Giving Gifts to Keep Clients Returning and Referring

Posted by Larry Bodine | Nov 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

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This guest blog post is contributed by Michael Goldblatt, author of marketing articles and creator of products for lawyer marketing. Mr. Goldblatt blogs at

Promotional products are a rainmaking tool that keeps your name in front of clients for an extended period. Also known as giveaways, premiums, protocol, swag, and tchotchkes, they show gratitude and promote the use of your firm's services.  Read on for tips about how to use promotional products and see the tables accompanying this article for resources to buy and use them.  

The first promotional items in America were campaign buttons used in the Presidential election campaign of 1789. Promotional items did not become popular for business use until 100 years later with the introduction of swag bags. During the past 50 years, the use of promotional products has mushroomed with billions of dollars worth of promotional items given away every year.

Promotional gifts facilitate thanking clients for a case, reconnecting with them after an extended period without contact, and inviting them to make referrals. Promotional gifts also serve as a visual reminder that keeps your name in front of clients and at the top of their minds.

Promotional gifts typically cost from about $5 to $25 for items like calendars, clocks, pens, mugs, and other desktop accessories. Purchase them from reliable sources to assure that you receive quality products that are suitable for your clients.  The cost of an appropriate gift can vary based on client profiles. For example, a personal injury practitioner might give a low-cost gift like a coffee mug to past clients while an estate planning lawyer could give a higher cost item like a document organizer.

Prepare a list of clients and then add up the total number of gifts needed. Order extras to keep available for unexpected needs and order early to assure timely delivery. Order gifts from a reliable provider that has a reputation for quality products and customer service.  Look to the provider's staff for assistance with selection and personalization of your order.


Personalize your gifts by adding your firm's name, phone, and email address. Use an easy-to-read font like Arial with a typeface large enough to be readable from a distance. If space is available, include your firm's web address, social media handle, and a logo. Also include a handwritten note card with thanks for the relationship and appreciation for future referrals.

Consider sending promotional gifts in December for the holiday season or on special occasions like the anniversary of the firm's founding, addition of a new partner, or in recognition of an award. To assure timely delivery, allow adequate time to order gifts, handwrite gift cards, prepare mailing labels, and arrange shipping. Decide on whether to deliver the gifts in person or by mail. Consider using a mailing service to handle gift wrapping, addressing, and shipping.

Budget about $1,000 to cover the cost of buying and distributing low-cost items like pens or calendars to your top 200 clients.  Carefully consider order quantity since the cost per item usually reduces based on quantity ordered. In addition to the price for giveaways, remember to budget for the cost of personalizing, handling, and shipping to clients.

See the accompanying table for online sources to purchase gifts to give to your clients. For more marketing tactics, see the ABA's practical books on blogging, directories, referrals, and websites.  Additional resources include the many articles, blogs, newsletters, and professional organizations that focus on marketing legal services.

Gift-giving is a powerful tool for keeping your firm's name in front of clients and referral sources. Gifts provide a way to show appreciation and make a connection. Consider hiring a marketing professional to help select promotional items and distribute them to your clients. Consult bar association staff to confirm that there are no ethical issues with gifting or personalization (for example, state bar regulators in North Carolina recently gave a green light for promotional products). 

Online Providers for Copying and Printing




National Pen

Office Depot/Office Max

Personalization Mall



Articles Worth Reading

The Exceptional Marketing Power of Promotional Products, Australia Promotion Association, 2013)

How Client Gift Giving Is Good for Business, Business 2 Community, 11/3/2016

When to Give Business Gifts and Who to Give Them To, Small Business Trends, 10/26/2015

About the Author

Larry Bodine

Larry Bodine is a marketer, journalist and attorney who knows how to turn website visitors into clients for trial law firms.


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