Matt Mellinger Posts

Easter Promotions for Local Businesses

Easter Promotions for Local Businesses

This coming weekend, your business has a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on potential revenue. Local businesses of every type should be taking advantage of the Easter holiday weekend. Easter is a holiday that is also associated with the spring season. Your business can prepare a few strategies to help prepare for the weekend. We have a few ideas to share for different industries. If you have any tips for Easter promotions, please share them in the comments below!


Hot Cross BunsIf you own or manage a bakery, you’re in luck because I’m sure you know Easter is all about the sweets! Baked goods with frosting come in any number of different colors. All bright colors are the order of the day for the Easter season. Get creative with goods that feature bunnies or anything that represents the Easter season. Show us your baking prowess in the comments below!

Flower Shops and Nurseries

Easter LilyFlower shops have an easy road ahead of them this weekend as well. Decorate your shop for Easter or Spring. The appeal of a flower shop is in the display and ambience of the location. Create arrangements that feature bright, pastel flowers that catch the eye of the customer. This is exactly what any customer needs to spruce up a home for Sunday or to present as a hostess gift. Also, you can feature Easter lily promotions and share tips on how to care for your lilies.


Brunch specials allow restaurants to get the lion’s share of revenue during Easter weekend. Brunch is popular year-round, but peaks around springtime. The weather is warming up, and it is an activity that family or friends can enjoy together. Local places with a brunch menu can expect to see a major spike in revenue this weekend.

Easter Brunch

Photo from

Finally, here is a tip for most businesses that cater to children: Host an Easter egg hunt. Activities for kids are enjoyable for them and their parents. Kids love the thrill of the chase, and finding eggs during Easter. You can even charge a nominal fee to result in new revenue for your business or as a fundraiser.

Gift Promotions

Easter is also a big gift-giving holiday. There’s nothing like a bespoke Easter basket from Mom or Grandma. If you are a local shop, send out email promotions for Easter specials and gifts for all ages. Offer a custom eGift card for those sending a long-distance or last-minute gifts. Your customers can send a digital gift card for your business to anyone, 24/7.

Marketing Assets

Download our Easter/Spring assets to promote your eGift cards for this weekend.

Smartphone is the New Wallet: Digital Payment Services

egift card solution

These days, your phone is a lot more than just something that you use to call a person. With smartphones, you have an infinite wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. You can find out what anyone is up to at a given moment with social media apps, find out the latest movie times, or settle a spirited bar-room debate, all with a few touches on your screen.

Our phones have woven themselves into becoming a part of our lives, and soon, they will be a part of our wallet. The companies that are responsible for the two most popular smartphone operating systems in the country have created payment services that take your credit card information, and make a digital copy of your card on your phone. Many big-box retailers have adopted these services into their checkout counters; go into any grocery store, and you will see their stickers where you would swipe your credit card.

Other big-box retailers use their own apps for digital payments, incorporating them as a piece of a loyalty gamification program. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are two examples at the forefront of this business model, offering points and stars when customers purchase items at their locations. Starbucks has a Gold Card program, where a customer can earn free drinks, food, and discounts after buying a certain number of items in a given year. Dunkin’ has a rewards program where purchasing coffee and food leads to discounts on coffee, as well as free items. By using an app-based gamification system, customers feel as if they are a member of an exclusive club, and develop a sense of loyalty to a brand as a result.

Still other platforms use your phone as either a digital gift card, or a redeeming service for vouchers. Square, for example, offers a simple attachment that turns your smartphone into a credit card reader. Other platforms, like GiftFly, offer the ability to use a mobile app to scan and redeem eGift cards. Now local merchants can sell their gift cards online with the easy-to-use platform GiftFly offers. Customers carry their GiftFly eGift card on their phones, and our merchant app scans the unique QR code to redeem them for the appropriate amount.

Soon, you will never have to worry about leaving your wallet, and forgetting to put it in your back pocket. Your phone will hold your money, credit cards, and local gift cards for you.


Spring into New Revenue!

Spring into New Revenue!

Margarita with lime in a margarita glass.Warm weather is (hopefully) on the way, and with it will come a new attitude among potential consumers. Especially given the pattern of constant snowstorms that has made up the winter, people are simply going to want to get out of their homes. A lot of promotions are possible because of the advent of spring, and your business can certainly take advantage. We will outline a few strategies here, but as we always stress, find ways to be different and unique.

