Finish the year strong with the best pop-bys, gifts and mementos for the holiday season
BY CHRISTY MURDOCK EDGAR - Originally published on Inman.com
Now that spooky season is in the past, it’s time to look forward to the end-of-year activities, including promotional gifts and marketing mementos.
Whether you’re looking to change up your current holiday giving or want to institute a new tradition, we’ve got a host of great ideas to help you get attention, stay top-of-mind and still stay on budget.
Any of these make an adorable gift when you stop by to see your 2019 clients and referral sources or your favorite lenders, title agents and other colleagues. Don’t forget to accompany your gift with a cute card to remind them of you.
A fresh wreath sure to fill their space with the scent of the season. Choose bay leaf for November or balsam for December.Holiday bulbs like Amaryllis and Paperwhites make a beautiful gift. Deliver them this week for blooms by Christmas.
You can’t beat a classic, so don’t try. Choose a gift bag of gelt to celebrate Hannukah or a tin of peppermint bark for pre-Christmas snacking.Even if you’re not a great chef, you can share a little homemade goodness with some simple holiday treats. Banana bread, puppy chow and reindeer poop are simple to make and always welcome.
Think about ways to help out clients this holiday season by providing all of the fixings for a favorite meal. Consider any of the following gift baskets or boxes:A breakfast basket with muffin or pancake mix, coffee, and jam or syrup.An appetizer basket with cheese, crackers and a bottle of good wine.A soup basket with beans, spices, crackers and a soup ladle.A cookie basket with cookie mix, cookie cutters, sprinkles and a new oven mitt.
Remind area natives why your community is so special, and help newcomers get up to speed on the best spots in the area. These also make great closing gifts for buyers.
Two coffee mugs and a pound of coffee from your favorite local coffee shop.A dozen donuts or other sweet treats from your favorite local bakery.
An ornament for the tree from an iconic local site. For D.C.-area agents, a White House ornament is always popular. For Orlando or Anaheim, a Disney ornament is a must.
Put together some swag from the local high school or college, including apparel and water bottles. Include two tickets to a basketball game or other event on campus.Buy tickets for holiday-related arts events in your area, like ballet, choral and theatrical performances. These festive events might take place at the local community theatre, college campus or in nearby churches or schools.
In many markets, football is practically a religion. Welcome newcomers and introduce them to their new hometown team, or just provide the fixings for a fun rivalry game or bowl day viewing party.
Bring a packet of chili starter as a pop-by gift along with a wooden spoon or a bottle of hot sauce.Put together a bowl day party package with a six-pack of beer from a local small batch brewery and a selection of pretzels and chips to go with it.There’s nothing as simple and delicious as a warm crockpot dip on the game day buffet. Put together the ingredients along with your favorite recipe and become part of their annual tradition.
Want a pop-by idea for a family with kids? Bring them a brand new football to toss around during halftime in their new home’s backyard.
Know a football widow who won’t be watching the big game? Give her two tickets to the movies for that day so that she can get away with a friend and escape all of the cheering.
If you want to get people thinking about the idea of new — a new house, the new spring market — tie your message to their New Year’s celebrations.
Stop by with a classic bottle of champagne and two fluted glasses so they can toast 2020 in style.Alternatively, help them recover from their late-night revelry with a Bloody Mary kit featuring vodka, Bloody Mary mix, Tabasco sauce, a jar of olives and a bunch of celery.If you’re in the South, be the first to bring them a big bag of blackeyed peas and a bunch of collards for the traditional New Year’s meal.
Stop by with a brand new calendar or planner, so that they can start thinking about their next moves.Keep the celebration going through Chinese New Year with a gift card to your favorite local Chinese restaurant.
Many of the biggest movies in the Hollywood universe are coming out over the next couple of months. Here are some film-themed ideas for your favorite movie buffs.
Pre-order your Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker tickets early for the end of the Skywalker saga. It will be a huge cultural moment, and tickets will be hard to come by. If you know families with some hard core Star Wars fans, you’ll be a hero.Many local theaters are running classic holiday movies on the big screen. Check your local listings for Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story and other beloved favorites, and then invite some of your best referral sources to a showing.
