For small business owners, building a dedicated customer base is all about building relationships with people. Even just a simple thank you can go a long way in showing your customers how much their business means to you. As the holidays approach, showing that appreciation is even more important – but it can be difficult to know what to offer. It turns out, there are plenty of ways to show your customers how much they mean to you and your business without breaking the bank.
Here are a few ideas for customer appreciation gifts. A few of these will cost you money, but most of these ideas can be done for just a few dollars. Just remember, keeping good customers costs less than finding new ones, so consider it an investment in your future!
1. Shout Out on Social Media
This one won’t cost you a dime, but will help your business in two ways. First, it shows the customer you thanked that you care about them and appreciate that they spend their hard-earned money with you. Second, it shows other customers how your brand treats its customers. You don’t need to be a professional videographer or photographer, either. Think a quick retweet of a customer’s kind words with a thank you, a short 20-second video, or even a photo of your team cheering. Just make sure to tag your customer so they see it!
2. A Handwritten Card
Who says snail mail is dead? A handwritten note or holiday card is a fantastic way to build a relationship with your customer base. Consider taking a team photo or having branded cards created. This small, personalized touch can make a huge impact. Just don’t try to sell in your holiday card – the point here is to build a relationship, not make a sale. Selling in a holiday card will come across as disingenuous and tacky.
3. A Small Branded Gift
A small gift featuring your branding can be an inexpensive way to build a relationship and keep your brand top of mind for loyal customers. The most important thing here is to try to make sure the gift is truly something they would use. Stress balls and paper weights are likely to end up in the back of a desk drawer. A few ideas: A branded notebook and pen, socks, a branded coffee mug filled with treats, a keychain box cutter or pen light, or a portable cell phone charger.
4. A Free (or Discounted) Upgrade
We all like feeling like we are getting a good deal. An upgrade (even a temporary one) can help your business and show your appreciation. It can also introduce your customer to a higher-cost item (and, hopefully make them fall in love with it). This gift idea works well if you are offering a service or have a monthly subscription plan with tiers. A few ideas are: a coupon on their next purchase, a free trial of a new product, or a three-month premium upgrade. Just make sure your gift matches with their needs, particularly if you have several buyer personas.
5. Host A Customer Appreciation Event
This idea is a bit pricier, but can be a great way to get to know your customers outside of your business and build a stronger relationship. Plus, everyone loves a reason to celebrate! Hosting an event is a way to showcase your team, allow customers to meet each other, and create some bonding opportunities outside of typical business hours. This type of event can be as simple or as fancy as your budget allows – from free muffins and coffee to a full-blown gala. Also, consider wrapping this event in with a new product launch or announcement for added exposure.
A few ideas:
- A customer appreciation breakfast with muffins, bagels, fruit, and a visit from Santa Clause
- A VIP cocktail event with appetizers
- A networking event at a local brewery