Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


Dec 3, 2012

gift cards

#HolidaySuccess Tips for Small Business Owners: Keep Them Coming Back with Email Newsletters and Gift Cards

In the flurry of making sales during the holidays, we sometimes forget how the influx of “today” customers, can be turned into “future” customers.

As part of our #HolidaySuccess tips for small business owners, USA Today small business columnist, Rhonda Abrams shares a few tips on how to take the holiday momentum through the New Year!

For more information on other holiday planning advice, download the full Small Business Holiday Success Guide at

Happy Holidays!

Janet – @JZablock

How do you connect with holiday customers now and keep them coming back after the new year? Two great marketing strategies make it easier for you to make money during this all-important season and build ongoing relationships with customers at the same time:

  1. Email newsletters – the number one way to encourage online customers to return, according to Forrester; and
  2. Gift cards – one of the most popular gifts for the holidays—often redeemed after the new year.

Email newsletters. If you don’t have an email newsletter, start one now. It can be easy, inexpensive, and effective.

Having an email newsletter gives you a reason to collect contact information from the many customers and prospects you interact with this holiday season. Take the opportunity to collect their contact information for your email newsletter campaigns. Just be sure to ask for their permission first and make it easy for them to opt out if they change their preference.

Once you’ve gathered names for your newsletter, you’ll need content. Keep it simple. You don’t have to be a great writer. Check out the Small Business Holiday Success Guide on what to do next!

Gift Cards. You like them. Your customers like them. Most everyone likes getting a gift card.

Offering gift cards is one of the easiest sales you can make this holiday season—and one of the easiest gifts your customers can buy.

Gift cards are one of the best ways to ring up more sales during the holidays. They’re a tremendous last-minute or impulse gift, so they’re particularly popular with those who put off their holiday shopping ‘til the last minute (don’t we all know someone like that?).

There’s a major added benefit as well. Gift cards can bring new customers to your business—often after January, when your sales may have slowed. They can give you a chance to develop an ongoing relationship with the user and turn a one-time holiday sale into a long-time customer.

Rhonda Abrams @RhondaAbrams

Disclaimer:  Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal, financial, tax or other advice.  When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal and financial advisors. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.


Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on December 3, 2012 at 11:23 am

Jul 11, 2012

CITGO Uses Visa Offers’ Real-time Messaging Technology to Enhance Customer Loyalty Offering

 Visa continues to improve Visa account holders’ shopping experience by enabling retailers to tailor discounts and special promotions and deliver them directly to consumers on their mobile phones.  Just in time for summer road trips, CITGO Petroleum is working with Visa on a new summer promotion called CITGO Good Rewards. As noted by Convenience Store Decisions, the new loyalty program is designed to encourage repeat visits to CITGO locations nationwide, while helping enrolled Visa account holders earn CITGO Gift Cards to save on everyday purchases such as food and fuel.     

Visa worked closely with CITGO to design a customized program that uses Visa Offers’ real-time messaging capabilities to help CITGO deliver the right message, to the right consumer at the right time.  CITGO uses Visa Offers’ real-time messaging technology to automatically confirm qualified purchases and keep account holders up to date on their progress.  

Here’s how it works:  Visa account holders can now enroll at, register up to three eligible Visa cards and provide a mobile phone number to receive updates via SMS text messages. After eight purchases of $20 or more between June 1 and Sept. 20 with their enrolled Visa card, consumers will receive redemption instructions for a $15 CITGO Gift Card.

Visa continues to work with a wide range of merchants and financial institutions, to help them close the loop between offer and redemption while providing everyday value for Visa account holders.  To learn more about CITGO Good Rewards, please visit


Posted by: Leigh Amaro, Visa Information Products on July 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm