The reasons that anyone decides to venture down the path of business ownership vary. But for most, there’s one inarguable reason: the chance to live out your dream. Though you may think you are your company’s most important asset, nothing you do could happen without your customers. Your customers are, and always will be, the most important asset your business will ever have. With our experience in printing for small businesses, we’ve fulfilled some pretty creative customer retention pieces for our customers.
Some of our favorites include:
1. The Disloyalty Program – A marketing program originally created by 6 independent coffee shops in the DC area has caught on in other regions too. The “disloyalty card” encourages patrons to break their daily routine and branch out to try other locally owned coffee businesses.
The participating shops give the Disloyalty Cards to their customers upon purchase of a drink. When customers visit the other five locally-owned coffee shops for a drink and they collect a signature on the card (one from every shop), they receive a complimentary coffee from any of the participating shops.
This unconventional marketing idea has proven to be a great way to network with other business owners, tap into new customers and bring some fun into their businesses.
2. Company Branded Thank You Cards – The hand written thank you card is one of the oldest and smartest forms of marketing out there. Thank you cards:
- Break through the digital clutter. A thank you card is a pleasant physical interruption to our increasingly digital lives.
- Show you care. The recipient appreciates that you spent the time to write it. They know you had other things to do, so this shows that they were at the top of your priority list.
- Strengthens the relationship. Marketing is “getting people to know, like and trust you.” Thank you cards help make this happen in a big way.
- Does not require a computer. Many people have lost the art of hand written communication. A hand written note forces you not to rely on auto-correct or spell check; it forces you to think and feel.
As the late American author and poet, Maya Angelou so eloquently put it: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” A hand written thank you card definitely puts a check in the warm and fuzzy column; so send Thank You cards and send them often. You never know what kind of an impact it could have on the recipient’s day.
3. Status Programs – We’ve all seen reward programs that are based on points or number of dollars spent each year. Airline mileage programs are a great example. The more you fly, the more perks you get with that particular airline. Small businesses can engage in this kind of program as well. Creating a program that rewards your best customers and continues to encourage them to make it to the next level creates buzz and exclusivity. When a customer does jump to a higher level because of a purchase, be sure to acknowledge it! A special printed card, letter, sticker or magnet can go a long way in making your customer feel like they are in the inner circle and are highly appreciated.
Having a customer-loyalty program could help you increase repeat customers, which, in turn could boost your business’s revenue. According to a 2014 Manta study (achieving big customer loyalty in a small business world), a repeat customer spends 67 percent more on a given purchase than a new customer does. And they should be rewarded for this action, as retaining customers is less costly than acquiring new ones. By providing loyalty programs for current customers, small-business owners are not only saying thank you but are also motivating them to continue to be their brand ambassadors. Loyal customers will spread the word about a business to their professional, personal and social networks, helping small-business owners increase their customer base even more.
Do you offer a customer loyalty program? We’d love to hear new ideas! Tell us about it below.