Gift Certificates 101: How your small business can make money with gift certificates

Gift certificates can drive significant increases in your revenue, increase brand loyalty and customer engagement for your business. Read on to learn how to create aesthetic gift certificates and promote them through your marketing campaigns.

Are you looking for a way to consistently drive new customers into your small business and bring your regulars in more? Gift certificates, gift cards, and discount vouchers are the perfect way to bring significant increases in revenue and save money while you are doing it. According to Gartner, leaders in market research, gift certificates and gift cards generated over $160 billion in sales in 2018.

These gift certificates and discount vouchers, if used and promoted effectively, are a great way to show customer appreciation and can increase brand loyalty quicker than many other means. Customers who come into your store with gift cards and discount vouchers are looking to spend money. “Overspending the amount of a gift card is the new normal,” according to a 2018 study by First Data. In 2017, 75% of gift card recipients spent nearly $28 more than the value of the certificate or card. Projections point to an even further increase for 2018’s numbers.

A gift certificate program can be implemented much easier than you may think. Wondering where to start? This definitive step-by-step guide will walk you through exactly how you can launch and promote a gift certificate program in your business. In this guide, you’ll not only learn how to create gift vouchers in minutes with easily customizable, professionally designed templates but also how to effectively promote them in your marketing campaigns.

Step by step guide:

Step #1 – Creating your gift certificate graphic

If your business is not on the gift certificate bandwagon, it’s high time to cash in. Gift certificates and gift cards are not just for the big box stores or national chains. By utilizing and implementing a series of sustained marketing strategies (further on that below), you can make gift certificates highly profitable for your small business too.

Of course, the first place to start is to create an eye-catching gift certificate that attracts customers right away. This is easy to accomplish with PosterMyWall’s extensive range of aesthetic gift certificate templates. All you have to do is select a template you like, customize and download. Check out some of the popular gift certificate templates:

Templates like this give you plenty of opportunities to get creative. Change the design colors and fonts, easily add some clip art shapes or graphics, make sure to add in your business logo, business contact information etc. In minutes, you’ll have a professionally designed gift certificate graphic to implement for your business. With just a couple of customization tweaks, a template can be ready for your promotions in minutes.

Here are some popular gift certificate templates that you can customize for your business:

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Now that you’ve got your gift certificate, let’s promote it!

Step #2 – Email marketing campaigns

One of the most effective ways to promote your gift certificate program is through email marketing. Most consumers receive their emails directly to their phones and check those multiple times throughout the day. Utilize the power of your customer email list to spread the word and use gift-card focused promotions leading up to holidays or big events.

Pre-holiday is the ideal time to focus email-newsletters around gifts for family and friends. People love to share their favorite places and experiences with friends and family and can do this by simply buying a gift certificate or voucher for that particular product or service. Write the copy in the email campaign or newsletter so that it revolves around your different gift certificate options and how they make for perfect gifts. Alleviate the guesswork of gift buying for your customers.

One guaranteed way to drive more gift certificate sales from your emails is to make sure you include in the email a prominent button, icon, or footer that links to a gift certificate or voucher page on your website.

Step #3 – Specialized gift cards for special occasions

For many years now, gift cards continue to be the most sought-after gift during holidays and other special occasions. As a small retailer, you can capitalize on this huge opportunity to boost sales and create a buzz around your brand by using holiday-themed and occasion specific gift certificates and gift cards. Incorporating holiday themes in your marketing campaigns is always a great idea as it allows you to embark on the festive journey with your customers; making you more relatable and relevant  – thereby making you a prime spot in these holiday festivities. Incorporating these holiday and special occasion themes like Valentine’s Day, Spring, Mother’s Day etc. is super easy, just use professionally designed templates for these occasions and customize them for your business.

A great way to use these customized gift certificates is to build your marketing campaign around some great holiday/seasonal gift ideas for both him and her (especially those hard to shop for people) and launch your customized gift certificates along with that content.  Create a blog post like “Top Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas” or “5 Creative Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day” and end that content by launching your customized gift vouchers. Offer monetary solutions like, for example, if you are a restaurant, “A voucher for $XX buys dinner for four”. This helps to make the gift voucher buyer feel safe because they know exactly what the recipient will be able to use their gift for.  

Once you have this content, create an email marketing campaign and get it in the inbox of as many of your customers as you can. Take it a step further and create a Google AdWords campaign that capitalizes on your main keywords from the blog post, suggesting creative gift ideas and linking them to your gift vouchers.

Strategy #4 – Prominently display for A limited time

The checkout area, register, and guest check presenters are the top and easiest places to promote and sell your gift certificates for any occasion. This also offers an opportunity to capitalize on several effective marketing tactics and selling psychology tricks. One of these popular tactics is inculcating a “fear of missing out” in your consumers. Consumers hate to feel like they have missed out on a good deal. Use this to your advantage with your gift certificates program, by launching them for a limited time period or for the first 500 customers only, for example. This will create a sense of urgency and exclusivity in your program, and encourage customers to buy your gift certificates and vouchers. Display signage with persuasive messages like “Ask about our limited time gift cards!” or “Give the perfect gift card before they run out” either at your checkout counter, front door, or around high-traffic areas of your store. Fortunately, creating such persuasive marketing graphics is both easy and inexpensive with voucher templates available at PosterMyWall.

Take this one step further and have your employees and staff mentioning your gift certificates at the start of checking each customer out.

Step #5 – Spread the word on social media

The average consumer checks their social media accounts at least a dozen times a day from their mobile devices. Capitalize on this by utilizing a targeted social media ad campaign to promote and spread the word about your gift certificates, gift cards, and discount vouchers.

Each social media platform allows you to zero in on your target consumers down to geographic radius, age range, and interests. So you can ensure your posts are being shown to relevant people who are more likely to purchase from you.

Once you have your targeted audience, create a strong headline for your posts and social media ad that touches on a buyer’s pain points. For example, “Christmas Gifts For The Person Who Has Everything”. Then, use eye-catching images of your store/brand/service and not just a graphic of your gift certificate itself. Close the post with a strong call to action that will drive the audience to purchase gift certificates and have a high chance of converting. Calls to action like “Our gift certificates make the perfect gift for the hard-to-buy-for person. Get yours for a limited time today!” are highly effective. Again, you are using the “fear of missing out” tactic.

Wrapping it up

Gift certificates, gift cards, and vouchers can drive significant increases in revenue for your small business. All the while saving you money in comparison to other forms of advertising or promotions. Holidays and special occasions are peak times for consumer purchases of gift certificates and your business should be capitalizing on such opportunities.

Not only do they drive more revenue, but implementing a gift certificate program in your business can increase brand loyalty, consumer engagement, and create a healthy buzz around your brand. One of the top mistakes small business retailers make when it comes to implementing a gift certificate program is failing to market them effectively. Remember, many people won’t buy gift cards automatically just because they’re sitting there in your store. To really make the most out of these certificates and cards, you have to be proactive about getting them out there and continuously refine your efforts along the way.

By following the steps above, you have everything you need to successfully create, and more importantly promote, gift certificates and vouchers in your small business.

Start by customizing a voucher template now.