Who doesn’t like a present?! Leverage this simple idea to generate reciprocal goodwill in your prospects and customers. Gifting as a social custom is deep-rooted in virtually all cultures. It is hardly surprising, then, that marketers are turning to digital gifts to display empathy and generate goodwill among their prospects and customers in this digital age.
What is Digital Gifting?
First things first, let’s get the basics right. What is digital gifting? As the term indicates, it is nothing but offering non-physical gifts instead of digital products. It could also refer to using the digital medium to deliver presents to the recipient. In the digital-first era we live in, this kind of present offers an easy and convenient means of gifting and gift delivery. Digital gifting may be used for self-use gifts or for gifting to other individuals or organizations. Examples of digital gifting include IBM’s Discover feature that allows you to buy and share stickers, prepaid phone credit, vouchers, and even airplane tickets. Another instance of it can be seen in the case of GO-TIX that lets you shop for and share movie tickets simply and easily.
Why is It Making Waves Across the Marketing World?
Why has digital gifting become so popular?
Long story short, nobody likes to be sold to. But everyone appreciates some pampering! In fact, digital gifting is among the perfect antidotes to the over-marketing that customers around the world are facing today. This is but one of the reasons involved in the success of digital gifting. Others include the cultural significance of the act of gifting, the reciprocal goodwill generated, and so on.
Also, when it comes to digital gifting, the context just cannot be ignored. We are living in a post-COVID world - a fact that has impacted digital gifting greatly. The rise and rise of the concept in the post-pandemic world come as no surprise. With people separated by spaces, digital means of gifting prove to be the safest, quickest, and most convenient in these times. In fact, research by KPMG and GCVA found that digital gift card sales rose by nothing short of a whopping 50% during the lockdown.
The broader context here is that the world is turning more and more digital by the day. A study showed that 39% of millennials purchase e-gifts at least once in three months (compared to only 26% of Gen X consumers and a mere 14% of baby boomers), and 72% of the millennial population have used e-gifts and alternative payment methods. Adding to this are factors such as cost-effectiveness, flexibility, convenience, personalization options, and the sheer variety of gifting options available.
Attributes of Successful Digital Gifting Campaigns
What makes digital gifting tick? As a marketer, what do you need to do to ensure the success of your e-gifting program? Here are three key aspects of digital gifting campaigns that make them tick… and stick in the minds of consumers!
1. High Discoverability
Ensure your digital gift card campaigns are easily discoverable by optimizing them for desktop and mobile experiences. In addition, prioritize the gifting experience when designing your marketing campaign and take care that you use the right distribution channels to reach your target audience accurately.
2. A Positive Buyer Experience
Weave in personalization capabilities, speedy delivery, multiple delivery options, and a choice of currency options/denominations when designing the buyer end of your digital gifting campaign.
3. A Hassle-Free Recipient Experience
Remember that you’re not dealing with a purchase here but a present! Ensure you include an exciting and engaging reveal of the gift. Add to this essential capability, such as mobile app support, clear messaging, and a speedy time-to-receipt to enable campaign success.
5 Digital Gifting Campaign Ideas for Driving Conversions at Scale
1. Before, During, and After Digital Events
At a time when over 60% of organizations are moving towards digital events in place of physical ones, differentiating your event becomes critical to ensuring that it stands out, draws the right audience, and brings in the kind of registrants who actually attend the event.
This is where digital gifting comes in. Offering a gift for attending or even staying until the end of an event can considerably incentivize these actions. Another approach here is to use digital gifting to add a promotional hook to your strategy by offering gifts to the first ‘x’ individuals who register or attend the event.
Another approach is to send virtual stickers to registrants that they can use to pin to their profiles during the event to increase the sense of community that arises through the event's course.
2. For Downloading or Viewing Your Content
Content can be a powerful tool to engender trust towards your brand among your prospects and customers. Encourage the consumption of the content your organization produces by hooking your potential readers with a gift to be won for downloading or viewing your content, be it an ebook, whitepaper, or how-to guide. Ensure your content and gift are valuable to your readers, and rest assured that you will remain top-of-mind to them for weeks to come!
3. For Contributing to a UGC Campaign
User-generated content is a valuable asset for B2B marketers and one that B2B organizations are keen to tap into. The reasons are many. A couple of compelling ones are apartments from these statistics: UGC campaigns are 20% more effective when it comes to influencing purchase decisions and 35% more memorable than other types of media.
Digital gifting can be an excellent tool to encourage your users to participate in a drive to source user-generated content or UGC. Another approach that can be used here is to send a gift that can be useful for other purposes and to generate UGC, such as a creative non-fiction writing guide that you can then encourage your users to use to pen-down their memorable experiences and moments with your brand.
4. To Liven Up Your Lead Nurturing Strategy
No matter what sort of database they’re dealing with, 54% of email marketers say that improving the engagement rate is their key goal for emails. And adding a gift to your lead nurturing strategy can be a great way to improve engagement rates and have your marketing qualified leads (MQLs) turn into sales qualified leads (SQLs).
However, tangible goals such as the above shouldn’t be the only objective here. Digital gifts can go a long way when it comes to encouraging advocacy, promoting retention, or simply rewarding a user for a long-term subscription to your newsletter, etc. Referral programs offer yet another avenue for gifting. You could offer a digital gift for a predetermined number of referrals or influence a certain amount of revenue.
5. For Podcast Listeners
Say you have a guest speaker on your podcast. It can be useful to pass on a password to listeners, who can then access their gift by entering in their email id and the received password. This can work in two ways - to send users their gift and gather leads for your email marketing program.
Blast from the Past: Some Major Gift Campaigns that Knocked the Socks Off Their Recipients!
Find out about M&S’ Xmas campaign that reached a potential audience of 2.9 million!
Take the example of Marks & Spencer, the leading British clothing retail chain that leveraged the power of gifting to gain traction among American shoppers ahead of the peak holiday season of the year. Not a single advertisement was run, nor a paid social campaign embarked upon.
Instead, on a budget of not more than $3,250, the brand reached a potential audience of 2.9 million customers by using digital gifting targeted towards influencers alone. Personalized Monogrammed Christmas stockings and English breakfast tea, along with handwritten notes to a mere 20 influential customers in key US geographies, did the job.
The response was massive. Instagram posts and Stories, and other ongoing content poured in during the weeks and even months after the collaboration. And all this, with no payment made to the influencers. In the final analysis, given the size of the audience and the commercials involved in engaging influencers otherwise, the free publicity was well worth several times the brand’s investment.
In another instance that showcases the stupendous power of gifting, Adobe found that an appreciation gift of a Starbucks gift card offered to webinar attendees at the end of the event boosted registration and attendance by nothing short of 50%! Also, the follow-up email campaign that began with “Thanks for joining us! How was your coffee?” and offered a link to a trial or an e-book download saw the click-through rates soar to the highest of all their email campaigns.
IBM is yet another major brand that has achieved astounding increases in sales and customer acquisition by embracing digital gifting and integrating it into their marketing campaigns.
With digital gifting seeing massive year-on-year growth, it is clear that this trend is here to stay. As marketers, what you need to remember is that for digital gifts to drive sales, they needn’t always result in a sales call or meeting. Digital gift works indirectly, such as improving brand awareness, increasing brand recall and affinity, promoting customer retention, and encouraging advocacy - all of which contribute to achieving just that: higher sales figures!