Holiday gift giving isn’t just about a once a year transaction. Rather, it’s an opportunity to show your team members who you are as a person. This is particularly important in cases where you’re office interaction is limited and when you’re trying to be recognized as management material. How you choose your gift can make you either the butt end of a joke, where all you’re seen as is a joke, or it can work in your favor to showcase your strengths. If strengths are all you really have, the right gift can also humanize you to your colleagues and make them see you as “one of them.” In this way, the holiday gift exchange is more of a political maneuver that just another end of year event. As a pairing to my other post, “Top Holiday Gift Idea for the Office,” I decided to write a more general piece that offers a host of ideas for all of you stuck with not-so-secret-Santa or some version of a white elephant party. But rather than just shoot out another list, of which there are already so many, I’ve taken a more strategic approach. Each of the two gift ideas below offers a solution or bridges a gap in some way. Gifts That Subtly Say “Promote Me. I’m Awesome.” If you’re trying to create talking points with someone in leadership, it would be a great idea to give them a subscription to a magazine like Entrepreneur, Forbes, Inc, or Fast Company. Since this is essentially a “gift to come”, make sure it’s paired with a more tangible present they can enjoy immediately. The genius behind a magazine subscription gift is that it creates monthly opportunities to have ‘water cooler’ talks about key ideas. Of course, this also means you’re going to need to subscribe to the same magazine. It’s an effortless way of creating conversation that highlights you as being on-trend in business. Forbes’ Jacquelyn Smith offers another great idea in her article titled, “The Best Holiday Gifts For Your Boss,” where she writes: “If he or she has a special hobby like photography or golf, don’t get your boss a coffee table book or golf balls. Go one step further and reserve a tee time or a spot in a photography class, instead. This shows that you’ve paid attention to his or her interests.” Gifts That Show You Have a Sense of Humor Gifts that show a sense of humor and a generic one at that which can be applied to a white elephant party setting, are even trickier. Here you’ve got to think of everyone rather than focus on just the preferences of one person. Brit + Co has a great article by Anjelika Temple with a long list of totally affordable gift ideas that are sure to be a talking point at your white elephant party. The idea behind a white elephant party is to give a gift that is going to get “stolen” for the maximum number of times. Psychologically, this is important because you’re trying to directly link yourself to something that’s highly desirable – in this case, a totally great wild card gift. My personal favorite in this list would have to be the Nicholas Cage pillows and the fish bath plug. When it comes to holiday office gift-giving, what you give speaks volumes about who you are as a person. All of us can recall boring, uninspired, or even inappropriate gifts that certainly left a mark on your relationship with our colleagues. If the gift is flat out cheap or thoughtless, it’s human nature to brand those feelings as representative of the giver’s character. Conversely, if it was a personalized, thoughtful, or creative gift, we equally impress those traits onto our colleagues. You should really be putting just as much thought into your gift idea as you do into anything else that matters for your actual job.
One of the more stressful activities during this season’s holiday festivities is your yearly office holiday party. While it’s an opportunity ripe for creative expression, it’s also a time when there’s a magnifying glass behind which is an entire staff closely examining your gift of choice. What you ultimately decide to wrap up and place under the tree at the office is going to say a lot about who you are as a team member – and sometimes even as a leader. For the idea challenged, I’ve come up with an idea sure to get you kudos for creativity and prime you for success this holiday season. Most creative offices now have a reading nook, be it a bookshelf or a private collection that showcases thought leadership. This collection is usually a composite of some industry books paired with some heavy hitter titles written by the genius minds of Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin and the like. Your holiday gift this season will add to that collection – moreover, in the eyes of the recipient, it will forever link you with that brilliant collection because one of these books came from you. What Do You Do With An Idea? is that book. It’s a children’s book, technically, but sometimes a children’s book isn’t just a children’s book. Especially if you work in a creative field that values the power of innovation and entrepreneurship. If that sounds like your office environment, you might want to consider this book written by Kobi Yamada. As one Goodreads reader phrased it, “This is a great book for motivating anyone that has an idea that needs to be nurtured and protected. In this fast paced world so many forget about the small ideas that have had an impact on others lives. This book is a refreshing reminder of the importance of ideas and why we should strive to keep them going.” The core concept in the book is that as your confidence grows, so does your idea. The idea is presented as an egg with a golden crown on. As you turn the pages, the book slowly ripens with color as this idea grows. Growth is shown in the increasing size of the egg and by how the main character, a little boy in this case, interacts with the idea – like carrying it in a knapsack on your back. Finally, you possess the idea; it isn’t just some external manifestation anymore. Once the idea is yours, the crown on the egg is now on your head, and your world bursts with color. It’s brilliant and scores ten points for creativity. Another Goodreads reader had this to say, “The main character…at first was overwhelmed by the fact and didn’t know what to do about [the idea]. He tried abandoning it, but he grew closer to it and started to make it better, and believed in it, showing it to others. The only real conflict was mental for the boy, first he was afraid of it, but then he gets put down by others.” What Do You Do With An Idea? covers all your gift-giving bases. Your office gift giving should be a reflection of both you as a team member and of your recipient. You want to show originality and thought leadership, but you also want to show you understand the spirit of your team and the preferences of the recipient. This time of year, especially in more relaxed office, it’s very common to get extra cheers for giving gag gifts – but real leadership isn’t about making people laugh. It’s about making people think. Your gift should be a point of conversation and not the topic of a joke.
