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SM3 Case Study: Gift Card Strategy Drives Record Breaking Sales

Cacie Waller, SM3 Team Lead
Cacie Waller, SM3 Team Lead

The spring season has officially arrived and as we near gift-giving holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduations, optimizing your gift card marketing strategy is more important than ever. As with any successful marketing strategy, we recommend a combination of paid, earned and owned efforts.

If you haven’t already thought of adding Facebook advertising as a tactic to your overall strategy, perhaps you should! During the 2014 holiday season, we worked with one of our steakhouse clients to devise an integrated social media and email marketing campaign that increased their gift card sales by 150% over the previous year. These results were achieved in one day with an aggressive approach organized and managed by our SM3 Team.

Our client sells their $100 gift card for just $50, just one day each year.   They asked their Fishbowl SM3 Rep for advice on how they could really blow the top off last year’s numbers. We recommended going beyond their traditional in-restaurant, paid print and radio advertisements and conducting an aggressive online marketing campaign. This included a campaign of four emails  to the restaurant’s Loyalty Club, several Facebook posts and tweets throughout the single day of promotion, and two Facebook paid advertisements targeting the restaurant’s surrounding zip codes in order to get the offer in front of new potential customers in the area.


The result? Thousands of clicks to purchase gift cards and hundreds of thousands in gift card sales, in one day, at the marketing cost of about $0.70 per purchase. This multi-faceted marketing approach allowed our client to surpass their sales from the last several decades.  What’s really important to note is that the true game-changer was Facebook advertising. The ads our team created allowed the client to reach over 70,000 Facebook users who lived in the vicinity of their restaurant.  This not only drove gift card sales, but also introduced the restaurant to thousands of locals who otherwise may have never dined there. Our client’s ultimate goal in selling such a large number of gift cards was to increase their pool of  guests who visit repeatedly  — months later they claim to be busier than ever.

This one campaign goes to show that an amazing, exclusive offer, paired with an aggressive and integrated marketing strategy can lead to record-breaking gift card sales – which can drive long term guest loyalty. Facebook advertising can be the springboard to get your restaurant’s name in front of thousands of potential new diners. Get ready for the spring and summer gift-giving holidays and give your gift card sales strategy the update it needs!

For more ways to optimize social media, see our post on the Top Three Tips for Better Facebook Posts and Ads.