5 Low-Cost Customer Appreciation Strategies

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down simply by spending his money somewhere else.” 

~ Sam Walton (Founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club)

They say every business has three types of customers.

There are price-conscious people – clients who will leave if they find a better deal. There are fence-sitters – those who like your brand but could be persuaded to go elsewhere. And there are loyalists – people who are willing to pay more to maintain a relationship.

If you move people toward loyalty, your bottom line will thrive. The success rate of selling to new customers ranges between 5-20%, while that rate soars to 60-70% for existing customers. And a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by as much as 125%.

With limited time and energy, devoting some of your marketing budget to customer appreciation makes good sense.

Here are five simple ways to build loyalty by showing customers you care:

1. Handwritten Notes

Over 70 years ago, Hallmark crafted one of the most memorable slogans in history: “When you care enough to send the very best.”

The phrase was spot on – thoughtful written communication speaks volumes. When you want to touch your most valuable customers, a handwritten note is the gold standard. Though these notes take time, they really do work.

Put this goal in your task list and pen one appreciation note per day.

2. Giveaway Contests

Sharing is caring!

There is nothing like the word “free” to grab attention and earn fans, especially when you give away something of value.

As soon as you post a giveaway contest, your popularity will soar. Try weekly email giveaways featuring business books or tutorial freebies. Onsite contest entries or selfie social media posts that tag your brand are a fun option. Or build engagement with a “caption this photo” challenge.

3. Happy Kids, Happy Parents

When you put kids first, parents will notice.

What are some ways you can honor families in your line of work? It may be countertop treats, mini water bottles, waiting room play areas, a coloring contest, or sibling discounts. Even a fish tank or a set of wooden puzzles can boost the happiness factor by ten.

Appreciate your families by welcoming their kids.

4. Learn & Share

Whether you’re building your content marketing or strengthening B2B relationships, giving away wisdom is a no-brainer.

When you find a great online resource, a quick life hack, or a useful industry resource, make a point to pass it along. Or create tip sheets and videos demonstrating beneficial ways to use your product. Helping people succeed is a smart way to build relational currency.

5. Promotional Swag

Double your marketing efforts by combining a gift and your brand.

Stick your logo on USB drives, notebooks, stadium cushions, and more. People love getting something for nothing. And they’ll be reminded of your appreciation again and again.

Show Your Appreciation Through Print

As business author Michael LeBoeuf says, “a satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” Give people time, words of appreciation, or gifts and turn price-conscious fence-sitters into loyal followers and friends.

In a digitally saturated generation, print materials are one of the best ways to solidify your business relationships. Want to win over customers month after month so your business will thrive? When you’re ready to talk options, we’re here to help you inspire loyalty through print.

Increase Customer Engagement with Out-of-the-Box QR Codes

Not long ago, scanning books or groceries by a rectangle barcode seemed quite novel.

It was fast, convenient, and just a little fun. But as society’s pace accelerated, so did our need to read barcodes efficiently. In 1994, Japanese auto-makers adopted “Quick Read” QR codes (square matrix barcodes that could be scanned from any direction) that stored a hundred times more information than conventional barcodes.

Enter QR Creativity

In this micro-attention age, QR codes can catch the fleeting attention of your audience by adding both efficiency and quirkiness to your designs.

Today’s customers love to actively participate – not just passively consume – so why not take people on a “digital scavenger hunt” you’ve created by leading them to a URL for your landing page, a direct link to your social media page, or to retrieve personalized texts from your team?

While many QR codes are bland, they don’t have to be. Here are just a few out-of-the-box ways businesses are using printed QR codes to build bridges with clients:

WiFi Network Sharing

Want to make your network accessible and convenient for your guests?

Simplify this step by building a QR code that allows them to connect to your WiFi with just one scan. Instantly connect users to the network and make their lives more simple and stress-free.

Surprise Gifts

Gifts are a treat, but surprise gifts are even better.

When you want to thank a VIP customer or impress a first-time client, offer them a printed thank you postcard with an unexpected giveaway they can access by scanning the QR code. This builds emotional engagement by adding both participation and a greater level of surprise.

Menus

Try replacing bulky tri-folds with simple table tents or bookmarks when you want to keep your menus crisp and current.

