In 1995, Blockbuster was the first to issue a gift certificate (gift cards), and most retails got on the bandwagon and started issuing them soon after that.

For me, gift certificates were huge, and it kept my business going strong. My first major distribution of gift certificates was Christmas of 1999. I made over $2,000 in gift certificate's sales that month, and it kept a steady stream of new and old clients coming in after the holidays. I even offered GC packages to current clients, and I gave them the option of using some of them and giving some away to their friends.

I was smart in the beginning and kept great documentation of sales of GCs, and I used Excel at that time (I even separated them into ½ hours, hours and 1 ½ hours). It was a great success and I over doubled my GC sales the next holiday season.

Back in the day, I used Microsoft publish to make them, and I had expiration dates on them (laws have changed and here is the link HERE) and asked for a phone number and the name of the person they gave them to. The reason I did that is, so I would call the person a month before they would expire, to make sure they wouldn’t forget about it. My success rate was over 80% for people redeeming the GCs, and I could get new clients out of it. People were very thankful that I reminded them, and I even told them they could give it to someone else, if they didn’t have the time to use it.

Valentine's day was my second biggest day, followed by Mother’s Day. I tried to advertise Father’s Day, but that didn’t work out so well. One thing I added with every GC sold, was a small sample of aromatherapy. People love little gifts and some of them kept it for themselves, and some added it to the person they gave the GC to.

To sum it up, GCs are well worth it, and if I had it to do all over again, I would have larger signs to advertise GCs. And I would have hired someone to sell GCs at my business, because when I was giving massages, I would lock the front door and put a sign on the door when I would be done. If I had someone selling them for me during December, I would have sold even more.

Blog written by Ryan Hoyme