Frozen 2 promises to be a huge family film, and all of the kids will want to see it. If you’re looking for a closing gift aimed at the youngsters in the household, tickets to this one can’t miss.
Little Women is another much-anticipated film, and it opens on Christmas Day. Tickets to the film, along with a copy of the book, will make a memorable gift.For young couples who might not be able to get a sitter, consider a Netflix or Hulu gift card, so that they can share their favorite holiday movies with the kids or have a quiet night in after the kids have gone to bed.
Find out what has worked for your fellow agents and brokers this year, and get some inspiration as you plan your gift-giving for 2020.
James Rozanski, co-founder and creative director at REIGN Marketing for REAL New York
We actually did a drop to all of the landlords REAL New York works with toward the end of last summer that included rosé and a bag of “end of summer” swag such as frisbees, hats, etc.
I think it was nice and different because it wasn’t really a time of year people expected to be getting deliveries thanking them for their business. There was a lot of good feedback from it.
I would say alcohol is safe and often given in general, but the custom label took a little more foresight and effort than just sending something from the store (and was a great branding opportunity).
Agent Christopher Totaro, Warburg Realty
I give out 500 totes a year at the “Taste of TriBeCa” which is one of the oldest food festivals in NYC. The event is run by two local schools, one of which my son attends, and I am on the PTA.
I have a booth at the event, and the bags are filled with giveaways including a simple thank-you card with my contact info.
I always love to see my bags on people’s arms during and after the event in TriBeCa.
If you want someone to hold onto something, make sure it has a cool logo or something that is a bit of a badge of honor: ”I’m cool because I attended this event.”
Arlene Reed, broker, Warburg Realty
For a closing gift, I gave a client of mine three gift certificates for $300 each for restaurants in the neighborhood of the condo she purchased. She loved it.
My client moved from a townhouse uptown to a condo on 60th Street. I purchased three gift certificates from three restaurants on 60th Street (Avra, Bilbouquet and Il Mulino). I thought it would be a great introduction to her new neighborhood restaurants.
Ashley Baskin, licensed real estate agent, serves on the advisory board for Home Life Digest
For me, it’s important to give something useful and memorable to celebrate a close. Branded merchandise sometimes feels too impersonal for this occasion, so I keep it to a minimum.
For my closing gifts, I try to cater to each individual client’s taste by using gift baskets full of items that fit their interests or hobbies. Sometimes items can be engraved with my name, company logo or contact information, but not if I think it will be too cheesy.
Wine gift baskets are always popular, and while I like to create customized wine bottles and wine keys, the rest of the gifts are best to add to the home and help them celebrate. I like to include nice glassware, coasters, snacks and cheeseboards to round things off.
The customized commemorative wine bottles give them something fun and memorable to talk about while the rest of the gift can be enjoyed for years.
A coffee gift basket is another great one for the right client. I do it the same way as the wine, only with commemorative bags of coffee and an engraved French press to keep me on the top of their mind for future sales.
For the outdoorsy type, I swap the basket for a high-quality cooler with my name and company logo on it, along with some very nice Yeti brand personalized insulated mugs. The rest I fill with fun things from the sporting goods store based on their favorite outdoor hobby.
I feel that by choosing things that are relevant to their interests, it demonstrates that I was listening to them during the buying process. It builds trust and makes me more memorable when it comes to building client referrals.
Robyn Flint, insurance specialist, founding owner of Property Wise
I love Reminder Media for their take on a promotional magazine that is top quality and something of a keepsake. I can choose content and personalize, but the hard stuff like creating and printing is done for me.
You want to use marketing materials that leave a lasting impression and cause those receiving your marketing tools to think of you for all of their homebuying and selling needs.
Nothing gets results more than your personality and relationship with others. Keep in touch. Send handwritten cards for birthdays, anniversaries and homebuying anniversaries.
When giving congratulatory gifts at closing, I always remember to include gifts for kids and pets. It’s a family home, so it’s a family gift. Go above and beyond whenever you can because that is what will make the real estate transaction memorable.
What did we miss? Please share your top-of-mind tactics in the comments section below.
Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate. She is also a Florida Realtors faculty member. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.