November is the month of thanksgiving, which means it’s the month to show appreciation to those around you-including your customers! Of course, you don’t have to wait for turkey time to show your customers how thankful you are for them. We have ideas for you to use year-round when you want to make sure those who keep you in business know how much you value them:
- Say “Thank You”
This is so simple, but it goes a long way. Your customers often thank your business for coming to them to fix their heater or a plumbing issue, and you should thank them right back! It’s true that you’re in the business of saving the day and being there when a customer needs you the most, but look at it from their perspective, too. Customers have access to many, many businesses right at their fingertips. It really says something about your business when someone chooses you over your competitors, because they consider you the expert. Saying thank you shows customers that you appreciate that they trusted you in their time of need to take care of whatever issue they were experiencing. Thank them for choosing your business, and you’ll be happy to see that they are more likely to choose your business again in the future.
- Implement a Customer Loyalty Program
Loyal customers make the world go around– the business world, anyway. So it’s important that your loyal customers feel like they are noticed and appreciated for choosing you time and time again. Implementing a customer loyalty program is actually fairly cost-effective for businesses, and helps drive customers to become more loyal to your business. When someone knows they’ll get a percentage off their fifth service with you, they’re much more likely to choose you than your competitors, because let’s face it, everyone loves a discount!
Customer loyalty programs are a perfect win-win for customers and business owners alike. Not only does your customer win by earning rewards for using your business, but your business wins by earning lifelong customers. We all know that obtaining a new customer is much more expensive than retaining an existing one. For that reason, customer loyalty programs are the way to go.
- Offer Free Tips and Advice
You’re the expert, and your customers know it. That’s why they choose you! If you can offer up free tips and advice to your customers, they’ll really know that you appreciate them. People trust you when it comes to your expertise, and not everyone knows, seemingly, simple things about plumbing, HVAC, house cleaning, auto care, etc. When you post informational tips and ideas on your social pages, send it out in an email to your loyal customers, or even just talk to them about it in person after a service, they’ll be so thankful to you for sharing your knowledge. Offering free tips and advice really isn’t much of a hassle for the business, but it goes a long way for your customers who depend on you.
- Host a Customer/Community Appreciation Event
Showing the community how much you value them and your customers could actually be a great way for you to gain some new customers in the process of wooing your existing ones! Community involvement is huge for small businesses. People love to see that you’re focusing on bettering where you live and work and unifying everyone through fun events. Of course, these can sometimes be costly, but there are some ways to host customer/community appreciation events without breaking the bank:
- Only put on events once a year (around your business’ birthday, around the holidays, a “summer-bration”, etc.)
- Make it a ticketed event. The tickets can be free, but this ensures you don’t have too many people showing up, making it more expensive than what you planned for.
- Keep food costs low by just providing snacks instead of a full meal (instead of having a BBQ, have donuts or cookies for people to eat while they mingle.)
- Plan entertainment that is cheap or free– get others involved in the event and see if they want to donate their talents to better the community!
- Give Away Some Swag
“Swag! Stuff we all get. I basically decorated my condo for free with all of my swag!” -Michael Scott. Ok, so maybe your customers won’t decorate their condo with your business swag, but they’ll still love to have it. Everyone loves a freebie. People enter online giveaways all the time for cheap t-shirts and silly gag gifts, so why not join the fun?! Your swag can be cheap for you, but something that will help your customer feel appreciated. Be sure to add your contact information so it also serves as a reminder for them to call you with their future needs! Some fun swag ideas include: business branded magnets, water bottles, t-shirts, stress balls and cookies!
When it comes to customer appreciation, be creative and have fun with it! Your customers will love the effort you put in to making them feel appreciated, and you’ll feel good knowing that you thanked them for their business.
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. If any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add, please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!