In the highly competitive world of online retail and professional services, if you want to keep customers happy and coming back for more, you need to show them you care about their business. And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, here are six simple ways to show customers some love.
1. Make a video valentine.
“Show customers love with a thank-you Valentine's Day video,” says Ryan Fitzgerald, owner, Raleigh Realty. The video can be heartwarming, fun or funny, featuring members of your business telling or showing customers how much you appreciate them.
“If you want to take it a step further, you can add a marketing spin,” he says. “Something like 'To show our appreciation, we are treating one lucky couple to a Valentine's Day Dinner at [Insert Fancy Restaurant]. All you have to do is like or share this video.”
2. Create a special Valentine’s Day promotion.
Offer loyal customers, say, 14 percent or $14 off their order – or free shipping – if they use your special Valentine’s Day discount code.
You can also run special Valentine’s Day-themed promotions or giveaways.
“In the past, we have held a ‘Love Your Business’ promotion where we gave away gift certificates to fans that told us their business story and allowed us to share it online,” says Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation.com.
3. Include a sample or small gift with their order.
“Who doesn't love a little something extra – or, as we would say here in Louisiana, a little lagniappe?” says Mallory Whitfield, owner, Miss Malaprop. “When a customer opens their package and discovers an unexpected bonus treat, they'll feel valued by you and they'll be more likely to become a return customer. If your budget is tight, you could limit this practice to VIP customers or frequent shoppers.”
“Some nice ideas include sending complimentary company [swag], such as a t-shirt [or] mug [or other small useful item] with their next order,” says Danyal Effendi, digital marketing manager, PureVPN. “If you have products which have add-ons, advance upgrades or accessories, [consider including one] for free. Samples of new or upcoming products can also be sent to loyal customers. This will not only promote the product/brand but also help in increasing revenue in the near future.”
4. Show customers some social media love.
“Social media is a great platform to recognize, appreciate and show love to customers,” says Effendi. “A personalized post [or] tweet [to a customer] is a nice way to delight [them and] honor them publicly.”
Another “great way to show love for your customers and encourage social media engagement is to showcase user generated content by posting [customer] photos on your Instagram or Facebook accounts,” says Whitfield. “Create a branded hashtag and encourage your customers to show off the way they use your products. You can then use the hashtag to curate and repost your favorite fan photos. Your biggest fans will get a thrill when they see their photos of your products re-grammed on your Instagram feed or shared (with credit) on your Facebook wall.”
“Target’s #TargetLoveNotes campaign last year is a shining example of customer appreciation done right,” says Jim Rudden, CMO, Spredfast. “By [tweeting] personalized love notes to their customers, Target increased brand loyalty and expressed direct adoration to some of their biggest fans. So this year… speak directly and personally with your customers,” by engaging with them on social media.
[ Related: 9 big small business social media no-nos ]
5. Let customers know you hear(d) them.
“One of the best ways to show love to your customers and clients is to solicit their feedback, and then use some of their best suggestions in your ecommerce business,” says sales and marketing consultant Tabitha Jean Naylor. “Multiple studies have found something that should be pretty obvious about customers: They love it when businesses ask for their opinion. Why? Because it makes them feel valued, and a customer who feels valued is a customer who is much more likely to continue buying your products and services.”
“As a SaaS company, our way to show love to our customers is to constantly give them the features they have requested,” says Alex Novkov, content marketing expert, Kanbanize. “Each February we introduce a special product update that consists only of customer requested features. It is larger than our usual updates and aims to deepen the bond between us and our community.”
6. Include a thank-you note.
“Sometimes the best way to reward online customers is by doing it the old-fashioned way: personally and offline,” says Brent Sleeper, customer experience champion, SparkPost.
“For example, when one of our developer customers takes the time to engage with us to solve a problem or to share information about how they use our service, the SparkPost team writes a personal thank-you note and sends it via snail mail, along with a few branded goodies,” he explains. “The reaction we get is uniformly happy surprise that we’d make the effort, but that effort is just one way of fulfilling the promise that ‘We [heart] Developers.’ Actions speak louder than words.”
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