The holiday season is here, so everyone has gift-giving on the brain. But should you send your photography clients something special? We say yes!
Client appreciation gifts can do so much for your brand and business. Showing your clients you’re thinking of them can strengthen your professional relationship. They’re also more likely to stay your clients or refer you to others when they have exceptional customer experience.
And if the gifts you’ve chosen are really good, they’ll be remembered. You’ll stay top of mind and maybe even get some new client referrals your way! Everyone’s winning.
Now the question becomes: What gifts should you send your clients? You want something that will express your gratitude, bring joy to your clients, and remind them that you’re there for all their photography needs. Client gifts that fall within your budget won’t hurt, either!
If you’re coming up blank on what client appreciation gifts to send, try one of these ideas below.
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Client Gift Idea #1: Handwritten notes
When in doubt, (hand) write it out. A handwritten thank you note adds an extra special touch of personalization to whatever gifts you choose. A discount code or promo code for your store adds even more value to your message, too.
Plus, if you offer custom greeting cards in your store, this is a great way to show clients how gorgeous they look and feel in real life. Remember that customizable greeting cards aren’t limited to the holidays! Your clients can use them for engagement announcements, thank you cards, newborn announcements, and more.
Client Gift Idea #2: A gift box of goodies
A client appreciation gift doesn’t have to be expensive to make an impact.
Why not gift a box of goodies that show your appreciation and show off your brand and biz? This example from Casey Brodley still melts our hearts! A mini tin soy candle, custom matchbook, signed thank you card, and explosion of fun pink shredded paper is enough to make any client smile.
Don’t have time to put every box together on your own? Outsource the task by picking one of the popular gift box companies below. (Remember to still make it personalized with the message you include and gifts you choose.)
- Greetabl: Affordable, mix-and-match options with small gifts like candy, mugs, bath bombs, and more.
- Etsy: Yes, Etsy! Search something like “client appreciation gift box” and you’ll find a ton of complete gifts that vary in size and price.
- BOXFOX: You can customize your own boxes with BOXFOX or choose a themed, ready-to-ship box. Don’t themes like “Sugar Rush,” “Pop Fizz Clink,” and “Green Goddess” sound amazing?
Client Gift Idea #3: Gifted prints
Have clients you loved working with who didn’t have that extra print in their budget? Try this secret hack: send them a print as a token of appreciation (and show them what they’re missing out on).
What’s nice about gift prints is that you have a lot of flexibility in what you send. Depending on the partner lab you use, you can create a client appreciation gift to suit all kinds of styles and budgets. If your clients love a striking, stylized look, go with a fine art print. If they want something that’s ready to be displayed as soon as it’s delivered, pick a metal print. And you can’t go wrong with a small, simple print in a matte or lustre finish.
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Client Gift Idea #4: Studio-branded gifts
Let your clients boost your brand visibility for you with reusable, branded gifts. Examples include:
- Eco-friendly water bottles
- Mugs, glasses, or tumblers
- Tote bags
- Paper products like notebooks, journals, or sticky notes
These types of gifts can be pretty common, so find a way to make yours stand out. Choose high-quality products that bring something new to the table, like a mug that stays warm or a stationery set that comes with wireless charging for a smartphone.
Client Gift Idea #5: A tasty treat or beverage
Who doesn’t like a tasty, luxurious snack or drink that they may not buy for themselves? That’s what’s so great about gifts that revolve around beverages and/or food. You can curate a food and beverage gift box for just about every taste and treat.
Here are some examples of box themes you can use, plus brands that can put them together for you:
- Tea (Big Heart Tea Co) or coffee (Bean Box)
- Cookies (Levain Bakery)
- Custom-tailored wine bottles (Personal Wine)
- Popcorn (Pop on the Block)
- Fresh fruit (The Fruit Company)
- Charcuterie gift set (Williams Sonoma)
- Spices (Spiceology)
- Healthy snacks (SmartBox)
Remember to keep your clients’ possible allergies in mind when putting together or shopping for your gift basket. Lots of custom boxes print allergen information on the box or include it in their product descriptions.
Client Gift Idea #6: A personalized video
Last but not least, there’s video. We love the idea of creating and sharing a personalized video of client images and sending it as a gift. This idea may require a little more of your time, but it’ll make a big impression on the recipient. You might even convince them to buy a print or print product for themselves, or for someone else as a holiday present.
You can put together a video slideshow using the video platform of your choice, like YouTube or Vimeo. And if you want to add your video to your Gallery Intro Message, we explain how to do it here.
How much to spend on client appreciation gifts?
We know these client gift ideas have your mental wheels turning — but there’s also the element of budget to consider. Your client appreciation gift budget depends on your business, your session fees, and the print products and gifts you offer.
As a rule of thumb, though, we recommend keeping your gift budget under 10% of your session price. It’s also a great idea to “bake” that percentage into your session fee, so you can set aside that money to send your clients a great gift without dipping into your profits.
It’s also important to think about taxes: The IRS only lets you write off $25 per client per gift, so you’ll want to keep that in mind. Branded items with your logo or other elements can count as advertising, though, giving you more of a tax-deductible price range.
Show your clients you care
These client appreciation gift ideas are literally tokens of your appreciation! They’re meant to show that you’re grateful for their business and value them as a client. Whichever gift ideas you choose, and whether you DIY them or go with a third-party service, remember one thing: give your clients gifts from the heart.
Don’t pick gifts last minute, or go with something that doesn’t mesh with your photography studio brand because it’s cheaper. Choose a gift that’s authentic, that makes you feel good, that you’d be happy to receive yourself. That’s what your clients will love.
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Photos by Katie Dawn Photo