As a small business owner, periodically, you’ll find yourself wracking your brain for great client gift ideas. Holidays are a given, but there are also plenty of other times when it’s appropriate to show clients and others in your network your appreciation for their business.
Selecting just the right thing can be tricky. After all, when you’re setting business goals, creating solid and lasting bonds with customers that foster repeat business should top your list.
A thoughtful present goes a long way in letting your most important people know you’re grateful to work with them — and that you look forward to your continued association.
Need help deciding who to shop for? This list should help you narrow it down:
- Current clients
- Connections that refer work your way or that you want to stay in touch with
- Past clients that you’ve remained in contact with
The next questions are: What are appropriate gifts for clients? How much should you spend? Do you get them something they can use, or does a card suffice?
Never fear. I’ve pulled together a list of 15 creative and unique options, including everything from business thank you gift ideas to marketing gifts for clients and the best holiday gifts for clients.
Before we get started, let’s take a closer look at all of the things to keep in mind when it comes to professional gift-giving.
Why Gifting Clients Is a Good Idea
As I mentioned above, gift-giving provides you an excellent opportunity to show your gratitude. But it goes beyond that — choosing just the right thing and giving it at just the right time demonstrates that you “get” your client and know what they like, value, and appreciate.
In this day and age, there are millions of people going freelance all the time, and the competition is stiff. Your clients have myriad choices for who they can work with. But they chose you, and that is in itself a gift.
Responding in kind is appropriate. Of course, you do that by working hard and delivering quality work, so the right gift is icing on the cake. Sending them something that they use all of the time or keep in their office can help keep you top-of-mind as one of their go-to service providers, too.
That said, there are a few rules of thumb when it comes to choosing gifts for clients:
- Don’t overdo it. You don’t have to roll out the red carpet to impress your clients or connections. Meaning, you don’t have to spend tons of money on an elaborate gift to show that you appreciate them.
- Personalize by the client; be thoughtful. As tempting as it may be to get every customer a gift card and call it a day, be inventive with your client gift ideas. Now, there’s nothing wrong with giving a gift card, but personalization goes a long way and can help build the connection you have with your client or peer.
- Think it through. Once you land on a gift idea, take some time to consider if the gift is appropriate for the situation. Gag gifts, cologne or perfume, and clothing may give off the impression that you are closer than you are and aren’t really suitable client gifts. Alcohol, cannabis-related gifts, or barware might seem like a great idea, but if you don’t know your associate’s proclivities or their version of work from home accessories, you might be wasting your money on something they won’t like — or worse, might be offended by. Of course, relationships vary, but it’s important to err on the safe side when brainstorming client gift ideas.
Now that we’ve covered the ground rules of what to give, let’s look at when to give.
When to Send Clients Gifts
As discussed, the holidays are a given. But what other times make sense? Here are a few ideas, depending on your relationship with your client or colleague.
- Birthday (especially a milestone): Whether your client tells you it’s their birthday or not, thanks to social media, we often know when that special day is. A celebratory nod can be a thoughtful gesture.
- A significant business accomplishment: Celebrate the completion of a big project by sending your client a gift to commemorate the occasion.
- The beginning of a working relationship: Finding enough of the right clients isn’t easy, and a little thank you right out of the gates can go a long way.
- The end of a working relationship: This might sound counterintuitive, but if you’ve had a great run with a client, a final gesture of gratitude may keep the door open for future opportunities.
- A new office: Just like moving into a new home, an office-warming gift is a nice way to help them break in a new space. Even if your client renovates their home office, you can consider gifting them some home office supplies.
- A promotion: If your client gets promoted, be among the first to say congratulations, even if it means you won’t be working with them directly anymore.
15 Gifts for Clients that Will Impress Them
Ready to check out some stellar client gift ideas? Let’s dive in.
Business Thank You Gift Ideas
Amazon has a variety of gift card options to choose from, making this gift easy and customizable. Browse by occasion or categories such as style and beauty, travel, and more.
If your client would rather have a dedicated gift card, like to Starbucks or Nordstrom, those options (and many others) are available as well.
For the client with a sweet tooth, what’s better than receiving a bento box full of specialty candy? Nothing, probably. But this isn’t your childhood candy shop selection.
Sugarfina has loads of delectable, customizable options for your candy-loving clients.
Start by choosing your box size and design. Then there’s a variety of sweets to choose from, including “cocktail” candies that come in champagne and bourbon flavors, cold-press candies for coffee lovers, and even a “candy for breakfast collection.”
For the client who consumes books like the air they breathe, this is the perfect gift. Audible makes on-the-go listening easy with its free Audible app and can be accessed on popular devices such as Apple, Android, and Kindle.
Gifting a business book is great, but letting your clients choose their reads is even better.
