Many business owners really do not understand where their leads come from – because they never ask! Asking where every customer comes from lets you know what lead generation strategies are working – and which ones are not.
Understanding why we lose customers will also shed some light on why we need an appreciation program.
Acquiring new customers is 7 times more expensive than retaining existing customers.
Customer Appreciation Strategies
There are many different types of customer appreciation. Pick ones that resonate with both you and your target audience. Start asking where your new customers come from and note which strategies are working and which are not.
Promote your customers – this will build loyalty to you and your business. You can promote clients on your website – stories about how they use your product, benefits of your product, how it has helped them, etc. You could also add their stories to your newsletter. Make your customers feel more like partners. Another idea is to share a post similar to this on your social media platforms: “Follow our friends on [social network name] here to keep up to date on [customer company name] news, events and promotions.“
Contact your customers regularly – using a contact management system be sure to be giving your customers useful information, insider tips, tricks, hacks, etc. Do not do this to often, you do not want to annoy them.
Make them feel like a VIP – connect with your customers on a personal level, send cards, personal emails, offer them exclusive deals, give them early access, exclusive invitation to an event. adding the word Thanks in an email subject line improves open rates by 14% and click through rates by 1.95%
Ideas of things you can do: send a personal card, give a thoughtful gift (value of gift is not a big deal – it’s the thought), give education, books, etc.
Social Media – follow a customer back when they follow you. Reach out to follow them first – it shows them you are interested in them.
Pre-Sale Notifications – keep a list of your VIP customers and notify them of upcoming sales or specials.
Pre or After Hours Private Events – people love to get invited to a private or special event. Even if they don’t come the invite means a great deal. You might invite 100 people and get 20 to show up – the 100 people still know you invited them and it makes them feel special.
Learn something – share it! If a customer shows you a better way to do something, a better way to use your product or service, share it with others and give them credit.
Pay it forward – randomly give a credit, discount, or product to a customer.
Create a charitable giving program – people love to do business with businesses that are part of the local community. Making donations to local charities (even donate in a customer’s name) will create loyalty to your business.
Birthday specials – People love to feel great about their birthday – and they love to get recognition.
Build a loyalty program – this could be punch cards (now digital) and reward your customers for being repeat customers. Candybar offers a digital loyalty program with a 30 day free trial.
Build a referral program – reward customers that refer to you. Since it is cheaper to get referrals then to market to get new clients – reward those that are referring.
Community Support – Do any of your clients have kids in sports or other extra activities? Purchase an ad in their name for a sport program, offer to help the kids reach a fundraising goal, get involved in the community through your clients.
Holiday cards – I recommend non-traditional holidays
Text messaging program – Text messages have a 98% view rate where email is under 4% on average.
Make your customers feel welcome
There is something to be said for making someone feel “at home”. Customers that feel welcome in a business will refer their friends and family. Would you refer someone to a business that did not make you feel welcome or special?
Here are a few easy things you can do to accomplish this:
Use their first name – people always like to feel wanted – and addressing them by their first name will put them at ease.
Listen to them – make notes about what is important to them – do they have kids, are they married, do they have special dietary needs, what are their hobbies, are they active, like the outdoors, etc. Put your notes into your CRM and use it to customize a card or future message.
Offer refreshments at your business – people may or may not partake but they will remember it was offered.
Encourage and reward reviews – respond to all reviews and offer something to those that leave positive reviews. It does not have to be big – it is the thought that counts.
Treat your customers on YOUR anniversary! Make your business anniversary all about your customers and the community you live in that supports the growth of your business.