Customers can scan the QR code to read the full menu, view seasonal or daily specials, or even pay after completing the order.

Invoice Surveys

When you ship goods to your client, offer a discount if they complete a quick survey after scanning your QR code.

Happy clients are more willing participants. Grab them on the spot as they unbox their new purchases!

Die Cut Overlays

If you use plain brown gift bags or simple white boxes, you can add color and charm with die-cut labels that double as a funky patterned QR code (like this playful QR valentine).

Who says beauty and functionality can’t co-exist? Have some fun taking people on “the code less traveled.”

Captivating Colors

Why live in the monochromatic when you can design in color?

Modern QR code generators allow you to add zest to your QR code based on your aim, style, and brand theme. Some software even allows you to choose patterns, build logos or faces into your code, or add sophisticated gradients.

Bridge the Gap Between Print & Digital

Nielson found about 56% of consumers rely on printed matter for sales information, specifically when seeking information on a purchasing decision.

Print is seen as a concrete, reliable source, especially for prospects nearing a decision. By including QR codes in print marketing, you increase the potential for landing a valuable client. Consider using QR codes for:

  • Product packaging, invoice stuffers
  • Printed menus, business cards, or rack cards
  • Store promotions with discounts available at checkout
  • Promotional games, puzzles, or scavenger hunts
  • Stickers for merchandise, packaging, displays, or cards

Increase your conversion rates while coaxing prospects further down the sales funnel in a fun, effortless manner.

6 Winning Direct Mail Campaigns

Direct mail offers results that other channels just can’t match.

According to a recent study, direct mail has a response rate as high as 9%. However, there are always ways to engage your audience better and improve your mailers’ effectiveness. These methods below catch your recipents’ attention and increase the chances that they’ll read and respond to your direct mail piece. 

6 Winning Direct Mail Campaigns

1. Instill Curiosity with a Quiz

Do you worry your direct mail envelopes are going in the trash unread?

Take a page from Harvard Medical School’s playbook. In a recent mailing to woo subscribers for their Harvard Heart Letter newsletter, they put a heart health quiz on the front. The answers to the three-question quiz were inside the mailer, giving recipients a reason to open.

2. Benefits, Not Features

As marketers, it’s so easy to get caught up in promoting all the neat features of your product.

Your readers, however, don’t care about that. They care about how your product can be of benefit to them.

HelloFresh hit the mark with a February 2020 mailer that highlighted three big benefits to ordering their kits. At a glance, readers could see that the service could save them time, save them money, and offer more variety.

3. Leverage Testimonials

Research shows that a recommendation, whether from a friend or a stranger, has a lot of sway on reader opinions.

In fact, 70% of people will trust a recommendation even when it comes from someone who they don’t know. 

Florida Gulf Coast University used the power of testimonials by putting recommendations from past students right on their mailing postcard. Having names, faces, and a glowing recommendation from current students helped convince potential attendees that the school is a good choice. 

4. Use the Magic Word

No, not “please.” The powerful word that gets your mailer a second look instead of a quick trip to the recycle bin is “free.” 

A March 2020 mailer from Estee Lauder catches attention with bright coloration and a prominent offer for a free gift when people visit their counter inside Macy’s. Offering a gift is a way to get people inside your brick-and-mortar location, where there is an increased chance that they’ll take the opportunity to buy.

5. Catch the Eye with Familiar Forms and Images

When Nestle was promoting their Kit Kat Chunky bar in the UK, they used a familiar image — a Royal Mail card about an undeliverable package.

However, instead of the normal reasons for failure to deliver, recipients learn that the free chocolate bar Nestle intended to send them was “too chunky” to fit through their mail slot. The mailer served as a coupon to get a free bar to try from the store.

6. Invite Recipients to Interact with Your Mail Piece

To raise awareness for World Water Day in Belgium, the organization demonstrated the importance of water in an innovative way.

They sent a postcard that could only be read after the reader held it under running water. This tactile trick increased engagement and also got the group a viral bump on social media.

No matter what your business, it’s possible to catch readers’ eyes and attention with your direct mail pieces. Think about how to evoke your recipient’s curiosity, which can lead to engagement and conversion.