Bars and restaurants have an easy road here: all signs point to Spring Break. Now most of your customers are probably years removed from college, but your establishment can become the place for people to kick back and unwind as the thermometer creeps up more and more. Margaritas, daiquiris, piña coladas can bring a sense of vacation in the ambiance of your restaurant. In addition, add some dishes that contain tropical foods.

St Patrick's DayOn a different note, make sure to take advantage of the spring holidays. St. Patrick’s Day is rapidly approaching, and we have outlined a marketing strategy for you here. Create specials or setup a gift card deal to entice customers to come in or send a gift-on-the-fly. In addition, Easter and Memorial Day are just a few of the many ways that you can take advantage of marketing strategy this spring.


If your business is not in the food industry (say, for example, a flower shop), you can still get in on the spring revenue. To capture the greatest possible revenue, your business is going to need to be focused on growth. Now, you might be looking at that previous sentence and saying, “Well, of course my business is focused on growth, that’s how we make money!” For right now, I’m not talking about business growth. I am talking about planting seeds. If you offer seed packets of beautiful, bright flowers at discounted prices, your intended audience will buy them. As their gardens become full of vibrant plants, they will come back. As their plants grow and flourish, so too will your business.


Spring is a great opportunity to tighten up your marketing, and make sure that everything is ready for your business to prosper through the cold weather into the summer.

A Road Map to Your Revenue Pot of Gold

A Road Map to Your Revenue Pot of Gold

March is here, which usually means one thing: all of the business that comes with St. Patrick’s Day. GiftFly wants you to bring in as many customers and make as much money as possible. Think of this as your personal rainbow, which will lead you to your pot of gold.

  •  Make sure that your menu is stocked with traditional St. Patrick’s Day fare. Corned beef and cabbage, soda bread, and foods containing those items will make up your menu, and your creativity with these staples will set you apart.
  • Drink specials on St. Patrick’s Day is a certain way to make your money. Your whiskey and beer sales will comprise the majority of your income for the weekend leading up to the actual holiday. Offer discounts to people who are wearing green, or a leprechaun hat. Be creative with your discount offers. More volume of sales at a discounted price will more than offset your costs.
  • If your bar/restaurant is on a street that is saturated with other bars, organize a meeting to arrange a pub-crawl, and offer a prize for the craziest costume.This way, all of you can share in the wealth, and so that you can provide an experience for customers that would not necessarily visit you otherwise. The potential to create new regulars is, without a doubt, worth the effort.
  • Partner with either a local or app-based car service to provide safe rides home for your customers. If they get home safe at the end of the night, they will come back another time. Customers remember the places that take an initiative to keep them safe.

And lastly, don’t forget to promote your eGift cards! We created this email blast below you can save to email your customers to help promote your eGift cards year-round!



We hope that you find these tips useful, and that your revenue takes off smoothly in March!

Quick Hits: 5 Ways to Make Your Business Different

Quick Hits: 5 Ways to Make Your Business Different

Your business simply will not grow if you are the same as your competition. It is something that we have been preaching at GiftFly for months, and it is a fundamental tool in what will get your revenue into the black. Now, if you are a restaurant or bar, we have five suggestions that will get you the push that you need, and give your business a reputation that can only bring in more customers.

Trivia Night

trivia-night-barThe first suggestion that we can give you is hosting a weekly trivia night. I can personally vouch for this suggestion, and tell you that it works. Every week, I head to my local bar, and see the same people. The bartenders know our names, and our drink orders. It is a place where I feel comfortable. By creating a trivia night, you are not just creating a weekly event; you are building a community of people with common interests. Your restaurant will create an environment where people will feel at home, socialize, and continue to come back.

Speed Dating

Another night that you can offer people is a speed dating night. Have local singles come into your establishment, converse with others in the same position, and possibly meet their soul mate. Friendships, relationships, and even marriages can blossom from these events, and your restaurant will forever be involved in stories as “the place that we met”. You will be responsible for creating lasting memories that will endure.

A Bar for Fans


Bobby V’s Sports Bar in Stamford, CT

The easiest way to create a niche for your business is to become the bar/restaurant associated with a certain team. Walk into any pub or sports bar, and you will see memorabilia from either a local team or the team that the bar supports. Simply by entering the place and taking a look around, you will be able to see where fans go to watch a particular team. Host meetups, game watch parties, and theme nights around a given team, and fans of that team will know to come to your bar when they are in town.

