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12 Client Holiday Gifts That Won't Break Your Budget

ByScott Gerber,
business.com writer
| Last Modified
Dec 16, 2013
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> Business Basics
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Because your clients and customers have done so much for you, the holidays are a perfect time to show them thanks. Yet, it's no secret that startup founders are strapped for cash.

To find the perfect gift, I asked several founders from the Young Entrepreneur Council for their favorite (yet reasonably priced) go-to presents:

1. Intimate Get Togethers

If you're a company that deals directly with customers, nothing is better than doing something personal that will make your customers feel wanted. If you have a primary location where you do your business, try hosting a low-key get-together, and invite them personally. Even if it's nothing fancy, something as simple as an intimate dinner or cocktail hour can make your customers feel appreciated. - Daniel Wesley, Creditloan.com

RelatedThe Ultimate Holiday How-to for Social Media Promotion

2. Handwritten Letters

In the digital age, "old school" handwritten letters have taken on an outsized meaning. Around the holidays, I often write out personal thoughts to clients, so they have a tangible example of the fact that I spend time thinking and caring about them. Showing them you care via a handwritten letter often means more than even the best Hallmark card. - Brennan White, Watchtower

3. Lotto Tickets

Every year our company sends hundreds of thank you cards out over the holidays and includes scratch-off lotto tickets inside. In addition to a personalized note, we add: "Cheers to a profitable/successful new year!" - Darrah Brustein, Finance Whiz Kids | Equitable Payments

Related Article: Tips for Creating a Solid Holiday Marketing Plan

4. Free Items

We like to say thank you to our customers by giving them a little something extra -- especially during the holiday season. They seem to be big fans of our hot chocolate spoons. Adding one to an order is a unique way to say thank you, and it shows that we value the relationship. - Fabian Kaempfer, Chocomize

Related:3 Ways to Improve Remote Client Interactions

5. Gift Cards

Even sending out a $5 gift card to your customers is an effective way to thank them. Just make sure that the cards you send out have no restrictions or fees. - Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

6. Donations in Their Name

It can be hard to find a memorable corporate gift. Sending popcorn and chocolate is nice, but it won't make you stand out. The gifts I tend to remember are the ones that make an impact on someone in need. One of our customers donated an animal to a needy family through Heifer International. I thought that was a really neat way to say thank you and send something that would benefit someone else. - Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent

7. Quality Time

If you have important clients, it might be worth stopping by to say hi at one of their events. Ultimately, people like doing business with people they like. The holiday season is full of corporate and business events, and it provides you a great opportunity to stop by your client's next product launch party, etc. - Andy Karuza, Brandbuddee

8. Non-Dated Journals

I love picking out beautiful lined-page journals for my clients and including a personal note about recording their ideas, dreams and projects for the upcoming year. When picking these out, I avoid the ones that are dated, so I can give them any time of year, and clients can use them when they're ready. - Kelly Azevedo, She's Got Systems

9. A Homemade Online Game

We are lucky to have some pretty creative artists on staff and can do some pretty fun flash-style online games. Everyone gets emailed holiday cards, but we make a point to make ours stand out. We find that a card that links to a co-branded snowball fight online game is appreciated and shared and welcomed as a distraction through the holiday season. - Michael Seiman, CPXi

Related:90% of Online Customers Trust Online Recommendations: Are You Using Testimonials?

10. T-Shirts

We've been giving away T-shirts to customers turned super fans -- those who are either highly engaged or have been actively referring friends. The T-shirt giveaway helps both of us. The customers get free swag, and we get additional brand promotion. - Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Inc

11. Hot, Fresh Cookies and Milk

We love sending hot, fresh cookies to an office, especially when the team already has a big meeting or party scheduled. We get an instant reaction from the team and they get to appreciate the bounty together. It never fails. - Suzanne Smith, Social Impact Architects

12. Personal Notes

A personalized note from the founder will make a great impression on every customer. If you say you don't have the time, then I disagree. How many customers do you have? If you're a B2B company, it's unlikely to be more than in the hundreds. What's more important than sending thank you notes to your top customers? If you're a B2C company, you certainly have time to send thank you notes to your top 100 superusers. - Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

(Image via freedigitalphotos.net)

Scott Gerber
Scott Gerber
See Scott Gerber's Profile
Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Gerber is also a serial entrepreneur, regular TV commentator and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job.
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