Marketing Strategy: 10 Effective Referral Gifts

No matter what industry you’re in, referral marketing is one of the best strategies to grow 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 referral gifts into your marketing strategy.

People love to feel appreciated and 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.

10 Unique Referral Gifts to Generate More Leads

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1. Treat Them to Lunch

Update during COVID-19: Due to the challenge for many of us getting together to enjoy a meal, we’re temporarily modifying this suggestion. The outcome, however, remains the same: Enjoy some wonderful food together.

Ideas include:

a. Send a meal kit to your client and yourself. Then, schedule a virtual dinner or cooking session.

b. Sign up for a private and virtual cooking class.

There’s no better way to nurture relationships than by breaking bread together.

So, if you are looking for referral gifts that will deepen your relationship, consider treating your client or partner to lunch.

But, what 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 gives your collaborators and advocates the opportunity to mingle with each other. It’s a great way to develop a sense of community around your business. Not only is this fun, but it turns into a fabulous networking session as well!

2. 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.

3. Send a Handwritten Thank You Note

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!

See related

Thank You Letter Examples for Real Estate Marketing

Consider tastefully customizing the stationery with your logo, or choosing an envelope color that reflects your brand.

4. Create Personalized Stationery

Say “Thank You” with beautiful, handpicked, custom stationery

All business owners can use their own custom stationery to say thanks to clients and employees. And, giving a functional referral gift is a great way to stay top of mind on a regular basis.

Be sure the stationery you give as a gift is customized for your recipient – not for you – which means definitely avoiding anything with your own logo on it.

5. Satisfy Cravings with a Foodie Gift Box

Foodie Gift Box

For the person who loves food, create a gift box with top-quality gourmet goodies that have a long shelf-life. Think unique spice blends, olive oil and cooking tools .

Or, consider a healthy food subscription box that can be shared with the recipient’s entire office.

The best referral gifts keep you top of mind whenever they’re used so the longer they last the better.

Quick Tip: Remember, you can always break apart prepackaged gift sets and give individual items to different people. It’s a great way to stay within budget.

6. Memorialize The Experience with a Portfolio Book

custom photo book

If you and your recipient have worked on a project together, a portfolio book, or custom printed gift, is a great referral gift, particularly 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.

7. Give the Gift of Relaxation

self care gift box

Everyone we know is busy stressed these days so a reason to unplug and relax is sure to be appreciated.

Assemble 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.

Or, choose a pre-made spa gift set and have it delivered without ever leaving your home or office.

8. Spoil Their Furry Friend

gifts for the pet lover

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.

9. 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.

10. Give Your Client an Experience

experiential thank you gifts

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.

One Final Note

Although 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. 

See related

The Little Guide to Corporate Gifting

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* source: emarketer.

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


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