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Gift Cards: Giving the Gift of Business

By Industry Insider | Published July 2, 2012 | Google+

If you ask virtually any Business Owner what they need more of they will answer with:

a)      Time
b)      Customers

Time…well that is a hard one.  But Customers, there is a solution for that.

How does a Business Owner acquire a customer today?  While there are many different ways, generally they fall into one of 5 categories that I am labeling the Pyramid of Customer Acquisition.

 

 

Layer 1 of the Pyramid is Advertising.   The options available to a Business Owner are myriad, from TV to Radio to Print to Online to Mobile to Outdoor to…on and on.  It is difficult for a Business Owner to spend enough money on Advertising to be heard above the cacophonous noise in the market.  And if they are heard, the message is basically this:  The Business Owner is telling the Customer WHY they should use their products or services.

Layer 2 of the Pyramid is Reviews.  Sites like Yelp, CitySearch and Trip Advisor are places where customers review businesses to let others know of the experience they have had.  These reviews sometime exist in Social Media sites like Facebook or Twitter.  The message is basically this:  Consumers tell other Consumers that IF you decide to work with a particular business, here is what you should expect.

Layer 3 of the Pyramid is Referrals.  Similar to reviews, but this is more personal, where a Consumer tells another Consumer directly, that you SHOULD work with a particular business.

Layer 4 of the Pyramid is Coupons.  Everywhere you turn today you see Coupons, Coupons, Coupons.  Daily Deals, Groupon, Living Social and on and on.  And TV shows about Extreme Couponing.  The message is basically this: Business INCENTS a Consumer to try them out.

Layer 5 of the  Pyramid is Gift Cards.  Honestly, many Local Merchants haven’t thought of Gift Cards as a customer acquisition tool.  But what is better than getting SOMEONE else to PAY SOMEONE to GO TO YOUR BUSINESS!!!  And while there are some costs associated with a Gift program, the costs are much smaller than Layer 1 or Layer 4.  And…it virtually guarantees that someone will walk in or call your business and buy your products or services.

GiftCards.com has launched a new program to help Local Merchants with a cost effective Online Gift Card solution.  A solution that helps a local business be found…and to allow someone to create, customize and send a Gift Card to someone who will  now walk into that local business and experience its products and services…and hopefully keep coming back.

Businesses can Advertise, they can hope for Reviews and Referrals and they can develop Coupon programs.  But only a Gift Card virtually guarantees that someone will walk in and buy products!

~~ Steve Dimmitt, former CRO for GiftCards.com

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