"Create your own custom holiday gift cards"According to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, gift cards are high on their shopping list. In fact, according to that survey, shoppers are expected to spend an average of $155.43 on gift cards for 2011 which could result in $27 billion spent on gift cards this holiday season.

Why would you want to use Gift Cards in your business? Here are just a few reasons:

• Gift cards can double your site or store traffic.

• You get instant money for your gift card and oftentimes the recipient of the gift card will spend more than the actual dollar value.

• Although this should not be a reason to offer gift cards, it is a fact that some of those gift cards are never redeamed. People misplace them, give them to others or simply don’t ever visit the business to redeem.

• Gift cards are a natural offline marketing strategy. Gift cards make it easy for your current customers to promote your business to a new audience. When they give the cards to family, friends and colleagues, the potential for a new client is increased.

• Gift cards can build your database. Everyone who purchases a card and everyone who redeems a card can be added to your list of customers.

• You can sell gift cards any time of the year and any time of the day or night (online).

• Gift cards are convenient. Customers who purchase them for their family and friends appreciate the ease of doing so.

So how do you get your piece of the ‘Gift card’ pie? You have to first create the card and then market it.

Once you have the card(s) you want to offer, the next thing you need to do is let your customers know you have them available. Here are 8 ways to promote your gift cards:

1. Be sure your gift cards are prominently displayed in your physical location AND online.

2. Brief your staff on how to promote the cards when people check out. At the very least make sure the gift card option is mentioned.

3. Offer gift cards as a nice solution to your clients for the person who has “everything.”

4. Create flyers and other promotional materials announcing your gift cards. Include in all mailings (including invoices) as well as in their bags at checkout.

5. Use signage to promote your gift cards in and around your location as well as in non-competing neighboring small businesses.

6. Mention your gift cards in all your promotional materials including your signature file in your email messages, your newsletters and more.

7. Hold a contest for your staff and give prizes to the employee(s) who sells the most gift cards in your business.

8. And finally, you can use your own gift cards as thank you gifts to your special clients and customers to market your small business.

If you have not yet done so, you may still be able to order gift cards if you can find someone with quick turnaround time – try local printers first. There is still time to sell a lot of them in the next two weeks. No matter what size your business, small business or big corporation, Custom Holiday Gift Cards make a great addition to any Offline marketing strategy.

Wishing you much success with your offline marketing efforts…

Happy Holidays!