One of the best marketing tools your small business or nonprofit can create during the holiday season is a gift guide. Everyone needs a little inspiration this time of year, so why not showcase your products and services in an easy-to-buy format?

In this post, we’ll show you examples of gift guides and explain why they work, plus we’ll give you some actionable tips to create your own.

Fitbit: Our gift guide is here!

Fitbit’s 2015 gift guide takes advantage of eye-catching graphics to capture the attention of customers and engage them with their gift guide.

Why it works:

  • Eye-catching visuals
  • Bold creative that explains why the product works for anyone
  • Clear call-to-action button with contrasting design
  • Direct language that conveys urgency

SanFranpsycho: SFP Holiday Gift Guide Launch

San Francisco-based clothing company San Franpsycho created a gift guide that offers inspiration for every person on your shopping list.

Why it works:

  • Clean and simple design and layout
  • Categories and options are front and center
  • Eye-catching pictures of each gift collection
  • Call-to-action stands out in bright red with a reminder for the last day to purchase to receive your order before the holidays

Regina Humane Society: Gift Catalog for Supporters

Nonprofits like Regina Humane Society can create a gift catalog that allows supporters to purchase products or services for those in need.

Why it works:

  • It gives meaning to each donation
  • It highlights specific services and products that supporters might not think of
  • The images draw the reader in
  • The description of each gift is in-depth

Leanhart Plumbing: Bathroom Gadget Gift Guide

This Louisville plumber thought “outside the box” and created a gift guide that clients could use. The items on the list aren’t necessarily products that people can or will buy from the company, but later on when clients are in need of plumbing services, Leanhart Plumbing will spring to mind.

Why it works:

  • A creative gift guide that’s not self-serving
  • Ideas pertain to the business

Tips to creating a gift guide

With the examples above as inspiration, you’re ready to create your own gift guide. To get started, here are a few tips to captivate your audience and increase holiday sales:

1. Pick a specific category

Keep it simple. Create gift guides that cover a specific topic or group. For example:

  • Gifts for Him
  • Gifts under $25
  • Top 5 Gifts to Give from Bob’s Auto Repair
  • 3 Homemade Gifts to Give via Sarah’s Etsy Store

Categories are crucial. Think about the last time you walked into the grocery store: there are aisles for specific needs to help make your shopping easier. By organizing your gift guide in similar buckets, you can help your customers find what they’re looking for with ease.

2. Highlight three to seven items

You don’t want to overwhelm your viewers, so don’t try to highlight every product or service that you offer in one guide. Remember, you can create and send more than one guide during the holiday season. It’s better to send several smaller guides than it is to send one big one.

3. Use visuals

Your gift guide should showcase the items or services that you want people to buy. For retailers, that means taking some high-resolution photos of your products. Service-based businesses and nonprofits can take a picture of their staff offering a service, or check out sites like iStock or Shutterstock to find images that represent your business or organization.

4. Host the guide on your website or blog & email it

Your gift guide should live on your website or blog. Then, email the guide to your audience linking back to your hosted gift guide. Use that same link to promote it on your social media channels. Pinterest is a hot spot for gift guides. Here’s an example.

5. Promote your guide

To make sure your guide gets maximum exposure, you’ll want to promote it. Your social media channels are a natural platform for promotion, but get creative with your posts.

Let’s say your guide highlights five items. Most small businesses will send out a tweet that says, “Check out our gift guide.” That’s fine. However, you can get more mileage out of your guide by breaking its contents into five posts. Each day for five days tweet a picture of one item, write a creative description, and share the link.

6. Make checkout easy

If someone is interested in making a purchase, the process should be simple. Make sure that links from your guide take the consumer to the checkout quickly.

Remember, in this busy holiday season, sometimes the best gift you can give your customers is to help them with their decision-making process. A great gift guide is like window shopping, but all from the comfort of your own home (or wherever your customers are opening their emails on their mobile phones).

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Editor’s note: This blog post was originally published in December 2014 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and relevance.

© 2016 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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