What Gifts do your Subscribers Really Want?

Subscriber gifts -10%off, $25off, digital art

Do you know what gifts your subscribers really want?

Surprisingly, not all gifts will be welcomed by your subscribers…

…and they can even do your business more harm than good!

On my birthday I received three gifts as a loyal customer and subscriber. These gifts prompted an array of emotions and outcomes, from making my day to a loss of goodwill.

Due to this experience, I asked my fabulous subscribers to vote for the birthday gift they would most like to receive from a business – $25 off, 10% off or personalised digital art. The caveats, fine print and details were taken from the birthday gift emails I received as a long time customer of each (5+ years).

The results provided fascinating insights, which all business owners could benefit from if they apply the information to their operations. The findings also made it clear how important it is to look closely at the ‘gifts’ you give to subscribers and what steps you need to take to avoid destroying your carefully nurtured relationship.


Subscriber gift $25 off

$25 off all items, except the clearance store

Subscribers who voted for this clothing retailer’s offering: 33%

  1. $25 off the price is like getting something for free!  A third of my subscribers showed they definitely liked this kind of gift.
  2. We know that to save $25, we had to spend money, but if you are already a regular and loyal customer, you will probably be making a purchase at sometime in the future. And you could spend it on anything you like, including sales items.
  3. The clearance store was prohibited in this instance, however, you need to look at this from a business perspective. Items are already heavily discounted by the time they make it to the clearance store, so the company (probably) won’t make money on the sale and they run the risk of it costing them.
  4. Personal Impact/Outcome – I bought myself a couple of presents with my $25! This equated to 8.5% off the bill, all items were on sale and shipping was included. The voucher encouraged me to pamper myself, even though prior to receiving the gift voucher I hadn’t thought of going shopping. Looks like a win-win for the company AND me!

Subscriber gift 10% off

10% off full-price items only

 Subscribers who voted for a different clothing retailer’s offering: 0%

  1. The fact that no one voted for this option, made it obvious my negative reaction to it wasn’t unique. The restrictions on this ‘gift’ voucher irritated me. They gave the impression the gift was at the company’s convenience and my preferences were not considered.
  2. For over 10 years, I’ve been a regular and loyal customer of this business. As a company they maintain a high product standard, they are sustainable and their clothes complement my lifestyle. I also like the design and fit. They have accumulated an abundance goodwill from me over the years, which magnified my disappointment in them. The ‘gift’ was the trigger for the bulk of that goodwill being wiped away in the space of one email.
  3. This could be an irrational feeling, however, the feelings of your customers are what you need to appeal to, not their rationality. The 10% discount cost them more in the long run. I didn’t use the discount, I didn’t buy anything full price or on sale, then or since. Would I have noticed the lack of a ‘gift’ on my birthday? Probably not, but the arrival of this one definitely caught my attention.
  4. Personal Impact/Outcome – They lost sales. If it had been available on all items, I would have received a bit more birthday pampering. Most of their items eventually end up on sale with more that 10% off, so I chose to wait. Their clothing isn’t high street fashion and won’t go out of vogue in the next 6+ months. This is a want, not a need. I can wait for my next purchase (if I choose to make one) to be at my convenience and to suit my preferences, not theirs.

Subscriber gift art

Personalised Digital Art

Subscribers who voted for an artistic representation of their flights taken in the past year, created ‘live’ and downloadable: 67%

  1. By far, this was the winner with two thirds of the votes.
  2. This gift didn’t offer any financial incentive for the customer or result in a direct sale for the airline. On the other hand, it did generate positivity, word-of-mouth referrals and brought them to the forefront when considering and discussing who to fly with.
  3. This gift resonated due to its uniqueness and personal touch, as the subscriber’s travelling year was visually represented by the airline.
  4. It inspired me to increase my flights during the coming year, wondering what next year’s art would look like. I shared the link, watched the art being created multiple times and downloaded the printable version (they thoughtfully provided different file sizes and formats to facilitate this).
  5. Personal Impact/Outcome – $25 off a flight wouldn’t make me book a flight, though 10% off is tempting (as long as it didn’t come with a lot of caveats!). However, you can save more than 10% by being careful when choosing the day and flight times. I wouldn’t have shared and discussed these gifts of $25 and 10% off with others. The airline definitely won word-of-mouth referrals with the digital art, which was enhanced and backed up by their consistent and reliable service. I’ve flown internationally with them on countless occasions and their standard has never faltered.

You need strong foundations in place for subscriber gifts to be of benefit to the customer or your business

When you consider these options and what gifts to share with your subscribers, bear in mind that I’ve been a happy and active customer of each of these companies for years. This is due to their consistent and excellent service and products, which have encouraged my repeat business and my recommendation of them to others.

You should also consider that these results aren’t necessarily reflective of all subscriber preferences. The results are a representative of my subscriber demographics and psychographics.

Consider your own audience, question them, test assumptions and rethink the status quo

By doing so, you can avoid doing more harm than good to your brand and/or business. Your customers have the power to unsubscribe at the click of a button and you should pay attention to those that do. Here are some excellent ways you can benefit from assessing those clients who unsubscribe.

If you have any insights as a subscriber or a business owner, I would love to hear them.


Rebecca Collett, Founder of Snowed Under Solutions

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