Christmas is coming – are your gift voucher promotions in place?
Gift vouchers are bought all year long, but sales really ramp up in November and peak over the first two weeks of December. If your gift voucher promotions are already set up for this Christmas, you’re in a great place, but if not, here are some marketing ideas to implement now. From creating compelling reasons for customers to buy from you, through to running a digital campaign, pick off a few actions to make all the difference.
The Black Friday Weekend started on Friday 24th November 2017, with the final recommended posting day for Royal Mail 1st Class falling on Wednesday 20th December. This four week period marks the key selling time for gift vouchers. (Emailed vouchers continue to go out throughout the festive break, creating ideal last minute gifts.)
We suggest encouraging customers to buy their vouchers as soon as possible, however, as the final rush and potential postal delays can take their toll. The One Tree Support Team will be available to help resolve any queries about our voucher system, but we can’t control Royal Mail.
Is it really worth focusing on gift voucher promotions?
While voucher sales take place all year round, sales figures in November and December tend to equal the total values seen in the remaining 10 months of the year, so this is the moment to give your gift vouchers a boost. If you are already doing Christmas marketing, mentioning your gift vouchers won’t take a lot of extra effort.
Who buys gift vouchers?
70% of all gift voucher buyers are women, regardless of the experiences offered as gifts. This is worth bearing in mind when creating promotions. Male purchasers tend to act more on impulse and with less forward planning, so a last minute gift promotion just before Christmas could persuade them to buy vouchers delivered by email from you.
Interestingly though, the recipients of gift vouchers are generally spread equally between men and women, so it’s worth promoting gifts to appeal to both.
What does your typical gift voucher customer look like?
Create a buying persona for your ideal target purchaser: How old are they, what are their interests, where do they live, do they have a particular type of job? Once you have a list of criteria, it makes creating a target audience much easier.
Your gift voucher customers may already be your most loyal fans, but remember that this time they are buying a gift for someone else. What is going to entice them to make the purchase?
Existing customers are a key target
Buyers will have different levels of knowledge of your business and different reasons to buy from you. Existing customers know your brand best and are most likely to buy gifts simply by being made aware that you sell vouchers online. For this first category it is important to raise the profile of your gifts at this time of year. More of that below:
Other potential buyers may need more persuading:
1. The Indifferent – They aren’t really engaged with the idea. Give them reasons to buy vouchers – show how a buying a voucher solves their gifting problems.
2. The Concerned – Will this be the right present for me to buy? Show examples of the types of people who enjoy your gifts.
3. The Dawdler – They know when Christmas is (don’t we all?) but don’t get around to doing anything about it until the last minute. Set deadlines in your copy, such as mentioning the last day of posting.
4. The Sceptic – Build up their knowledge of why your brand experience makes a great gift.
You are selling experiences, so pictures of the venue or activity will capture the purchaser’s imagination, sparking ideas of who they could buy a voucher for.
We recommend calling the vouchers ‘gift vouchers’ on your website, rather than simply ‘vouchers’ which could be perceived to be discount vouchers
What do your gifts represent?
A gift of relaxation, me time, indulgence, fine dining, learning, excitement …
Who would enjoy your experiences …. for mums who have everything, dads who love to dine, ladies who lunch, grandparents who deserve a break etc
Do a quick audit of your website. Is your gift voucher sales page easy to find? Do you have a prominent image, link, button (or all three) to ‘buy gift vouchers’ on the home page? Links in the text on other relevant pages can also direct buyers to the voucher sales page.
Beef up the copy on your voucher sales page itself to emphasise Christmas gifts. Who are your gifts suitable for? Why should someone buy from you? A well-worded paragraph can also help with organic search rankings for Christmas gift vouchers.
Topics for your blog
If you write a blog, put together a post about your gift vouchers. Themes could include:
- Popular gifts this Christmas or top 10 gift ideas
Select a small range of relevant gifts or key popular price points (for monetary vouchers) and highlight your offer – restrict the number of items mentioned – don’t try to cover everything in one go.
- Monetary vouchers
If you sell monetary vouchers, suggest the values that will buy different services, such as: A voucher for £XX buys dinner for four. This makes buyers feel safe as they know what the recipient will be able to use their gift for.
- Christmas Sorted – Gifts for all the family
Gifts for different family members or friends, such as Gifts for Dad, Gifts for Mum, Aunties, Uncles etc. Whatever would be relevant for your venue. If you sell monetary vouchers, suggest ideas for different individuals at different price points. Focus on your target market for gift recipients, but sell to women.
- Christmas Survival Kit
Add other interesting content to help your purchasers in the run up to Christmas – Events at your venue, external local events, your chef’s Christmas recipes, presents sorted (with your gift vouchers).
- Christmas Wishlist
Create a list of appealing gift ideas targeted at recipients who may ask others to buy for them.
Pre-Christmas is an ideal time to focus e-newsletters around gifts. People love to share their experiences with friends and can do so by buying a gift voucher.
At the very least it is important to have a prominent or icon, footer or button on client newsletters – with a link to your voucher sales page.
Use the copy in the email campaign to sell different voucher options. Take the guesswork out of gift buying for your clients.
Posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will work to promote your voucher page, but investing in an advertising campaign means that you can reach a wider audience at a reasonable cost.
a. Write strong headlines that solve the buyers’ pain. E.g. Christmas gifts for the person who has everything….
c. Add eye-catching images of the venue or service, rather than pictures of vouchers. Sell the experience.
d. Profile and target your audience.
d. Call to action – link to your gift voucher sales page.
Create a campaign to run at the end of November and beginning of December in conjunction with other promotions.
If you advertise your services on your standard company emails, don’t forget to mention gift vouchers.
Off line Advertising
Do the guests/clients who visit your venue(s) know that you sell gift vouchers? All the traditional means of getting the message out there can be used including:
- Signage/posters (on reception, in the loos)
- Digital displays
- Business card-style takeaways
Front desk or other customer facing staff should be aware of your gift voucher offers and be able to advise guests of suitable gift ideas.
Gift vouchers are exactly the same as any other service you have available. It’s a competitive world out there and they need to be promoted to generate sales. Some careful thought will have you ready to boost gift voucher sales in the final month running up to Christmas.
Louise Callan, Marketing Director, One Tree. If you would like to discuss any of the ideas here, please feel free to send an email or call me on 01761 472911.