At the Watertight Marketing conference this month, we heard from Andy Rogers at Xpedient Print talk about the value of printed materials. Because so much of what we do is online nowadays, sending something through the post (which isn’t a bill!) can help to build an emotional connection with clients.
We’ve all heard that it is easier to find work with existing clients than it is to find new clients. And this got me thinking about the ways in which small business owners can reach out to clients to show their appreciation and build customer loyalty.
Here are four relatively easy ways to thank your clients for their business and to demonstrate that you care:
1. Send a greeting card
Arriving at the office to a greeting card or postcard in amongst the bills and junk mail tends to be a rare occurrence these days. Therefore sending a card with a personal handwritten note is a relatively cheap, easy and thoughtful way to let a client know that you appreciate them. I’m someone who still likes to send and receive greeting cards so why not share this small joyous gesture with my clients?
You could choose to celebrate a client’s birthday or business anniversary, wish them season’s greetings for Christmas and the holiday season, send a good luck message for an important upcoming project or event, or simply say thank you for their general brilliance and their custom. Choose a card design that reflects your business or one that you know that your client will like.
2. Make a short (but sweet!) video
With video an ever increasingly popular medium, why not surprise your client with a unique video, tailored especially for them? It will show that you care and that you want to go the extra mile.
You can create a video template and personalise the messaging for each client. You might choose to simply say thank you, perhaps at the end of a project. You could also include an invitation to give feedback and leave a testimonial.
Make a free video with Biteable or a similar service. Choose from one of their templates before personalising your video to make it your own.
(This is an idea that I picked up from UK copywriter Louise Shanahan of the Copy Prescription – thanks Louise!)
3. Arrange a coffee and a chat
Yes, everyone’s busy but taking a small amount of time out of our day to have real conversations can be so very valuable. Arrange a coffee/chat lunch date to get to know your clients better and build relationships. It doesn’t necessarily have to be tied to a business meeting – the reason for the meeting might be that you’re in the area or perhaps even use Christmas as an excuse to meet for a festive coffee to catch up on the previous year and upcoming plans.
Alternatively, there might be an interesting business event or conference that you could invite your client along to. One of my clients has invited me along to go to CommsCon2018 in London. While it will be great to catch up with industry news and best practice at the conference, I’m also looking forward to the train journey between Bristol and London – to catch up on our client accounts, share ideas and to generally have a good old chin wag.
4. Send a gift
Whatever the occasion, whether it is a birthday, business anniversary or stressful work period, show you know your client well by giving a thoughtful gift you know they’ll like. Here are a few ideas:
- Send something fun and quirky, like gorgeous hand-iced biscuits from Biscuiteers. I once bought a client a box of first aid biscuits to wish her get well soon. I was delighted to hear that she using the tin as her family first aid box! The company also offers a corporate gifting service.
- An experience/gift voucher, such as afternoon tea at a top-notch establishment, to give your busy client an excuse for a much-needed break. (They can always take a notebook and pen with them if they can’t bear to be away from their desk.)
- If your client isn’t based in the same part of the country or world as you are, you might like to choose something from your local area that you think they might like. For example, I might choose to send a bottle of Bristol made gin to one of my clients who is a gin lover. New Zealand based copywriter Rachael Pilcher of Mighty Fine Copy sent a bottle of New Zealand wine to an US agency that she loves working with. She said: “They were delighted (and a little shocked) – I guess writers don’t often send them things!”.
- If you’re going for traditional flowers, Bloom & Wild arrange letterbox delivery and are a great option for clients who are working in a shared office or might not have a vase to hand.
- An emergency caffeine fix(es) in the form of these branded tea and coffee pots from Novello or gourmet coffee bags from New Kings Coffee. And to keep hydrated throughout the working day, a reusable coffee cup or water bottle.
- What can you gift using your current skills and talents? For example, Marijke van Veldhoven of Message in a Drawing is a Netherlands based cartoonist and illustrator. She says: “When it’s my clients, I try to think what would not only please them but what is useful too. Sometimes it’s some of the illustrations I made on cards so they can pass them out. Or with a bigger assignment: the big explanatory illustration printed on canvas. If it’s someone I want thank, I make a card – which I draw myself.”
- Something you know that will help them do their job better such as a business planning diary from Monkey Puzzle Training or personalised stationery from Chroma Stationery.
- A plant for your client’s desk is another way to brighten your client’s day and remind them of you.
- Gift them a business book you’d recommend and think they’d like (I like these.) You can even pop a postcard with a note inside the book to give a brief overview of why you choose it for your client.