Consumers that form an emotional connection to a brand have a lifetime value that's over 300% higher than those that don't develop that attachment. As a result, they stay with that brand for an average of almost two additional years and recommend the brand to their friends and family at a 30% higher rate.
So the question is: How do you get your customers to fall in love with your brand?
For starters, you can make a great product or service. That's a given. But what about thanking your customers for their business? There's no doubt that heartfelt appreciation is one of the simplest ways for you to build a closer relationship with your customers. We developed this quick and easy guide so you can properly delight your customers and create long-term advocates for your brand.
Thanking Your Customers Isn't Complicated
You don't need to go overboard when you're thanking your customers. Of course, you can do as much as you'd like, but what really matters is that you offer them a simple, heartfelt, and personalized thank-you message.
The best way to do this is with a handwritten business note. These increasingly popular messages cut through the clutter of modern-day emails and texts to create a personal connection with your customers. Let's see how they fit into a marketing strategy.
Segment Your Customers Into Prioritized Groups
As your business grows, it will become difficult to thank every customer. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. On the contrary, you should develop a strategy for dealing with the increased volume. High-value and returning customers deserve something more from you than a consumer who has only shown a general interest in your brand. Both individuals warrant your attention, so here are a few segments to consider:
- Repeat customers. Thank your customers for their continued loyalty.
- High-value customers. Recognize those customers who may not only be repeat customers, but also spend a lot of money.
- Birthdays. Send your customers a special message on their special day or birthday month.
- Holidays. Wish your customers the best at certain times of the year.
- Random acts of kindness. Acknowledge your customers "just because."
When you segment your customers into groups, you're strategizing how you're going to thank them for their business. This helps you make sure you're not forgetting any of your patrons—no matter where they're at in their relationship with your business.
Establish a Budget
Part of properly thanking your customers is planning for it. If you randomly thank them when you think of it or if you go overboard with how much you're giving away for free, you're setting yourself up for failure. Establish a budget and stick to it. But remember, it's not how much you spend. It's more about showing sincere appreciation in some form.
Develop a System That Works for You
Now that you've committed to thanking your customers, create a system that's easy to maintain—and make the process repeatable. For example, if you only have one person handling all the thank you's for your business, don't create a system that will overburden them with work. After all, you don't want a disgruntled employee delivering appreciation notes to your customers.
On the other hand, if you have a customer support team, encourage more involvement by allowing them to be part of the "thanking process." They're likely on the front lines of your customer service efforts anyway, so it's a natural fit. For instance, they could vote for a "Customer of the Month" or select specific customers they can reach out to and thank on behalf of the company.
Include Free Gifts with a Purchase
Everyone likes an unexpected, pleasant surprise. Why not give your customers more than they bargained for by including free gifts and/or sample products with their purchase? This not only provides a bonus for your customers, it also promotes products that you sell. In the process, you're also highlighting items your customers haven't tried yet. If they like the sample products/gifts, they may wind up buying them in the future.
Note: Make sure the free items are valuable and appropriate for the patron. That way they don't look like you're merely trying to get rid of stuff you can't sell. Also, consider more elaborate giveaways for larger purchases.
Dirty Ghetto Kids (aka DGK) is a skateboard company headquartered in Los Angeles. Their customer service staff adds a pack of stickers and small bags of candy to each order. Since their target market tends to be youthful, it's an appropriate addition. Plus, if you order an article of clothing like a t-shirt, there's another sticker built into the hang tag. Those are both nice additions that say "thank you" to each customer.
Here's another example. Steel City Shop is a clothing store in downtown Pittsburgh. When someone places an order via their website, they ship a package that includes a few vintage Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cards, some bubble gum, and a Steel City brand sticker. Because a lot of their merchandise is sports related, it serves as an appropriate and fun bonus.
Offer Discounts for Future Sales
When you provide a discount to your customers, you're not only thanking them for their patronage, you're also telling them they're special. There are different ways to approach this.
- Attract interested shoppers who have provided their contact information by giving them a "Welcome" discount. This gives them a good reason to make that first purchase.
- Reward first-time buyers with a coupon that offers a discount for a future purchase. This gives them an incentive to buy from you again. It's an important offer because almost 55% of customers who make a second purchase also make a third.
- Honor long-time buyers with exclusive savings. A customer loyalty program lays out the details of frequent purchasing and lets customers know what to expect in return. If you don't have this type of arrangement in place, surprise your loyal customers with a special discount.
Be wary of regularly sending out coupons, however. This will train your customers to wait for the next discount before they buy anything from you. Your sales may plummet during those times when you aren't offering any special savings.
Highlight Your Best Customers on Social Media
You know how great your customers are. Now tell the rest of the world. By highlighting your best patrons via social media, you're publicly thanking them for their business. You're also showing other would-be shoppers how much you appreciate your customers.
Almost 70% of consumers have used a brand’s social media channels for customer service needs. Now you can use social in return as a thank you. For example, if you run a fitness center, you could feature members when they reach a milestone in their workout routines. Whatever business you have, find a reason to celebrate your customers.
The process also works in reverse when happy customers are the ones showing how much they appreciate your product or service. Make them feel good by reposting their content. User-generated content (UGC) saves you from having to create all your content yourself and it brings authenticity to your business.
Fashion brands in particular are apt at sharing pictures, reviews, and testimonials of people wearing and discussing their clothes. In a survey by Bazaarvoice, over half the customers polled felt that pictures and videos created by other consumers were beneficial for influencing everyday purchases. For larger purchases, 46% cited user-generated content as helpful with making a decision on what to buy.
Send a Handwritten Thank-You Note
Nothing says "thank you for your business" more than writing it down on paper and sending it to your customers. There's something about receiving a personalized, handwritten message that really makes them feel like they matter.
That's why greeting cards are a $7.5-billion industry. People like the idea of receiving a personal card or letter in the mail. This type of correspondence has long been associated with family and friends. When a business takes the time to acknowledge their customers like this, it really stands out and shows a high level of appreciation. Additionally, it fosters feelings of loyalty and repeat business.
Thanking your customers has never been easier. Contact us to discover how you can use digitally handwritten notes as part of your business strategy today.