of our children (especially their baby pics!) get special treatment.
Ornaments are simple and affordable gifts that will be treasured for a lifetime.
I'm kind of in love with this idea. Here's why:
1. As a human who sends gifts, I ALWAYS forget about the tags until the last minute. Then I have to run out to get some... or make my own, and it's a hassle. Your clients will appreciate some thoughtful, custom gift tags that look way better than anything they would get from the store.
2. From a business perspective, gift tags do double duty. They're essentially a business card with your photo and a holiday message on the back. A business card that your client will willingly give to their friends complete with a gorgeous example of your work.
Minted above makes custom tags, as do many other printers. OR you could simply design yourself some "business cards" with an image on one side, then hole-punch the corner. Your clients feel special, and the recipient gets a beautiful tag, complete with your name and URL on the back.
Image cubes make fantastic gifts for working parents to display on their desks.
They're conversation pieces, which get coworkers talking! And because they fit up to 6 photos, image cubes are an efficient and eye-catching way to get the most exposure and bang for your buck.
I found both wood and paper options from multiple vendors at a variety of price points. (I really like these wood ones! ^^)
Another easy gift idea for photographers: small framed prints. Add a great photo from a recent session to a unique frame, and you have an instant gift that your client will treasure. Barnwood and distressed frames are really popular right now!
You can buy frames basically everywhere, but I found some really neat rustic looking options on WHCC and Etsy.
For clients that make a higher investment, it's worth it to splurge a little on their gifts. Sarah Petty makes these teensy chubby gallery wraps and packages them luxuriously with boxes from Nashville Wraps.
It's a great way to make high-end clients feel REALLY special. And even though the cost is a bit higher, the investment pays for itself when these clients book again.
Warm hands, warm hearts! I found a lot of cute ideas for photo mugs: from elegant latte-style coffee cups to traditional cup-a-joe coffee mugs.
Everyone at the office will be jealous of your client's cool coffee mug. And the photos featured on the cup will be a daily reminder of your value to their family.
'Tis the season for sending greeting cards! And you can absolutely gift your clients a short stack of very nicely printed professional cards to add to their outbox.
But you can also think beyond the holiday season. A handful of "any-day" notecards will come in handy all year round. (And the recipients will love to see your talent in July, too.)
These tiny accordion brag books are super cute and super affordable.
They can hang out on mom's desk, the mantle, coffee table, or even travel around in grandma's purse to show everyone at in the grocery store her darling grandbaby. (Plus, they can be fully branded, so everyone will know who took those lovely shots.) A cute little keepsake that will get a lot of attention.
What a way to help your client think about you all year long! Many printers offer calendars... from professional labs to CVS! And I found a lot of style options, too! From simple dry-erase calendars to wall and desk calendars that you can customize... to top it off, calendars were surprisingly inexpensive!
This is by no means a comprehensive list! There are so many gift ideas out there... from statuettes and playing cards to magnets, mousepads... the list is really endless. And, of course, your customer will appreciate non-photography gifts, too! A nice box of sweets, a gift card to their favorite coffee shop in a creative little envelope. There are so many ways to make a client feel loved that it really doesn't matter WHAT you give them, just that you take the time to say "THANK YOU!" and that you appreciate them being in your life.
I hope you found some interesting ideas that got the wheels turning – and if you know a great idea that I've missed, share the knowledge! Thanks as always for reading, and have a great holiday season!