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Customers: Are You Encouraging Loyalty?

As an owner of a small business, you need customers to expand your business. One way to continue to acquire new customers and maintain your existing base is to show your appreciation. With so many businesses competing for the same real-estate, it’s important to stand out from the rest. One tried and proven method for doing this is customer appreciation. 

What is Customer Appreciation? 

Customer appreciation starts with follow-up correspondence by way of a postcard or an email offering a simple thank-you for their business.  Don’t underestimate the power of this seemingly small token of appreciation. In essence, it tells the customer that they are important. 

Extending Services or Products 

Perhaps you are launching a new product or providing an upgrade to your existing service package. A great way to promote it is to offer a discount to your most loyal repeat customers. Afterward, you can follow-up again by a simple piece of correspondence that asks them to complete a few questions regarding the product or service. 

Gifting to Customers 

Many large companies know the value of keeping their customers loyal.  And, while you may not have the finances to offer large freebies or giveaways, you can do it on a smaller scale. For example, you want to grow without spending a lot of money, so you use your existing base to bring in new clients. How you achieve this is through a promotion. For example, you can run a promotion that offers the prize of a $25.00 gift card issued from companies such as Perfect Feast for every new client they refer that, in turn, buy your product or use your services. 

Frequent Buyers Club 

Another way to show your appreciation for frequent customers is to create a system where they (or you) track the number of products or times they use your services, and after X number of purchases, they receive a free product or a free service. Many large companies today benefit immensely from these types of reward programs. Supermarkets and retail outlets have cards or a points system that gives customers free food, discounts on gas, clothing and other supplies. 

Celebrate Anniversaries 

Milestones such as the 25th anniversary in business are quite an accomplishment. Including your loyal customers in the celebration will go a long way to maintaining a healthy financial future. Hosting a picnic or a concert at the park in their honor, are just a few ways to give back to the community that supported your venture all the way. It’s a day of fun for them and a way to meet and greet your customers to establish a long-lasting relationship. 

Customer Awareness 

Another way to retain loyalty with your existing customers is to occasionally recognize them. There are several ways to do this. You can print their name in the company monthly email letter with a caption “customer of the month”, display them on your website home page or even give a shout out so to speak on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook. 

Customer Appreciation Day 

In addition to hosting an annual event in their honor, you can also, once each year, have a day set aside for customer appreciation. If you have an office or a storefront, you can have free giveaways, free snacks, and beverages and hand out a coupon to each person that enters and have a single drawing during the day for a larger prize. The benefits to you are enormous. And, this special customer day presents a grand opportunity to introduce a new service or product. 

You need customers to maintain and grow your business. Showing appreciation through incentive programs, annual events and a special day dedicated to them will help you achieve your long-term goals.

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