6 Gift Certificate Marketing Ideas for the Holidays

You’ve caught the holiday spirit and are ready to sell festive-themed gift cards, knowing full well that it can light up your cash flow for the off-season. But you have no idea how to get the word out about them.

Whether you ordered plastic gift cards in bulk or printed off a bunch of Canva-designed gift certificates, you might not be too keen on spending more time and money if your efforts won’t entice many gift-givers anyway. 

So, you plop them on the front desk and expect the cards to sell themselves. 

Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad idea at all. Visibility is what you need to promote gift certificates; however, it shouldn’t be your end-all, be-all gift card marketing strategy. 

And here’s the thing. You don’t need to launch an extravagant campaign or invest hundreds of dollars in advertising. There are several creative holiday marketing ideas you can employ to make extra revenue and find new guests this season. 

Let’s take a look at what they are:

(FYI, you can use these gift certificate marketing strategies all year round — for birthdays, milestones, celebrations, or any odd holidays, like Random Act of Kindness Day)

How to promote gift certificates this season

1. Add gift certificates to your website

If you’re already setting out gift cards at the front desk, why wouldn’t you also display them on your website? After all, that’s your digital storefront, so you should treat it with the same love and attention. 

And get this, digital gift cards are just as popular, if not more, than physical gift cards. Why?

  1. It’s incredibly convenient for shoppers; they don’t have to visit the store to buy it, allowing them to avoid crowds and busy parking lots
  2. There’s no shipping required; they can send the gift card to a loved one instantly (which is ideal for those looking to buy an experiential gift for someone in another part of the world)
  3. The recipient doesn’t have to worry about losing the gift card or overloading their wallet because it stays safe in their email inbox
Gift certificate page on the London Experience website

Now, with Checkfront, it’s quick and easy to set-up custom gift certificates as purchasable items on your Booking Page. Here are the steps to get started. 

But that’s not the entire strategy. The key is to place your gift certificates prominently on your website — just as you would in your store — so that visitors see it right away. You can do that by:

  • Creating a dedicated landing page for gift certificates with a spot on your navigation menu
  • Showcasing it as a popular item on your homepage with a clear call-to-action (CTA)
  • Even tailoring your homepage heading, subheading, and primary CTA for the extent of the holiday season 
  • Creating a pop-up banner that links to the landing page (above the fold content gets the most attention)

2. Send an email to previous guests

Who loves your business more than anyone? Who would be happy to spread good cheer and glad tidings about a memorable experience they’ve enjoyed themselves? Your previous guests, of course.

By sending them a gift-card focused email leading up to the holidays, you can remind them of the amazing time they had while triggering the idea of fulfilling someone else’s bucket list dream. You can even send a reminder right before the 25th for those last-minute shoppers. 

Simply export a guest list from your online booking system and create a holiday-themed message with an email marketing platform like Mailchimp. That being said, make sure you abide by privacy acts and anti-spam laws — like having an opt-out option in the email footer — before sending. 

3. Drop a hint in the booking process

The best time to encourage more spending is when a guest is knee-deep in the booking process. There are three places where you can drop a hint about your gift certificates in case they’ve got a holiday gift to buy on the back-burner:

Booking Page

Make your gift certificate the first item on your Booking Page to draw more attention during the holiday season, or bundle a package that includes a gift certificate at a discounted price. 

Product Description

In each product description, add a bold sentence at the bottom, kindly letting them know that you also have gift cards available, with a link to your gift certificate landing page.

Gift certificate reminder in product description

Thank-you Email

Along with asking for a Google review, make it easy for guests to pay it forward with a clickable gift certificate image or hyperlinked text that suggests someone they know might love to have the same experience.

Gift card mention in thank-you email

(It won’t take much convincing for someone who’s still buzzing from having the time of their life. They already know first-hand that it’s going to be a gift worth giving)

4. Generate buzz with a gift card giveaway

People go CRAZY for prize draws. Without a doubt, running a gift card contest has viral potential, especially for experiences valued at over $500. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Enter each gift card buyer into a draw to win an exclusive, magical experience 
  2. Have participants share a photo on Instagram of what they’d really rather be doing for the holidays using a unique hashtag 
  3. Offer up a couple of your gift certificates as a prize in a local sweepstakes, like a charity event or office Christmas party
  4. Team up with another local operator for a double gift card win and a full day of activities to work off that turkey belly

The best place to host a contest is on your website — where you can outline the terms and conditions — then send an email blast to your subscribers and share on social media to draw more attention. Just be sure to follow Facebook’s contest rules and Instagram’s

5. Promote gift certificates on social media

Social media activity tends to spike around the holidays as more people are on the lookout for the hottest deals and creative gift ideas. Meaning, there’s a prime opportunity to get in front of ready-to-buy eyes with posts that highlight your gift certificates. 

Gift card promotion example for Instagram post
I designed this on Canva in 2 minutes!

Now, you don’t have to be a marketing expert to run a successful social media campaign. Nor is it necessary to hire Fiverr talent to design dazzling content. You can do it all yourself by following a few simple steps:

  1. Come up with a holiday theme and colour palette to maintain consistency in your visuals, like Winter Wonderland, Santa’s Workshop, or Rustic Christmas
  2. Compile your best photos or video footage into a dedicated folder on your computer or Google Drive for easy access
  3. Decorate a stack of graphics by tweaking Canva’s social media templates with elements and colours that match your theme
  4. And/or create a few animated holiday videos with Animaker
  5. Write a bunch of caption variations that play up the gift potential 
  6. Brainstorm a list of relevant holiday and local hashtags to expand every post’s reach
  7. Schedule your posts in advance so that you can enjoy the holidays, too
  8. Link to your gift certificate’s landing page or for Instagram, use a Link in Bio tool, like Linktree or Feedlink

If you have the budget, you can take it a step further by targeting website visitors and lookalike audiences with gift card Facebook ads. This month already, I bought two gifts after seeing a couple of Instagram advertisements grace my feed. It’s not spammy; it works. Plus, you’ll already have the content to make your ads merry and bright.

6. Run a ‘Give One, Get One’ offer

Turn one gift card into two! Limited-time offers work like a charm because they entice shoppers by driving urgency. In terms of gift card sales, someone will be more motivated to buy one knowing that they’ll get to treat themselves to a fun and free experience, too.

Would a guest want a gift card for themselves, though? Yes! With a gift certificate, they have the flexibility to wait and book until it’s ideal for them, unlike buying a package deal that puts them on the hook for a date and time right off the bat. 

Will you lose money from giving away gift cards for free? Not likely! According to Mageplaza, 65% of people tend to spend more than 35% of the card’s face value. So, you’ll probably see extra spending on merchandise or add-ons by the recipient and original buyer since they both got the gift certificate for free — a double whammy.

Wrapping up

Selling gift certificates can bring a lot of new and repeat guests to your business. But if you don’t promote your gift cards and remind your audience that you offer them, you may miss out on the opportunity to increase sales.

Want more marketing tips all year round?

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