Gift Ideas That Will Keep You Top of Mind With Clients

Creativity and thoughtfulness is the key to giving gifts that reinforce relationships -- any time of the year.

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By Steve Eakin

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As a business, one of the most important metrics to dominate is mindshare. That is when your client, partner or a prospect thinks about your type of product or service, or better yet -- your entire category -- you come to mind first.

This is one of the all-time important metrics to hold. It's why Coke dominates Pepsi when you think about cola. It's why Band-Aid is the only brand you think of when you think of bandages. It's why people drink so much Starbucks, even when there's a really good specialty coffee shop around the corner.

Being top of mind matters. If you can get there, it's worth staying there.

Related: 19 Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Cementing a Business Relationship

Beyond going above and beyond with your product or service, one of the easiest ways to gain mindshare is with a gift. Holidays, birthday, or big milestones (for your company, or your client both personally and professionally) are great excuses to send a gift, but it's not as simple as getting something random with your name on a card and shipping it along.

You can actually do some harm, so it's important to be mindful about what your sending, and what it says about you.

You don't need to show off with your gift.

Money isn't the object here. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars in an effort to financially flex your value to someone. A thousand dollar bottle of champagne isn't memorable if the recipient hates champagne and ends up regifting it. These are your clients. Your business partners. Your prospects. You should truly know these people on a deeper level, and your gifting should showcase that.

Related: Buying a Gift for Your Boss or Your Staff? Read This First.

Generic is bad.

Don't be the entrepreneur that sends a pen, or a crappy USB charger out with your logo on it. These will be quickly discarded because they're unwanted and unneeded. On top of that, they'll have the unintended side effect of lowering your brand value with the client. It will seem as if you're sending thoughtless, and worthless, gifts -- lowering your overall value and putting a dent in a relationship that can take a long time to recover from. All from a bad gift!

The goal is to be memorable.

Being memorable means you're top-of-mind whenever the client, prospect or partner sees your thoughtful gift. And they'll be thinking of you in a good way, not shaking their head in annoyance. To be memorable, you actually have to put some thought into it. What kind of person are they? What are their hobbies? What about their passions outside of work? What do they need at their job that would make their life easier? What is something that would make them say "wow."

Perhaps they're a fitness guru, and love to indulge in some healthy treats around the holidays? Some high-end dark chocolate that fits their definition of an acceptable dessert would be a nice touch.

Maybe they like being outdoors, or really love nature. A living bonsai tree for their office would make a unique and memorable gift, sure to blow them away.

If they're a whiskey drinker, a bottle of Whistlepig would make a nice addition to their collection.

If they're a beach lover, a 4Ocean bracelet will have them thinking of you all year long.

Related: 14 of the Most Ridiculous Luxury Gifts to Spend Your Money On

When your client is thinking of you more frequently, even in a very passive manner, they'll be more inclined to reach out when they hit an issue. If it's something you can solve, you've got more work. If it's something you've seen before, but can't solve yourself, you can make an introduction. All of it further raising your stock. All of it leading to more revenue.

And if you're actually good at what you do, then being top of mind is good for them as well. If you're the best in your chosen niche, you owe it to your clients to dominate their mindshare and always remain top of mind. And the simplest way to do that is to start being more thoughtful with your gifting.

Steve Eakin

Founder of Startup Black Belt

Steve Eakin is a speaker, investor, startup advisor and the founder of Startup Black Belt, where he helps tech startups launch, grow and scale.

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