Small business Florist arranges flowers

Do you need to reinvigorate your online marketing or maximize brand growth in a few months? It might sound counterintuitive, but offering gift cards to current and potential customers could help you grow your business.

Why Use Gift Cards?

Whether you only have a digital e-commerce store or your business is both online and retail, gift cards can provide your brand with several benefits.

Boost Brand Awareness

Gift cards can significantly boost brand awareness, especially in the earliest days of your business’s history. When you give out gift cards, you:

  • Provide an opportunity for your current customers to introduce your company to new ones through gifting. 
  • Give shoppers an opportunity to bring your brand up in conversations
  • Show your brand as a generous business with lots of great shopping opportunities for hesitant customers
  • Activate your current customers by transforming them into brand evangelists, and reward them for it.  Word of mouth remains one of the primary forms of brand growth – it doesn’t hurt to give it a boost! 
  • Reward first-time shoppers through promotional events (“a free gift card with “X” value when a customer spends “X” or more, etc.)

All of this does wonders to educate your target audience about your company and what it represents.

Increase Sales

Boosted brand awareness ties into another big benefit: increased sales. That’s right, gift cards and giving shoppers discounts are proven to lead to increased sales (and higher per-customer ticket value) in the long run. 

When people get a discount or can use gift cards, they feel like they are getting a special deal (even if all other shoppers get it too). Even better, 74% of customers surveyed by First Data spent, on average, an additional $54 on top of the value of the gift card. 

That means they form a positive emotional connection to your brand and are more likely to return for another purchase. Plus, happy customers are more likely to speak positively about your company to their friends and family members. Leverage gift cards right, and you could bring in tons of new business in no time!

Build Customer Loyalty

As touched on above, gift cards, special sales, and loyalty programs are a great way to retain customers. Establishing customer loyalty is important to the long term health of any business, especially since it costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep your current ones. 

Give out gift cards regularly to reward the loyalty of repeat customers/clients – particularly at certain milestones and events, like birthdays. They will come back to your brand time and time again even as competitors struggle in your niche. 

According to research conducted by Frederick Reicheld, giving birthday rewards can lead to an increased retention rate up to 5%, with the potential to increase revenues by 25% or more. 

Attract Holiday/Deal-Focused Shoppers

For many businesses, the most profitable months are during the holidays. Gift cards are a great way to attract one-time or flighty shoppers to your business. For example, you can and should have holiday-specific gift cards for people looking for a deal on your flagship product(s) or those folks just trying to finish their holiday shopping. 

A Black Friday shopper is more likely to shop at your business if they can get a free gift card from it than they are to shop at a competing business. Gifting is a great opportunity for brand reach. According to research conducted by Business Wire, 50% of customers surveyed will use gift rewards to purchase more items then they otherwise would have. 

Improve SEO Rankings

Last but not least, gift cards can also improve your rankings on search engines like Google. Since gift cards increase the mentions of your brand, Google recognizes your brand as a more important force in your industry. But gift card pages also add additional info to Google’s databases, making it more likely that your company will show up when shoppers type in certain keywords. 

This is especially true if you are able to have gift cards for your site mentioned or listed on websites other than your own. No one knows exactly how Google’s algorithm works in its entirety, but it is known that increasing your brand mentions will help Google to recognize it as an authoritative brand in its industry, which helps to increase your site’s rankings. 

Reach out to other sites and see if they’d be interested in a cross promotion deal, which can involve them promoting special deals and gift cards listed under your brand’s name on their site. This will then naturally increase the brand mentions for your site, while simultaneously expanding the pool of online customers who can see you have a gift card. 

How to Use Gift Cards Successfully

Now that you know the benefits of leveraging gift cards for your business let’s break down how you can implement gift cards successfully for years to come. Adding digital gift cards to your site is easy, even while ensuring PCI compliance for your small business.

Offer Cards In-Store

If you have a physical location, be sure to offer gift cards to customers on-premises. You can keep a stack of gift cards at the front of the checkout line by the cashier or cash register. Then people can quickly buy a gift card on their way out if they like your store and want to offer it to a friend or family member.

You can also have your customer service representatives or salespeople hand out gift cards as they walk the sales floor.

Attach Digital Gift Cards to Emails

If you have just an online e-commerce business, don’t hesitate to attach digital gift cards to your email marketing letters. E-commerce gift cards are super easy to add to marketing emails. In most cases, they’re just a QR or random number code that customers can input during the checkout process.

Once customers catch wind of the possibility of gift cards and savings in your marketing emails, they are more likely to read each marketing email you send out and never send your newsletters to the trash bin!

Offer Cards on Social Media

Similarly, have your social media manager announce and give out gift cards on your social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Social media is already a great place to engage with your target audience and build long-lasting relationships. This is your chance to actually interact directly with your customers on a personal level. You can respond to individual comments or threads and address users by their first names to be more personable.  

You can also take advantage of this opportunity to use social media to address customer complaints as well. Imagine this scenario – a customer has a problem with one of your products and complains about it on social media. One of your customer service representatives gives them a refund and a gift card to smooth things over. Now, that customer is more likely to make future purchases despite being disappointed initially. And you have left a good impression on potential buyers as well!

Landing Page Gift Cards

Your landing page is also a potentially great place to offer digital gift cards. A simple gift card or coupon can maximize your chances of converting a new lead into a paying customer. Or you can give out gift cards for shoppers who use specific digital currencies, such as crypto or virtual currencies.

Post-Sales Gift Cards

Lastly, consider giving gift cards to customers who have already purchased from you. Leverage your sales data to offer a free five-dollar coupon off their next purchase. These gift cards are great ways to encourage repeat business after securing an initial sale from a customer.

Summary

Ultimately, gift cards are some of the best ways for you to grow your business both online and in the retail sphere. Use gift cards wisely and regularly, and you’ll get more customers, keep those customers for years to come, and make the most of your marketing campaigns. Connect with one of our friendly payments representatives to get gift cards for your business. 

Nahla Davis
Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.

Categories: Small Business Advice