Why a little gift is a smart low budget business marketing tactic

We all love a surprise gift – no matter who it’s from.

And just because you’re a business person, or a business customer, doesn’t mean you’ve suddenly become a robot. PEOPLE make purchasing decisions, even in B2B.

I wanted to share this fantastic initiative by MailChimp, who I’ve just signed up to use for a client because of their snazzy RSS-to-Email service (more about that in another post…I think it’s going to be GOLD for those who never seem to find time to send newsletters).

My first campaign was just automatically broadcast and this little email arrived in my inbox. Not only did it say my campaign had been sent – but there’s mention of a gift.

So, not one to look any gift horse in the mouth, I clicked on “Gimme My Gift”.

Turns out I got to pick my size of a Mail Chimp T-Shirt, and there’s one coming over the pond to me! Yes, a free t-shirt. In the mail. Something physical and tangible from this most intangible of services.

I doubt my reaction of delighted surprise is unique. Yes, I know it’s just a promo t-shirt, that I will maybe only wear to bed. But that’s not the point.

Not only have I had a great business experience – the email went where it was supposed to, etc – but my purchasing decision has been re-enforced again. Instead of my next interaction being a bill, it’s a gift. GREAT experience.

And whilst this is hardly zero budget – the tshirt and postage may run $10-$15 – as my MONTHLY spend with them will be at least $50, this is a tiny cost. A $15 gift for $600 of business annually. That’s only 2.5% of my annual spend. Starting to see the marketing magic?

This program is automated, but feels personal. It’s re-inforcing the brand. It’s making me feel smart for buying. And it’s remembering that KEEPING customers is as important – if not more important – than acquiring them.

What can your small business marketing program take from this? What little surprise can you give to a customer to improve their day – and help solidify your business relationship?