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How to 2X Revenue With Gift Cards for Small Business Owners

See how one member made $4500 in 2 weeks selling gift cards & learn how to turn your gift cards for small business owners from good to great with real-life examples.


Since we introduced HoneyBook gift cards for small business owners, members are inspiring us with the myriad ways they’re using them to promote their services—and even doubling their income within two weeks. Gift cards allow clients to buy digital credits today and redeem them in the future, so you get cash now to support you until things get back to normal. We asked Nicole Conner to give us the inside scoop on how she used gift cards to add $4,500 in revenue in just two weeks. 

Keep reading to:

[CTA_A title=”Offer gift cards now—guarantee business later “] Gift cards are a great way for your community (clients, friends and family) to easily support you through these difficult times. Clients buy virtual credits today and redeem them in the future, so you get cash now to support you until things get back to normal. Try HoneyBook Gift Cards > [/CTA_A]

Success Story: How Nicole Made $4500 With Gift Cards for Small Business Owners

The situation  

Nicole Conner of Nicole Conner Photography is a film photographer in Washington state. Like many others, she has been sheltering in place since the end of March. Because photography is deemed “non-essential” at this time, her business has suffered immensely. Compared to March 2019, gross sales were down 84% with no guaranteed future business in the form of 2020 and 2021 wedding and portrait photography bookings. 

“Historically, January-April are the months I book future wedding clients and secure wedding retainers and schedule payment plans,” Nicole says. “Since Covid-19, I have had very few new inquiries and several current projects have been rescheduled into late summer, early fall, and into 2021.”

The solution

The same day Nicole received the email announcing the arrival of HoneyBook gift cards, she created her own and started selling them. 

Here’s how:

1. Design gift card

“I designed my own customizable service gift card to use towards wedding and portrait photography or education for photographers who would like to learn film photography,” Nicole says.

2. Sweeten the deal with a discount

“I offered a limited time only discount of 25% off. My clients have loved this! They especially loved the discount because this is very very rare for me, especially as a film photographer, because of expenses.”

3. Share it far and wide with your existing audience

“Next, I sent out an email to my entire email list (over 1500 subscribers that includes clients and photographers), shared it on Instagram stories and on Facebook with a direct link. I would like to share it on Pinterest as well.”

4. Leverage it to close business with new inquiries

“The next week, I got my first wedding inquiry since Covid-19 and to close the sale I offered her the opportunity to purchase a gift card for her wedding to save 25% off. The next day, she purchased a gift card for the full wedding balance and signed her wedding proposal. What a win!”

The results

Gift cards have given Nicole’s clients a way to support her business during this time and opened up a new revenue stream for her. 

Using gift cards, she:

  • Sold $750 in gift cards in the first week
  • Booked a full wedding the following week
  • Generated $4500 overall (so far 😉)

8 Best Practices to Create Gift Cards That Sell

Gift cards for small business owners are a great way to make money now for all types of businesses. You can use them to promote various services or products, include discounts, and customize the entire design.

Best practices for creating gift cards for small business owners:

  1. Include a limited-time discount to create urgency
  2. Consider promoting gift cards for a specific service (not just an open amount)
  3. Infuse your branding into the visuals and text for a cohesive experience
  4. For service-based businesses, consider offering gift cards for physical products you can deliver at scale
  5. If offering a gift card for a unique service (like custom line art drawings), include each step of the process to show clients how easy it is to redeem
  6. Add images of your recent work and events into your messaging to help customers envision how they would use your gift card
  7. Emphasize the value your customers would receive in your gift card messaging (e.g., “Get and stay organized with a coaching session”)
  8. Pair gift card purchases with low- or no-contact deliveries for a winning combination

To inspire your own gift card designs and offers, here are some examples of how members are using them in their businesses.

Gift Card Idea for Graphic Designers

B-EZ Graphix is doing it right with a gift card that includes a discount to entice their audience to buy now. They’ve also included a link to a questionnaire for the gift card recipient to complete, giving them a head start on knowing what to expect for the project.

Gift Card Idea for Event Planners

Norris Events use gift cards to promote a specific service (day of coordination), which can help push people to purchase knowing exactly what they can use their credits for. 

Gift Card Idea for Photographers

We love how Wild Rumpus infused her branding into her gift cards’ page, creating a cohesive experience for her clients. Giving clients a reason why they should purchase now (to keep small businesses alive) and putting it front and center is a great messaging strategy. 

Pro Tip: Get more messaging ideas and free email templates for how to share about gift cards here.

Jaime Davis switched things up by using her gift cards to offer a physical product instead of a service. 

She makes it easy for customers to see what they’d receive by including visuals for both her photo lockets and keychains, along with sharing her story and why her lockets would make great gifts.

Gift Card Idea for Artists

We’ve talked about ways to pivot your business to provide low- or no-contact services before (see how to make money during quarantine for more ideas) and love how Emily Hunter Photography did it. Leaning on her other artistic skills, she started offering gift cards for line drawings, which she could provide completely remotely. 

She breaks down each step of the process on her gift card’s page to show clients how easy it is to redeem. And promotes her other photography services to get the word out for additional business.

Gift Card Idea for Photobooth Owners

Baci Booths, who provide photo booth rental experiences, are using gift cards to offer a limited time discount for their services. 

They’re also partnering with an organization to make and donate masks in response to Covid-19. We love how they messaged this to clients and included images of recent events so clients can feel good about their purchase and easily envision their own future event.

Gift Card Idea for Professional Organizers

Ordered Excellence focuses on physical, administrative and digital organization and is offering a gift card for a Strategic Organizing Session. Adding the value of this service (to help people get and stay focused) and exactly what it is (a one on one coaching session) right at the top is a perfect way to market the gift cards and get more sales.

Gift Card Idea for Florists

Florists Lily in June are offering 10% off gift cards. Paired with their contactless deliveries, they have a winning combination for maintaining cash flow.

Ready to Create Your Own Gift Cards for Small Business Owners?

Start adding revenue by selling your own gift cards. We’ve made it easy with resources to help get you started. Be sure to check out:

Get Featured in Our Mother’s Day Gift Guide

We’re rounding up all of your gift cards just in time for Mother’s Day on May 10! Offer gift cards for unforgettable experiences and products she can redeem online or at a later date. 

Submit yours here to be featured in our Mother’s Day Gift Guide, launching next Monday, May 4, and get your business highlighted in front of shoppers looking to support small businesses. 

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