Music Hall

Are you looking to improve your reputation as far as nightlife is concerned? Become the bar that is famous for a certain genre of music. Get a feel for the local scene, invite bands to come and play at your place, and people will come. More importantly, find out who the tastemakers and influencers are in your area, and get them into your business as well. Nothing says instant revenue better than an endorsement from a trusted source. Once you have the reputation as “the place to go for the best (genre of music) in (your town)”, you are set.

Live Music at Restaurant

The Fez Restaurant & Bar in Stamford, CT – A GiftFly Merchant


The Best Food in Town

best-food-in-townKeeping with the theme of being the best in your town, here is a thought to re-energize your menu. Find an item that you really want to sell, and become the best at it. Put resources into making the best burger, martini, or hot fudge sundae. We are not suggesting a complete overhaul of your menu, just highlighting a certain item or number of items. People will know that your business is the place to go for s given menu item. They will come to you, either because they are curious about your reputation, or because they believe it. Either way, your business is making money, and keeping people coming in.

These steps are simple, and will undoubtedly lead you on the road to more revenue and a bigger bottom line.


A Parade of Consumers: Mardi Gras Marketing


Once a year, New Orleans becomes the center of attention in this country. Mardi Gras has developed a reputation as one of the largest parties in the world, and businesses outside of the Big Easy do whatever they can to create a Mardi Gras experience to capitalize on potential revenue. Your business can also reap the benefits of this day, with little more than a few simple tweaks in menu and/or atmosphere.

For example, if you run a restaurant or bar, you can best prepare for Mardi Gras with a menu that mimics traditional New Orleans fare. Cajun spices, crawfish, shrimp, and jambalaya can make up a pretty satisfactory specials menu, and offering drink specials would not be a bad idea as well. In fact, if your business wants to take things a step further, host a masquerade ball. The best costumes can get beads, which can be exchanged for free drinks or appetizers. In addition, add some live music to the event, and give local jazz and funk acts an opportunity that they might not otherwise get.

Restaurants and bars may have more of a selection available on their Mardi Gras menu, but they are not the only businesses that can reap the benefits. Bakeries can also grab their piece of the pie (or more apporpriately, cake). Aside from all of the dishes mentioned earlier, one of the staple foods of Mardi Gras is king cake. A king cake is a pastry that usually has purple, green, or white frosting on top of it, with a plastic figure baked inside. If your bakery makes a king cake, you will be known as the go-to spot for Mardi Gras house parties.

Finally, if your business is not serving food or drink, you can absolutely still get into the spirit of Mardi Gras! You can add a Mardi Gras theme to your GiftFly gift card designs, and you can dress up your business for the day by strategically placing yellow, green and purple streamers around your business.

If you have not yet signed up with GiftFly, what are you waiting for? It is the most effective way to sell your gift certificates on your website. Join the parade of merchants who have signed up with us, and get in on that revenue today!

Big Game Theory: Marketing for a Football Game

Big Game Theory: Marketing for a Football Game

Sporting events are one of the best ways that people will be attracted to your business. People love to gather together, watch their favorite team compete, and enjoy an atmosphere with similar rooting interests. One thing that we have always talked about on the GiftFly blog is being different. To get more customers, you need to offer something that your competition is not. Every bar and restaurant has a score box pool. Doing simply that is not going to bring you the revenue that you want.

What will get people in the door? We will start with one word: PROMOTION. No one will come to your business if they do not know that you are offering something to them. Get signage out in your storefront, email everyone on your list, and make sure that the word is out: You are having the event of the century, and it should not be missed. That is your message, and drumming up interest will bring in your business.

The Importance of Social Media Listening

The Importance of Social Media Listening

As we have said in previous blog entries, social media is the trend that savvy marketers are chasing currently. We have given you some basic strategies for social media marketing, and told you how to prepare your marketing strategy for the coming year.


However, social media is more than just posting content and seeing what sticks. To truly be an effective social media marketer, you need to listen as well as you speak. The language that you use is important, but you also need to find out what people are saying about you. You need to know if your messages are resonating with your targeting audience. Luckily, there are many different platforms that are available to you. With social media listening platforms, you can identify a target audience, find out if they are responding to your messages, and engage them accordingly! You can also schedule social media so that the most people can see you at the right time, and sift through topics that are relevant to your business, and join in an ongoing conversation. We have chosen two sites that we think are particularly helpful, and we will highlight them now.

hootsuite-horizontal-blackHootsuite is perhaps the most well known social media listening tool, and it has brought itself to the top of the list of a reason. Hootsuite is an all-in-one platform. With Hootsuite, you can see all of your brand’s social media feeds at once. You can reply to all of your consumers in real-time, or save your responses for future use. As far as analytics are concerned, you can track your message reach and engagement to find out what is working. Your audience can be broken down by age, demographic, and location. With all of these in hand, you can determine influencers, and appropriately target the market that you want to sell to. In addition, Hootsuite has a task management component to it. As the lead user, you can assign permissions to other users, assign and delegate tasks, and ultimately approve content before it gets pushed out to the masses. Hootsuite encompasses all facets of social media listening, and it is incredibly valuable to your social media presence.




If you are looking to see how you stack up against your competition, or if you are just looking for information pertaining to your particular field of interest, Social Mention is something that you should absolutely have in your arsenal. Social Mention provides alerts for keywords that you put in, and provides you with the amount of people that are tweeting. In addition, it gives you the Twitter hashtags with the most engagement, users that are commenting at the most frequent rate. More importantly, it gives you an outlook into the sentiment of the comments that are being written. You can find out what is getting positive, negative, and indifferent reviews, and capitalize on what is trending.


With these two platforms, you will be able to effectively listen to your audience and find what works. From there, the rest is up to you. With the information that you will mine, your marketing will be firing on all cylinders.

Let the World Know: eGift Card Awareness is Increasing!

Let the World Know: eGift Card Awareness is Increasing!

Adopting an eGift card solution is the best way that your business can grow. By creating a 24/7 selling option, your business will have new, unprecedented access to revenue streams! I know what you are thinking:

My paper/plastic gift cards are selling perfectly well? Why should I use eGift cards for my business?

A series of recent studies done by the Retail Gift Card Association show four key points:

2015 Reset: New Year, New Revenue!


The one thing that everyone does in the advent of the new year is to make resolutions. When we make a resolution, we take a quality of a person that we want to be or something that we want to change about ourselves, and try to take steps to reach that goal in our daily lives. We see January 1 as a virtual reset button, or a chance to make a new start. Your business, and you as a business owner, can apply those principles to grow on a professional and on a personal level. There are a lot of practices that your business can either upgrade or implement which will result in a greater revenue stream! 2015 is the year that you take your business to the next level, and take yourself to new heights! However, to get there, you must first answer the question:

What makes my business different from my competition?

We have targeted four areas that will develop your local business, and will provide you with some personal and financial fulfillment!

The first focus point revolves around this theory: Do not settle. If something in your business is not working, change it. If your gift cards are not selling in your storefront, adopt an eGift card solution that allows you to sell  24/7. If your drink specials are not being bought up, change up your menu. Constantly tinker and use trial and error until you figure out what works. One way that you can map out your strategy is by finding out where other people have gone wrong, and steer clear of their mistakes. Join up with a networking group, meet with like-minded people in a similar field, and see what ideas stick, and what ends up in the trash can.

To further develop your business as much as possible, you need only look to your customers for help. Listen to the people who are buying what you are selling, and cater to them. Find out what they are looking for, and be that. You may find yourself carving out a niche that will set you apart from your colleagues. To truly integrate your customers into the fabric of your business, your customer service must be of paramount importance. Plain and simple: if your customers are not happy with your product, they are not going to come back. Pay attention to what your customers are saying, and you will put your business ahead of everyone else.

As far as marketing efforts are concerned, do it early and often. Regular and consistent promotion is the key to getting yourself out there. There is an expression: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”. If you are making your presence known, you are going to get revenue. If your message is seen by your target audience first, you will be looked at as a benchmark/measuring stick in your field. Promote yourself on social media, and make sure that an SEO specialist has made sure that your website trends as highly as it can in searches.

Finally, take the time to develop personally! Learn a new skill, give back to your community, but schedule some time in your busy day to enjoy yourself. A healthy work/life balance is essential to growing as a person, and your personal happiness will lead to happiness in your career!