This is the perfect time of year to employ gratitude marketing.
You’ve probably heard Meghan Trainor’s delightful song, “All About That Bass,” and you might have even seen the delectable Thanksgiving song parody “All About That Baste” from the oh-so-adorable Holderness Family, but when it comes to professional marketing, your client messages should be all about that “thanks.”
Marketing really is all about that “thanks.”
This time of years sheds light on a vital component of your marketing strategy: gratitude. Let’s face it. Your business would not function without your clients. Your clients fund your efforts. They have chosen to invest in you, so rewarding them for that investment is simply fitting.
Go Beyond the muffin basket.
It is important to let your clients know that you are grateful for their business, but are you communicating your appreciation throughout the year, and not just in your annual gifts and holiday greetings? Baskets full of goodies and annual calendars are great, but what about the rest of the year? December and January may sometimes bring a bit of client attrition, and a more aggressive client appreciation marketing strategy can offset losses by helping keep your existing clientele happy and satisfied.
Show your clients that you value them.
Take up a strategic approach to showing your clients some love through nurturing campaigns. Be sure the underlying tone or focus of your client messaging is one of appreciation and genuine gratitude for their business. Here are a few ways you can show clients you care:
Let’s face it. People love perks. A freebie can help you bring in more business and keep existing clients happy. If you only meet with your clients once a year, you might as well have a coffee cup, pen set, notebook, thumb drive, ball cap or smart-phone cover available to give to your client as you wrap up the meeting and make plans to meet again next year. After all, you probably need (or already have) a stockpile of giveaways for conferences and events. Fun gifts can be great client loyalty tools as well. Why do giveaways work? Well…
You’ve been given something, seemingly for nothing, and now you feel obligated to reciprocate…” – Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Psychologist
As a professional service provider, it is your obligation to help inform your clients about changing regulations and laws that may impact them. Sharing information has become a competitive necessity. Show your clients you value them and want to partner in their success by keeping them well-versed on issues affecting them. Your website, online guides, email campaigns and social media outlets can work together to provide educational resources for your clientele. Your messages could also offer a freebie in the form of your latest report or whitepaper download. But clients won’t know about your informative updates if they haven’t opt-ed in to your email program. Catch clients at the front desk, in meetings or during phone calls, and let them know you’re committed to making sure they will be grateful for their subscription to your client email newsletter.
You might also choose to educate your clientele through events, seminars and webinars. Your client email and social media campaigns can promote these sessions, but what about after the event is over? Follow up with event attendees with a thank you email, and perhaps also provide a link to additional resources that attendees would find useful.
When a client refers your services, you definitely should take the time to thank them. A thank-you gift, client spotlight article on your blog, reciprocal referral or other offering could adequately demonstrate your gratitude. An even more effective approach would be to instill a referral program, and give your clients the incentive of a cash reward in exchange for legitimate referrals.
You might offer payroll services, but your payroll client could be looking for a new local accounting firm. You are probably intimately familiar with the outstanding CPA firms in your community. It is helpful to have a referral list assembled and ready to share with clients who come asking. You could also get some marketing reciprocity rolling, and reach out to the top four accounting firms on your “favorites” list. Offer to feature one firm per quarter in your client communications in exchange for similar promotions to their clientele. Clients who know you and trust you will appreciate genuine recommendations and referrals from your business.
No matter how you choose to reward your clients, appreciation marketing is all about a genuine, heart-felt approach to letting your clients know that you understand their worth and care about their success. Take some time this holiday season to get creative and find new ways to use your client communications to say, “Thank you.” Don’t forget to keep the gratitude flowing by offering little displays of client appreciation throughout the year.