We’re all about that killer client experience, right? Client experience starts before they’re your client and continues after the work is done. Maintaining client relationships after the gallery is delivered and the invoice is settled is what will make your client experience next level. And a next level client experience is how your name gets mentioned organically (did someone say word of mouth leads?), you get repeat clients (yes please), and you just build some really awesome relationships (you can’t beat that).
One of my favorite ways to keep in touch with clients after everything has been wrapped up is to send client gift boxes. It’s such a great way to surprise your clients and make them feel extra special and appreciated. It also gives you a chance to reflect back on their wedding or elopement (or whatever their big event may have been) without the pressure of “being on the job” that you felt at the time. It’s always nice to see the day and the memories you captured for someone closer to how they see it themselves.
WHY SEND CLIENT GIFT BOXES
You might be thinking there are tons of other ways to maintain client relationships after the gallery is delivered. And you’re right. And there’s no reason not to do those things as well. But client gift boxes will really take things to the next level. As photogs, we’re always so grateful for our clients, right? They’re the whole reason we get to do what we do. So why not go the extra mile and really show them?
Think about how you feel when someone goes out of their way to express their gratitude for you. It feels good. It’s the exact same thing for our clients. Let’s not beat around the bush, our clients pay us a lot of money, so going out of our way to acknowledge the role they play in our business is a beautiful way to make sure they know they weren’t just another invoice number or a to-do on the timeline. And that’s pure gold.
HOW TO CREATE A GREAT CLIENT GIFT BOX
So, now that you’re convinced client gift boxes are a total game changer 😉 let’s talk about how to create a killer client gift box.
- Make it personal to the client – This is the most important thing when it comes to client gift boxes. Make them as personal as possible. Don’t worry, there are ways to do this where you don’t have to dream up entirely different ideas for every client. Some ways that I like to personalize my packages are to send water bottles with their names on them, a framed picture of my favorite shot from their day, and a Star Map with the location and date of their big day. These are all super personal to each client but also keeps things streamlined. To make things extra personal, I do like to select one unique item per client. This really adds the personal factor but I only have to come up with one completely unique idea for each client.
- Make it personal to you – What I mean by this is just to make it clear that you put thought and consideration into the gift box. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a pre-made gift box (in fact, there’s more on that later) because you can still put your own spin on them! But the more you can showcase that your personal style went into the gifts, the more personal it feels to your clients. Obviously you don’t want to just pick things that you like. But choosing a picture frame that has your own flare to it is going to feel a little more thoughtful than a generic fruit basket, if you know what I mean.
- Package it beautifully – You obviously want things to be packaged carefully so that nothing is damaged during shipping, but still try to make it aesthetically pleasing. You don’t want clients to open up a box that looks like it was shipped straight from a warehouse because it’s just wrapped in bubble wrap and packing paper. Instead try adding in some filler for protective cushioning that lets the gifts still be front and center when they open the box.
- Send it at the right time – Timing is surprisingly important here! You don’t want to send the box too soon after gallery delivery because it might feel rushed or just like “part of the process.” But you also don’t want to wait so long that the clients think to themselves “did they forget to send this sooner?” Getting the timing just right makes for the perfect surprise. A few months after gallery delivery typically feels like a good timeframe to send out client gift boxes because it’s still a pleasant surprise without feeling super random.
WHAT TO PUT IN CLIENT GIFT BOXES
A lot of what you put in your client gift boxes will depend on your pricing and your budget. For example, I send out a little more to clients that select a higher priced package than those that select a smaller package. You’ll want to set a budget that feels appropriate to you and your clients. Regardless of what that looks like, here are some ideas to get you started on what to include in client gift boxes.
Items that you could include in every client’s gift box:
- Personalized items for each person – I mentioned that I like to send water bottles with each person’s names on them, but you could do this with coffee mugs, socks, or even one blanket if they now share a last name. An added bonus is to subtly include your branding, maybe through fonts or colors. This helps keep things professional while still being personal.
- Framed picture – Choose your favorite shot from their big day and put it in a frame. Try to select a frame that reflects your branding and personal style but is also fairly versatile. I personally love this frame. And of course, choosing a photo you love of the couple is such a special touch.
- Personalized map – There are a lot of options for this type of thing, but I love to send my client’s star maps from Mapiful. Each map is unique to the constellation at the time and place of their big day. You can also customize the style and text to make it fit you and/or your client’s styles as closely as possible.
- Small succulent – This is just a nice added touch! Succulents are durable so they typically ship well and make it to their destination alive and in one piece. They’re also a great option in case you’re unsure if your clients have a green thumb.
- Thank you note – Don’t forget the thank you note! A handwritten note is the perfect finishing touch to a nice box of goodies.
Items that make great unique personalized options:
- Bottle opener
- Dog handkerchief
- Cutting board
- Gift card to a restaurant you know they love
If you don’t have the time to handcraft your own boxes or the space to keep the items until you’re ready to ship them off, you can always use a gift giving service like Knack! Knack is a great option because you can still personalize your gifts to some extent. You don’t have to just send a standard package that’s already put together with no say in what goes into it. You can select from different items they have to offer as a way to put your own touch to it. They also have the option to include your branding, which will definitely keep things from feeling too “stock.”
When it comes to client gift boxes, I say go all in. If you’re going to spend the time and money to send a thank you gift to your clients, you may as well make it as special as possible. Your clients will love the surprise and feel so appreciated and that seriously goes such a long way.
There is a ton of information here for you, but if you want to learn about how you can keep things organized and how to prepare your gift boxes, come join us over in Psyched Society! We also have an awesome Facebook group you can hang out in for free if you’re not quite ready to subscribe.