As small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) head into the last quarter of 2018, the drive to hit year-end numbers can be all-consuming. As a result, other priorities are sometimes shelved until the last minute. It happens, I get it. But one priority that should never be overlooked is letting your clients and customers know how truly grateful you are for their support during the past year.
If you haven’t started to think about how you’re going to thank them—start now. Here are a few suggestions to consider.
- Be Thoughtful. Some businesses may only be able to afford to send cards. That’s ok, but take the time to include a personal handwritten note and not just auto-signatures. Also, keep in mind not everyone celebrates Christmas. Make your message more about giving thanks or celebrating the joy of the holidays.
If you have a bigger budget and plan to send gifts, consider selecting personalized gifts for your customers by taking their interests into account. The idea is to send a gift that shows you put some actual thought into it. This could mean anything from sending special bottle of wine to a golf-themed gift basket, a Fitbit or tickets to a sporting event. If they’re passionate about a particular cause, make a charitable donation in their name.
- It’s Not About Promoting Your Business. Sending branded items may be interpreted as more of a promotion, than a gift. If that’s all you can afford, go ahead, but try to select more unique branded gifts and not the usual pens or pads with your logo emblazoned on them. If the products have a connection to your business, all the better.
- Spotlight Their Support on Social Media. Show how much you appreciate your clients by highlighting their businesses on your social media platforms. Consider developing a month or season-long customer appreciation campaign, and drive traffic to their websites by including a link in your posts.
- Gift an Experience. You can purchase gift cards for nearly everything these days. So, get creative. While most folks appreciate you financing a few of their morning Venti lattes, break the mold and consider experiential or activity-based gift cards for things like movie nights, spa services, restaurants, cooking or yoga classes.
- Make a Personal Call. Sometimes the best way to say “thank you” to customers is by calling to let them know how much you appreciate their business. If you’re located in the same city, offer to take them to lunch or dinner. Doing so affirms you care about the relationship, not just the transaction.
- Host an Event. You can invite clients to a cooking class or offer them an evening of relaxation with a yoga and meditation session. When the event is over, send them home with something appropriate to the theme (e.g. a cookbook or calming candle).
Finally, don’t forget to thank your team for all they’ve done to contribute to your success this year. While that may take the form of a year-end bonus and/or office party, a handwritten note personally acknowledging their individual contributions can go a long way to inspiring loyalty and continued good work.