A friend of mine recently received a thank you card from a colleague to whom she had referred quite a bit of business over the past year. In addition to a warm, sincere greeting, the card contained a gift certificate to a nail salon near her home. She was delighted, and you can bet she'll continue to refer plenty of new business his way.
Why is this a great example of a thank you? Two reasons: The gift was personalized and considerate. My friend always has a perfect manicure, which her business associate obviously noticed. And the salon he found was within minutes from her home, making it a thoughtful purchase for my friend - a busy marketing leader and mother with a gazillion things on her plate.
Because it's anywhere from four to six times more costly to acquire a new customer than to retain the ones you already have, we thought it would be helpful to compile a list of ways to say "thank you" to the folks who are already paying your bills. Can you think of others? Let us know in the comments section. And THANK YOU for reading!
1. Subscription boxes
Do you have someone on your list you'd like to acknowledge in a bigger, more extensive way? Subscription boxes can be a good way to do this, and they don't have to be terribly expensive. I'm thinking of a new client you're onboarding, or perhaps someone who's about to embark on a longer-term project that's going to sap a lot of their time during the next quarter or two. Why not send them a goodie-filled subscription box aligned with their interests and timed to arrive every month or so? Here are a few interesting ones at more affordable price points.
- CrateJoy: Variety of loose leaf tea flavors. Starting at $9.99 per month
- Mistobox: Gourmet coffee. Starting at $20 per month
- BarkBox: A collection of treats for your dog(s). $35 per month or...
- PurrPacks: Treats for your cats. Starting at $24.99 per month
- RawSpiceBar: Spices and recipe cards. Sets of three, starting at $7 per month
- Graze: Delicious, nutritious snacks, hand-selected with your recipient in mind. Starting at $8.99 bimonthly
- StudioCalico: Lovely organizational supplies for the artistically-inclined super planner. $24.99 per month
- MysteryBoxofAwesome: You don't know what you're going to get. For the adventurous. Starting at $9.99 per month
- Vnyl: Three new records based on personal tastes. Starting at $39 per month
- Batch: Curated gifts from your hometown. Shoutout to our friends at this Nashville-based startup. Starting at $29 per month
How many of us have personalized stationary anymore? You can bet there are folks on your list who would be delighted to receive a gift of stationary from you, even a small set of notecards featuring a cause you know they support. Include within your package a hand-written note thanking them for their contributions.
3. Regional gifts
Let your folks know you're thinking about them with a gift that reminds them (subtly!) of you. Prints by local artists, locally produced candies or treats, and music are all excellent gift possibilities - but only if your city is of interest to the person you're gifting. Otherwise, be careful as this could come across as self-indulgent.
4. Meeting care package
Before a big meeting or project kickoff, send a care package of items you think might be useful. For example - fine coffee and cute mugs, pencils, sticky notes, stickers with inspirational sayings, high-energy music, stress balls, one of those basketball goals you hang on the back of an office door, etc. Personalize it to the attendee.
5. After a big success
Did someone launch a big project or win a prestigious award? This is an easy one. Send champagne! They don't drink? Send cupcakes! Aren't eating sugar? Send flowers! :)
6. Email them a Starbucks giftcard
You can email someone a Starbucks giftcard for as little as $5. This is SO EASY and inexpensive. Say thank you with a peppermint mocha in less than 30 seconds.
7. Upgrade their account
If you work for a SaaS (software as a service) company or other business where you're providing a digital service, consider upgrading their accounts as a way to reward your loyal customers. You could do it temporarily as both a "thank you" and a way to show off your services. (PS: You can gift someone a Premium Spotify account.)
8. Send a coupon or money off
Email offers to segments of your customer base depending on their involvement with your organization. Again - not only is this a way to say "thank you", it's a way to introduce them to other products and services. (Don't know how to do this easily? Shoot me an email. I bet my awesome team here can help.)
9. Enter them into a drawing
I get that you might not have the budget to send everyone a subscription box or personalized gift. But maybe you've got the budget to give away two or three really great items. Why not enter everyone into a program to win those great gifts? Tip: Don't make people enter themselves to win; that's a pain in the butt, and you're trying to say thank you, remember? Just do it yourself and then let them know what's going on. When you give the prizes away, tell everyone about it. Then do it again as often as you can!
10. Small and sweet items
I love this Jackie O-themed pencil set given to me by a friend several years ago - so much that I've refused to sharpen them! Gifts like this are easy to personalize and relatively inexpensive to produce. They're cute and clever, and if you theme them around your organization, they have the added benefit of getting people to talk about you when you're not around.
11. Hand-written notes
My great-aunt Louise used to bug the heck out of my brother and me to send thank you notes when we were kids. I am so glad she did. As an adult, I look forward to hand-written notes from friends and business colleagues, and I send them often. It means someone took the time to appreciate you.
12. Birthday freebies
Many businesses send freebies on their customers' birthdays. In addition to being a great way to retain customers, birthday giveaways are a good way to get customers into your store (and buying more). Ask for your customer's birthday when they sign up for your newsletter or texting program.
13. Sneak peeks
Give your customers a sneak peek of new products or product changes as a way of thanking them for their support. They'll enjoy being in the know, especially if you offer them a chance to provide feedback that will make the experience better. (But be sure to listen and respond to their opinions!) If you're running a software company, offer some the opportunity to become beta testers. Send additional thank you gifts to those folks.
14. Tweet at them
Consumers love when big brands notice them online. Make sure your social media team is paying attention to your followers and takes opportunties to like, share, retweet, and comment on their social media when it's appropriate.
15. Anniversary gifts
Like the birthday gift, it's a nice idea to reward your folks when the anniversary of their relationship with YOU comes around. Even a simple email card is a nice touch.