February 16, 2024

How to Use Customer Gifting Through the Marketing Funnel


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In the business world, a thoughtful gift can be the difference between a sale and dead silence. But when is the right time to send gifts in the first place?

Turns out, the entire marketing funnel is full of gift-giving opportunities. Whether you’re trying to onboard new customers or build relationships with those that you already have, the right gift can go a long way.

Here, we’ll discuss how you can strategically send out gifts throughout every stage of the funnel.

First, What’s the Funnel?

Here’s a quick refresher so we can get in the mindset of gifting throughout the funnel.

The marketing funnel is a handy way to categorize the customer journey, from the point when customers become aware of your company to the point when they make a purchase.

At the top of your funnel, you’ll focus on casting a wide net and raising brand awareness. At the bottom, you’ll focus on working closely with customers to address their needs, highlight your abilities, offer incentives, and ultimately make that sale.

Now, let’s dive into how gifting can impact each stage of the funnel.

Raising Brand Awareness

At this stage in the funnel, the goal is to let people know what you do and how you do it. By doing so, you’ll give your sales team an opening to initiate a conversation.

To achieve this, you’re already running targeted ads, gathering leads from industry events and creating relevant content.

All of those things are great ways to let prospects know that you exist, but a handwritten note to a prospect will go the extra mile by adding a personalized touch. In a sea of digital communication, a tangible piece of direct mail makes you stand out from the rest right off the bat.

Engaging with Hand-Raisers

In this stage in the funnel, your prospects are aware of you but aren’t sure what makes you the best choice. So, you’ve got to start focusing on clearly differentiating what you do from what everyone else does.

You may already be hosting webinars, building your blog and social media content, and highlighting benefits of your product that are unique to your brand.

A gift can strengthen those efforts by reminding prospects that you haven’t forgotten about them.

For instance, a $5 coffee gift card with a quick “thank-you” note can be an effective way to reward customers for attending webinars or events. Or maybe you want to send physical copies of your content in lieu of digital copies with a handwritten note.

Accelerating the Pipeline

Here’s where things start to get exciting. Your prospects know who you are and what makes you different, and they’re coming closer to making a purchasing decision—it’s time to get more personal.

This is the point in the funnel where you’re probably hosting events and trying to show prospects a good time. Maybe you’re taking everyone out to happy hour, or maybe you’re hosting a picnic lunch. Either way, you’re trying to push your prospects closer to the finish line.

You can seriously rev up those efforts with thoughtful and relevant gifts. For example, if you’re throwing a beach party, you could send “message-in-a-bottle” invites. Or, using the picnic idea, you could send along a gift-wrapped picnic blanket.

Alternatively, hyperpersonalized gifts can make a big impact as well. For example, Carina Shahin, a sales development rep here at Sendoso, heard that a prospect was expecting a baby. She also happened to know that this prospect had a bulldog. So, she sent him a baby onesie with “My Big Brother Is a Bulldog” printed on the front.

Gifts like this can show that you’re willing to invest thought and energy into your prospects even if they’re not yet a customer.

Onboarding New Customers

All your sales and marketing efforts have paid off and a prospect has become a customer. Now’s the time to give them a warm welcome they won’t forget.

You’ve probably already sent along a welcome email complete with contact info and additional information. But how do you make your new customer feel like they’re not just another number on a spreadsheet?

Reaching out and showing that you are welcoming them to a community can help build strong customer advocates.

A swag bag filled with branded T-shirts, reusable water bottles, and stickers can do this. You could also send something the whole team can enjoy, like a plate of gourmet cupcakes.

It all depends on the customer—using research and technology, the sky is the limit on how creative you can be to show them that you know what they like and that you truly appreciate their business.

Driving Adoption

At this point, you’ve already welcomed your new customers, but you want their whole team to get on board with your product or services, too.

With that in mind, you’re likely already running onboarding calls, answering questions from the client, and explaining how your products/services work.

To up the ante, try driving adoption with the help of some gifts. You might send the team a fresh meal from a local restaurant they can eat while you teach them how to use your product, or include swag bags with the how-to guides you provide.

Boosting Customer Advocacy

Don’t forget that your marketing efforts don’t stop once a purchase has been made—if you want to retain customers and build loyalty, you’ll have to show existing customers that you care about them, too.

To do this, you may already be hosting customer-only events, publishing case studies and testimonials, and creating user groups. Raise the bar by sending your customers handwritten notes and extra-meaningful gifts.

If many of their team members are big basketball fans, you can send over a personalized basketball, or even tickets to the next game. Or, if a team leader is about to get married, have a baby, or experience a major life event, you could send over a bouquet of flowers and a thoughtful note.

No matter which part of the funnel you’re in, a fun and tasteful gift can turn a prospect into a customer, or a one-time customer into a long-time fan.

At the end of the day, human connections take precedence over numbers and data, so anything you can do to nurture those connections can be well worth your while.

To learn more, get instant access to our ebook on the topic: “Mastering the Art of Direct Mail and Gifting” below.


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