Do your customers know how much you appreciate them? Making your customers feel special is the best way to keep them coming back to your business, instead of your competition. Customers who have a positive association with your business are more likely to buy from you again: They buy on emotion and justify with logic.
If you’re looking for a meaningful way to thank your customers for supporting your business, we’ve got six easy ways to show your appreciation, plus a few helpful tips.
1. Send thank you cards and holiday cards
Don’t underestimate the power of thank you cards. Send thank you cards immediately after a customer makes a purchase, or for no reason at all. Take this opportunity to reinforce your brand: Your thank you cards should feature a custom, branded design that tells customers the card is from your business.
Here’s a tip
If possible, take the time to include a handwritten note, personalized for each recipient (or if that’s too much, do this for your best customers).
Sending holiday cards is a great way to connect with your customers, year-round. You don’t have to wait for Christmas or New Year’s Day, either. Thanksgiving, Halloween, Independence Day, Valentine’s Day — even Labor Day — are perfect opportunities to reach out and remind customers that you’re grateful for their business.
Nonprofits know a thing or two about expressing gratitude. Ashley Nester, Marketing and Communications Manager for Woodstock Farm Sanctuary (a New York-based nonprofit) mails out Thanksgiving-themed thank you cards to donors who sign up to sponsor a rescued turkey.
“Donors can choose to sponsor one, a few or the whole flock and the gift goes toward their care, food and shelter. In return, they are sent one of the cards with a photo of the turkey and his or her rescue story,” she says. “It’s a nice way to send a gift that the donor can put out on the table as a compassionate centerpiece for the Thanksgiving holiday.”
Front and back of the thank you card for Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, designed by Meridith Osifchin
2. Host a customer appreciation event
Plan a special customer appreciation sale, family fun day, barbecue, happy hour or other event at your place of business to thank your customers. These events are also a nice way to draw people to your location and see the merchandise. Plus, it encourages interaction between employees and customers.
Here’s a tip
At your customer event, hand out branded gifts that your customers are sure to enjoy. Calendars, water bottles and shirts are all giveaways that your customers will use again and again, and think of your business every time they do.
3. Now starring: Your customer
Showcase your customers in your print newsletters, in social media posts, in promotional emails and on your website. Giving them a shout-out and thanking them for their business is a fun way to show them love. And not only does it demonstrate your thankfulness for your customer, but it is sure to increase engagement.
It’s easy to tell their story: Give some of your best customers a quick phone call or shoot them a short email with a few questions. You can learn a lot about your customers and add some additional content to your newsletter, social media post or email.
Here’s a tip
Featuring your customer on your website, newsletter, social media posts and emails is a perfect opportunity to tie in case studies that demonstrate how you can help others who are similar to your featured customer.
4. They wear it well: T-shirts and sweatshirts
According to the Advertising Specialty Institute, T-shirts are the top item in the promotional products industry. In their poll, 58 percent of the respondents said they own promotional shirts, and — more importantly — they remember the company who gave it to them.
Branded T-shirts and sweatshirts have staying power and generate impressions. Promoted posts on social media are fleeting, but branded T-shirts and sweatshirts last years.
Here’s a tip
Your customers won’t wear just any ol’ shirt, so follow our fashionable advice:
- Print a quality shirt that’s wearable
- Create a simple design, because that will open up more opportunities to wear them
- Try to avoid one-size-fits-all with a variety of sizing options
- If possible, print T-shirts for both sexes instead of unisex — everyone wants a shirt that’s flattering
5. Water bottles
Water bottles are the most refreshing giveaway. In that same Advertising Specialty Institute study, 53 percent of consumers say they own promotional drinkware such as water bottles. The best giveaways to show appreciation are ones that your customers can use over and over. Water bottles, custom-printed with your logo or slogan, are guaranteed to be kept by your customer and used repeatedly.
Here’s a tip
Water bottles are little billboards for your business. Make sure your logo is easily visible with no color clashing.
Calendars are one of the most practical customer giveaways. Repetition in branding is key. We all look at our calendars multiple times a day, so take advantage of the repeat branding opportunities by handing out calendars.
In a survey by Promotional Products Association International, 80 percent of respondents said they opt for a printed calendar over an online calendar, and 60 percent of those respondents said they use promotional calendars.
Adam Rather, Guest Experience Manager at The Marine Mammal Center, has been designing and printing calendars to hand out to staff, volunteers and supporters for years. The calendar features images of the most adorable patients to come through the center the previous year.
“The staff and volunteers are still extremely appreciative of the memento being produced and available,” he says. “Each year, the volunteers are excited to hear about the release of the new calendar (and there is always a fun time voting for the cover photo).”
Calendar for the Marine Mammal Center, designed by Adam Ratner
Here’s a tip
Don’t make your calendar a product catalog. If you want to showcase your products, depict them being used. For example, a pet store could hand out calendars with adorable pets, not simply photos of pet food.