As a website design company, we are supposed to be about the cutting edge. We’re supposed to take the sharpened knife of innovation and strike it on the anvil of the future before other design companies can react. We are supposed to build newer, better, faster. And we’re supposed to do that every day.

For the most part, that is what we do. However, there’s one tradition at Metal Potato that is as old as business itself. It’s one that we’ll hold on to until the day we run out of knives to sharpen—it’s giving.

“Oh,” you say. “This is going to be one of those posts about charity work or righteous self-promotion.”

Well, we hope not.

This isn’t about that; this is a lesson in gift giving for your business, about why you should be doing it.

At Metal Potato, when a project is complete, we feel it’s important to say “thank you”. That’s why when a new web design project wraps up we always send an extra bonus out the door to our clients. And that doesn’t just mean a greeting card or some graham crackers. (Okay, maybe if the graham crackers come with marshmallows, chocolate and a campfire.) It doesn’t have to be a fancy gift—for the ladies we usually send flowers, guys get a goodie-box of snacks and treats—but it does have to be something.

For us, this gesture began while we were just starting out. At the time, the Metal Potato you see today was just a seed in the ground. Back then, every project completion felt like a major victory. Every client was of the utmost importance.

So to send them off properly, we sent them a gift.

We hoped whatever we sent—chocolates, flowers, the like— would say to them, “Hey, we genuinely appreciate you. We want your business again, and we want you to do well.

Honestly, at the beginning we were hoping it wouldn’t come across as creepy.

It wasn’t.

People loved it. Even though it is not a revolutionary concept, gift giving was a thoughtful gesture that seems to have become a rarer commodity in the fast-paced, digital age. Maybe being thoughtful means we lose a little of our edge. Maybe it’s seen as cheesy or cliché, but potatoes aren’t a legume known for their edges anyway.

The concept is growing to this day. Now, we don’t just give gifts to clients—we’re also sharing some love with the web design industry as a whole.

In early 2015, the servers at our hosting company had a major problem: one of them literally melted in the rack. It was a major headache for our team, as nearly all of our websites and client websites went down. Potatoes, contractors, clients, everybody was up in arms. Our hosting company, TSO Host, spent 60 hours restoring websites.

60 hours is a lot of time and an eternity of work on the internet. So we sent the TSO team a little Metal Potato love—even though, yes, technically we are paying them to provide those services. We knew the meltdown wasn’t their fault, and now, we’ve been able to use the incident to build a stronger relationship with a company that is integral to our business.

They were thankful.

Metal Potato Hamper Gift

Now, instead of just saying “thanks” to our clients, the standard Metal Potato gift has become a way to remind ourselves of the early days. It’s a gesture that sticks with our clients and our business partners. It says that each and every relationship we have still carries the same value of the earliest ones on the day we opened up shop. It says that even though we are fortunate to have many clients and many relationships now, they are all still a major victory for us.

To this day, new customers are surprised by the gift (although the cat is kind-of out of the bag now). Legacy customers are happy to still feel as welcome through our doors as they did when we met.

Now and again, someone even gives us a recommendation or orders some more work after their gift arrives. We think that final touch might have something to do with it.

Lauren Armes Web Design Gift