Gift-giving is a fundamental part of human relationships.
It’s one of the best ways we know how to show our love and appreciation for the people we care about — and make them very, very happy.
So much so, that for every $10 the average American spends, $1 is spent on buying someone a gift. Crazy, right?
So, being the savvy entrepreneur that you are, you’re probably thinking: how can I get in on this action?
Well in this article I’m going to show you exactly how, with a complete gift card marketing strategy.
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The Power Of Gift Card Marketing: How And Why It’s So Effective
Gift card marketing is where you offer and promote gift cards as a way of accessing your product or service. It’s a (relatively) passive form of marketing that allows you to:
- Convert more customers.
- Reach a larger audience.
- Increase customer referrals.
- Take advantage of seasonal shopping habits.
Better still, they’re an incredibly reliable way to boost your income. Just take a look at this Google Trends data for gift cards over the last 15 years:
There’s continuous growth and demand every single year, with the biggest spikes coming around Christmas or for annual events like Mother’s Day.
And the numbers back this up. Research shows that…
- 55% of people’s yearly “gifting” budget will be spent on gift cards.
- 33% of people will spend more on a gift card than an actual gift.
- 47% of consumers between 18 and 23 prefer to receive gift cards
- 50% of consumers over up to age 37 are interested in buying gift cards
- the average consumer spends $59 more than the value of the gift card
…making them an important part of any marketing and growth strategy.
Now, you might be thinking: “this is great traditional retail, but will this work for my video on demand business?”
The short answer? Yes. The long answer? Yes, but you need to market it!
Let me show you what I mean…
TINT Yoga’s Flexible Gift Card Marketing Strategy
One of the ways they’ve grown their audience and profits is by using gift card marketing. They do this identifying holidays and events throughout the year to promote their gift cards.
Take Mother’s Day, for example.
TINT created a whole campaign to promote their gift cards to both potential and existing customers. They included it in their Instagram bio:
They created standalone posts to promote it:
And they had a dedicated landing page for the Mother’s Day audience:
This is a great gift card marketing strategy because it ties in perfectly with their ideal customer demographic, a spike in demand for gifts, and creates a frictionless buying experience.
Having this option available appeals to a number of people. They:
- Want to give a digital gift (like access to a VOD platform).
- Know the other person uses a service and would like to gift it to them.
- Have been asked to gift a specific service.
- Need to buy a last minute gift.
- Feel like a service might be a good fit for someone they know.
You could go from seeing their Instagram post to having a hassle-free Mother’s Day gift in less than 5 minutes! Not bad, right?
In the next section, I’m going to show you how to set up a gift card marketing strategy for your VOD business. Let’s go…
How To Create A Gift Card Marketing Strategy
In this section, I’m going to show you how to create a reliable, repeatable gift card marketing strategy. You’re going to:
- Identify relevant calendar dates
- Plan your marketing materials
- Schedule campaigns for your “owned” channels
- Explore paid promotion options
- Review your analytics for the next campaign/promotion
If you’re a Uscreen customer, the gift card feature should already be active on your dashboard, so you can move through these steps without needing to set anything up!
Let’s get into it…
1. Identify Relevant Calendar Dates
The first step is to review a calendar for the next year (or at least the next quarter) and identify any dates, events, or celebrations that are relevant to your product or brand.
You can use a marketing calendar, like this free one from Sprout Social, to help you find these.
You ideally want to highlight 2-4 dates per year that you want to market your gift cards around. And, it’s important that all of these dates:
- Are typically gift-giving holidays or dates.
- Are relevant to your product, industry, or demographic.
There are some core dates like Christmas, birthdays and even wedding anniversaries that fit every audience.
Let’s say you run an educational business that teaches technology-based subjects, like Innovalab:
You’d want to look for dates that intersect with gift-giving and your demographic, like a college graduation.
If you feel like you’re clutching at straws to find a relevant date, you should just stick to big recurring annuals events that fit your demographic, for now, like:
- Valentine’s Day.
- Mother’s or Father’s day.
2. Create Gift Card Landing Pages
The next step is to create a standalone landing page for each of your chosen gift card dates, plus a date-neutral one to include on your website year-round.
This will give you:
- One general gift card landing page that’s always available on your website.
- Multiple specific pages you can promote on your marketing channels.
If you’re a Uscreen customer, you’ll find a feature in your Marketing Tools called Landing Pages:
You can use this feature to quickly and easily create sales pages for your gift cards. Those pages serve as a landing page specifically dedicated to selling gift cards to your leads.
TINT Yoga does this by having a standalone landing page that leads to this generic gift card option:
And a page they promote for Mother’s Day that uses more specific language. (Bonus points for using COVID-19 relevant wording too!)
Having a specific landing page for each different event is really important because the needs, and mentality, of potential customers changes.
If you’re looking for a gift for your partner for your wedding anniversary, you’ll be in a different emotional place than buying a birthday present for your Dad, for example.
Getting this right will have a positive impact on your conversion rates. And, if you need any help writing your landing page, here’s a great list of tips from HubSpot.
3. Schedule Campaigns For Your Marketing Channels
The third step is to schedule updates to promote your gift cards for all of your marketing channels.
You’ll want to start your promotions between 14 and 28 days ahead of time. This gives your audience enough time to see the updates and act on them.
Dates like Christmas and Father’s Day will take place on the same day for the majority of your audience. So, you can easily plan and schedule when to start promoting.
I recommend you use a tool like Google Calendar to set a reminder:
You can also use scheduling tools for your newsletter and social media channels to have relevant links go out ahead of time, making this an even more passive process!
Here’s a rough guideline for how this might look on social media:
- 25 days out: your first ‘hype post’ about the gift card; a quick reminder that the event is coming up and you have something exciting in store.
- 21 days out: create a social post about the gift card. Add CTA links to your posts, and your bios.
- 17 days out: publish a reminder post to explain why this is a great gift.
- 10 days out: [optional] run a giveaway of a subscription for the event and share links to purchasing the gift card
- 5 days out: if you ran a giveaway, announce the winner and share a reminder post about the upcoming event with links to the gift card page
- 2 days out: publish a final reminder post. This is the most important to create urgency. Focus on the fact this is their last chance!
- Event day: share a “happy [your event]” post
And for your email newsletter, look to send one email per week promoting your gift card:
- Week 1: talk about the upcoming event and share your gift card as a potential option.
- Week 2: send an email about relevant gift ideas for the upcoming event and include your gift card as an option. (Eg. 10 Father’s Day Gift Ideas For Artistic Dads)
- Week 3: add urgency and mention that it’s only one week until the event, and include a CTA to your gift card
- Week 4: make a “final call” for the upcoming event with a CTA to your gift card
- Day before event: send one final email blast to pick up a gift card
If you also send out a weekly non-promotional newsletter, then you could include a link to your gift card as “ps: it’s [event] soon. Why not pick up a gift card?” at the end of your message.
4: Explore Paid Promotions
Paid promotions can be a great way to support your organic promotions, and generate even more income.
This is especially important if social media is a core part of your strategy, so you can ensure your message is seen by your audience!
You can use paid advertising to target:
- People upcoming birthdays or wedding anniversaries.
- People whose social media connections have upcoming birthdays or anniversaries.
- Specific subsections of your current audience.
- People with high-intent outside of your current audience.
Paid ads are a little beyond the scope of this article, so I recommend you take a look at this guide from our resident paid advertising expert, Dana – Paid Advertising For Your VOD.
5: Review Your Analytics For The Next Promotion
After each gift card promotion, it’s a good idea to review your analytics data to see what worked, what didn’t, and what you can do differently next time.
Uscreen’s marketing tools can help you see important information like…
- demographic data
- traffic sources
- conversion rates
- audience behaviour
…so you can make informed decisions about how to improve your gift card marketing strategy. Better still, you can set up tools like Abandoned Cart Emails to help you make more sales!
Wrapping This Up…
Gift cards can be a great (almost) passive way to grow your income and take advantage of seasonal spikes in demand.
You can create a gift card marketing strategy by:
- Identifying relevant dates: these are times of year where the need to buy a gift intersects with your audience
- Creating landing pages: build a landing page for each event’s gift card
- Scheduling promotions: on your organic marketing channels, like social media and email newsletters
- Exploring paid options: like social media advertising that will send traffic to your landing pages
- Reviewing your analytics: use Uscreen’s marketing tools to identify what did and didn’t perform well in your gift card marketing campaign
If you have any questions about using gift cards, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our customer success team to help you further!