It’s Valentine’s Day, and no matter what business you’re in, you’re probably always looking for new ways to tie into and celebrate the day. But in the midst of the hearts-and-flowers themes, more and more businesses are using Valentine’s Day as a time to show special appreciation to their customers. It’s not that smart businesses don’t show appreciation all year long; they do. But at certain times of the year—in this case, Valentine’s Day—they’re able to add meaning and emphasis by redoubling those efforts or giving them creative new twists.
Yahoo Small Business says that Valentine’s Day creates perfect opportunities for businesses to express heartfelt gratitude for business relationships, and you can do it in ways that aren’t tacky! In fact, the site says, the best way to come up with good ideas, ideas that are thoughtful and creative, is to tailor gestures to your customers that you would make to your significant other. Make sense? A few examples:
- Valentine’s Day cards that are imprinted with discounts or special messages
- A lunch (for your best customers) or a snack bar of Valentine’s Day treats
- Customized candy
- Drawings for special gifts, such as flowers or a weekend getaway
Messages expressing your appreciation are important; sincerity is an absolute must. Resist the urge to sell or include some kind of marketing message; you’ve got the rest of the year for that! Substance is important, too, and the ideal scenario is a sincere message accompanied by something of value. Notice we didn’t say high value; lower-value gestures can be just as meaningful when they’re thoughtful and unexpected.
Although it’s worth your effort to remind customers on Valentine’s Day (or during the entire week) how much you appreciate them, many would argue that this is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, why not look at Valentine’s Day as a kind of launch point for deepening and broadening your customer relationships for the long haul? Like other kinds of relationships, customer relationships take thought and effort and need constant nurturing. If this sounds overwhelming, it isn’t. Because owners of small and medium-size businesses already have the keys to growing their businesses by showing customers appreciation, says a post at Constant Contact’s blog. What are these keys?
- You know your customers in ways that big businesses don’t. So the foundation for taking your relationships to the “next level” are already in place.
- You’re in control of customers’ experiences. Look at each of your customer touch points for where to find small ways to make them even more special. They all add up.
- You’re more likely to genuinely care about your customers. There are many fewer links in the chain (and maybe none!) between you and your customers, which can foster genuine understanding and wanting to solve their problems!
- Your customers do some of your marketing. Every business has loyal customers who are “marketing” it through word of mouth. The most loyal are your brand champions.
- You can take advantage of ongoing opportunities to nurture and build these relationships.
- You are committed to your customer relationships. You’re constantly working to understand your customers better and meet their needs. In other words, you’re all in!
Valentine’s Day is a sweet respite in the middle of February, a great time for businesses to celebrate customer relationships. But it’s an isolated day; make it the start of an extended, even more robust, effort to show appreciation to your customers in new and creative ways!
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