Referral Marketing Program: 10 Effective Thank You Gifts

Posted by Traci Pichette on

No matter what industry you’re in, referral marketing is one of the best strategies to build your business. Why? Because research has shown that leads generated from referrals convert 4x better than cold leads*, not to mention at a fraction of the cost of paid media. However, in order to keep a steady stream of high quality referrals coming your way, you have to cultivate long-term relationships.  And one of the best ways to do that is to build thank you gifts into your referral program.

People love to feel appreciated and thank you gifts are a great way to show your appreciation. Studies have shown that people are more likely to give a referral when their efforts are recognized and non-cash incentives are 24% more effective than cash incentives.**. So, if you truly want to make an impression and stay top of mind, take a look at these unique referral gift ideas to show clients and brand advocates that you value them and their efforts.

10 Unique Referral Gifts to Generate More Leads

Treat Them to Lunch

There’s no better way to nurture relationships than by breaking bread together. So, if you are looking for a thank you gift that will deepen your relationship, consider treating your client or partner to lunch. If you don’t have time in your week to make a bunch of personal lunch dates, consider an annual luncheon hosted at a beautiful location. A small gathering allows those you know and want to work with the opportunity to mingle with each other, helping to develop a sense of community around your business. Not only is this fun, but it turns into a fabulous networking session as well!

Make a Charitable Donation

Making a donation to a charity is a great option for recipients who are unable to accept physical gifts. Send a beautifully designed ecard via Paperless Post announcing your donation so you can track when the gift has been received.

Handwritten Thank You Note

Send a Handwritten Thank You Note

Email and social media tags are convenient, but a note you’ve written by hand stands out and creates a tangible impression. Write your thank you note on thick, high-quality paper to set yourself apart, and always make the note personal! There’s a beautiful selection of paper on Moo that we really love with the ability to tastefully customize it for your brand.

Create Personalized Stationery

Say “Thank You” with beautiful, handpicked, custom stationery.  Giving a referral gift that the recipient can use is a great way to stay at the top of their mind on a regular basis. Be sure the stationery you give is customized for your recipient - not for you - which means definitely avoiding anything with your own logo on it.

 Foodie Gift Box

Satisfy Cravings with a Foodie Gift Box

For the person who loves food, create a gift box with top-quality gourmet goodies that have a long shelf-life, like unique spice blends, tea, and honey. The best referral gifts keep you top of mind whenever they’re used so the longer they last the better. You can choose from curated gift boxes, or design your own with the online gift builder at

custom photo book

Document Memories with a Portfolio Book

If you and your recipeint have worked on a project together, a portfolio book is a great referral gift, particuarly if the work is highly visual. A professionally printed book can include photos, artwork, testimonials, and even diagrams to document the process and memorialize the experience. Portfolio books make great coffee table books too leading to more opportunities to create conversations about your brand. There are many places to get high quality photo books, but we really love the books available through Blurb that start at $15.

 self care gift box

Give the Gift of Relaxation with a Self Care Gift Box

Everyone we know is busy these days so a reason to unplug and relax is sure to be appreciated. Give a spa day gift box with a soothing foot soak, face mask, or herbal tea, along with other artisanal items to make it personal for each recipient. You can choose from curated gift boxes, or design your own with the online gift builder at Have it delivered packaged and ready for presentation, including your thank you note, without ever leaving your office.

gifts for the pet lover 

Spoil Their Furry Friend

If your recipient has a fur baby, there’s a great chance that a referral gift tailored to their pet will be very well received. Consider giving pet accessories, such as a new set of feeding bowls or a customized collar, or you could really wow with a monthly Barkbox subscription. Thoughtful and personal, a gift for their pet is something that will be brought up in their day-to-day conversations, along with positive thoughts about your brand.

Give Choices with Gift Certificates

Gift cards and gift certificates don’t have to be generic. By paying attention to your recipient’s taste and style, you can match a gift certificate to the the recipient’s preferences. For example, for oenophiles (people who love wine), consider a gift certificate to a wine store or local winery.

 experiential thank you gifts

Give Your Client an Experience

While an all-inclusive vacation in the sunny Caribbean might not be in your budget, there are plenty of experiences you can give to say thank you. The secret in giving an experiential gift is that it needs to engage as many senses as possible. Thanks to the olfactory system, taste and smell are two of the most powerful senses for evoking a time and place. Food, flowers and candles are all great ways to create an experience, especially if it includes the joyful act of cooking, creating or entertaining.

Although we know it is so tempting to put your logo on your referral gifts, especially when one of the goals for your gift is wanting them to remember you, it's rarely a good idea. Creativity, coupled with personalization, is key to making your thank you gifts authentic and memorable so that you stay at the top of their mind- leading to more great referrals for your business. 


* source: emarketer.

**Source: The B2B Marketing Mentor, University of Chicago

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