The holiday season is a great time to step up your email marketing efforts and tighten the loyalty strings of all your subscribers. So make sure you don’t miss out on the perfect opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your subscribers - follow our great holiday email marketing tips and leave your competitors holding onto their empty stockings! Tip 1: The early bird gets the worm The prelude to the holiday season marks the start of festive excitement. With chilly weather comes the desire to make wish lists and buy presents. It is no coincidence that the start of holiday weather also marks the start of decorations, flyers and other prequels to the approaching holiday season. By promoting your goods for the upcoming holiday in advance, you get the chance to reach out to customers when they have the time, money and motivation to buy from you. This is the period where you can get the most out of shoppers, so be sure to cash in on this early bird opportunity. Tip 2: Avoid the urge to overmail In today’s age of extreme competition it is easy to see why you would want to send constant and frequent holiday emails. After all, you don’t want to chance getting left behind. However, it would be wise to remember that it is human tendency to shy away from anything that seems too eager and goes in for a hard sell. Frequent holiday emails will most likely be followed by a quick unsubscribe and an even quicker spam complaint. So if you want to keep your subscribers, make sure you don’t irritate them with too many emails. Tip 3: Cash in on vouchers, gift cards and certificates Offering vouchers and gift cards may seem like small sales but they add up to a good tenth of all holiday expenditure. Also, purchases of gift cards and certificates tend to be exchanged and returned much less frequently than actual products. Another good thing about such gifts is that they appeal to a whole segment of subscribers - your last minute shoppers! Vouchers are the perfect gift for those who have waited till the last second to buy something; with a gift certificate these shoppers are able to hand something to their loved ones even at the last moment. Tip 4: Contribute to a charity Tap into the holiday spirit and contribute towards a charity. You can inform your subscribers that a percentage of your sales will go towards this charitable organization and provide them with details regarding this donation in your emails. Donating towards a good cause has a two fold effect; it lets you contribute towards a worthy cause and also draws in consumers as it appeals to their holiday spirit. Tip 5: Analyze your previous results and plan accordingly Take a look at your strategies and results for the previous years. It would also be helpful to make a note of your competitors’ past strategies and how these worked for them. You can then plan out your strategy and goals for the upcoming festive season, based on the successes and failures of the past. Factors that you can focus on here would be the type and frequency of communication, the success of your template design and ways to ensure that your campaign is ready to be launched in time. Tip 6: Send surveys to discover preferences Surveys are a great way to discover consumer preferences and interests. Once you discover where their interests lie you will be able to target your subscribers with effective email messages that are sure to get you great results. You can even request your subscribers to provide you with customer reviews and feedback. Surveys and feedback provide you with answers to important questions such as what your subscribers are most keen to hear about, do they want to carry out their holiday shopping with you and how often do they expect you to send them holiday email marketing messages. This helps to draw a framework on which your marketing strategy can be built. Tip 7: Plan your email marketing strategy Planning your strategy would include profiling your subscribers and coming up with marketing messages that would appeal best to each segment group. Once you decide what to say, you should come up with a plan on when to say it and how frequently. Make time for messages of appreciation and decide the optimum time to introduce new gifts, upcoming sales and important countdowns. A good idea would be to get hold of a calendar and plot the dates on which you plan to send introductory and follow up emails. Tip 8: Test till you know what works best Testing your holiday email messages is an important way to realize what works best for you. By testing your emails you can fine tune your campaign and hit upon a winning formula for success. Testing allows you to tweak your messages so each delivery makes the maximum impact. It also gives you keen insight into how you can make an impression on your subscribers. It allows you to come up with the most impressive template design and discover the optimum time to start your campaign. Testing lets you reach out to your subscribers in unique yet extremely effective ways that appeal to them (one great way to reach them is through contests and free gifts). Testing also provides you with important statistics such as your bounce and conversion rate. This allows you to keep track of your progress and helps you adjust your deliveries to maximize your results. Tip 9: Continue with your campaign post holiday season The end of the holiday season doesn’t mean the end of your email marketing. On the contrary, this is the best time to tie up your holiday loose ends and draw customers back into your shop for post holiday shopping! This period is perfect for pushing voucher redemptions, cross selling goods and even marketing product upgrades. You can also use this time to make a note of the highs and lows of your overall performance and learn from your experience. The holiday season is a time of festivity, goodwill and joyous shopping! Everyone has something they would like to buy - it is YOUR job to sell it to them! Can you think of any more simple tips to boost holiday profits? Do let us know! In the meantime , check out our new holiday email templates