That said, a coffee table book makes a statement. As a business thank you idea, you can select a theme that has something to do with the work you do together — or not.
Where I come from, food is love. And a great way to show your appreciation is to send your clients something delicious, be it a tasty pastry, a sumptuous lunch, or a delectable dish.
Goldbelly allows you to send all kinds of gourmet food, including meal kits, from your favorite restaurants nationwide.
One of the gifts I love to send clients is something local from Los Angeles, which is where I live. In my opinion, one of the coolest (and wow-factor) client gift ideas is ice cream — like celebrity chef Nancy Silverton’s favorite gelato gift box, for example.
Marketing Gifts for Clients
As cheesy as it sounds, Greetabl brings a new meaning to the saying, “Good things come in small packages.” These compact gift boxes are entirely personalizable to reflect your branding (or your client’s) and a sentiment that will let them know you care.
First, choose your box design (they have patterns for every occasion, or you can upload your own design). Then, choose a gift or two that will go inside the box. Lastly, write a short note that your client will see when they open the box. Thoughtful gift status: Achieved.
Notebooks are always an excellent gift idea, especially for clients in marketing and design. Take it a step further by personalizing the journal with a beautiful journal from Papier.
With hundreds of options to choose from, you can pick and personalize a cover – in hardback or softback – with any text you like. You can also select the paper type you want inside (lined, dotted, and plain).
Finally, you can make it as a one-off for a specific client (with their name on it, for example), or order multiple copies of your own branded journals so you always have gifts for clients on hand.
Doing good while doing a nice thing is easy with a customized gift from The Little Market, a nonprofit fair trade shop featuring ethically sourced, artisan-made gift items.
Everything on the site has a story about the person who created the product — and each product empowers that artisan by providing them with a sustainable income and worldwide distribution.
The Little Market has tons of interesting client gift ideas, from personalized candles and totes to curated gift sets. Quality items that have built-in social impact make refreshing marketing gifts for clients.
Take your marketing swag to the next level with a customized water bottle, tumbler, or drinkware from innovative hydration leader CamelBak. You can easily create a one-of-a-kind bottle for an individual client or do a small bulk order with your logo/message.
Plus, gifting reusable, portable drinkware — a travel gadget must — sends the message that you value sustainability and environmentally friendly products. And that’s always a plus when you’re making an impression on a client.
Sometimes it’s best to let your words do the talking for you. And what better way to do that than with an ecard that a) saves you time, b) saves paper, and c) saves you money on postage?
Pick from several beautiful templates and create a stellar card that your clients and connections will love. This may become your new favorite way to send cards.
Holiday Gifts for Clients
You can’t go wrong with gifting coffee or tea. You just can’t.
But you can take it a step further by curating a collection yourself with blends both you and your client like. Or leave it up to a company like DAVIDsTEA to do the selection for you.
Pro tip: Include a few non-caffeinated flavors in case your client is trying to cut back on their caffeine intake or can’t consume it.
Breaking news: It is possible to gift high-quality art without breaking the bank.
In addition to wall art, Society6 has an assortment of cool gifts and home goods to choose from, which may make your decision easier or more difficult depending on who you’re shopping for.
You can shop by artist, keyword, product, and color. Society6 is loaded with cool and unique client gift ideas for any and every customer or connection.
A Gift Card to Udemy or Skillshare
Holidays are the precursor to a New Year — the perfect time of year to set goals. That’s why gift cards to a skills-building site like Udemy or Skillshare make fantastic Christmas gifts for clients.
Both Udemy and Skillshare have a wide range of courses to choose from — supporting your clients in learning and growing is an excellent way to show you care.
For your plant-lovers, a DIY terrarium kit or succulent is one of the best holiday gifts for clients. It’s small enough to fit on a desk, which is always something important to consider — especially for clients who set up a home office in a small space.
Plus, having a plant in a workspace is one of the most often pro-recommended home office tips, as it brightens a space and supports well-being overall.
Make a Charitable Gift in Honor of Your Clients
In my opinion, one of the best holiday gifts for clients is the kind that does double duty — a charitable gift made in their honor. It puts a smile on their face and a smile on the face of those whom your contribution serves.
While there are countless options for holiday gift-giving, I like to tie in what I do as a service professionally with the charity I support.
So, for example, I’ve made gifts in my clients’ honor through DonorsChoose, a charity that connects teachers in high-need communities with people who want to help. Because I’m a writer, I’ll typically contribute to a classroom that teaches literacy and language.
The Wrap Up on Gifts for Clients
Whichever client gift ideas end up being the winners for everyone on your list, make sure there is thought and effort behind them.
While setting boundaries with clients is often necessary, such small gestures can help build your relationships. Make them count.
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