While you should be working to dazzle your customers year round, the holiday season represents a significant opportunity for you to really capture their attention. Here are some strategies you can use to make sure you go out with a bang in your customers’ minds.
- Send a handwritten holiday card
This probably only works if you have a handful of clients that you work with regularly, like I do for my marketing firm. But don’t underestimate the power of snail mail: we’re so used to being bombarded by email junk that a big, bright red card in the mail is sure to get the attention of your recipients.
Bonus tip: In the card, make a personal comment that shows you pay attention to your clients. Maybe you wish one a bon voyage on his upcoming trip to Italy, or ask how another’s daughter likes having her braces off. This strengthens the personal relationship you have with your customers.
- Hand-select a gift
Here’s another tip if you’ve got just a few clients: holiday gifts can show your appreciation and put you top of mind with your client list. Keep the gift neutral (not everyone drinks alcohol, so skip the bottle of wine) and veer away from using “Christmas” language in favor of “holiday” or “season’s greetings” messages in case your customer doesn’t celebrate Christmas.
Bonus tip: If you know your clients fairly well, veer away from the generic gift basket and spend time selecting unique gifts for each one. If you know one client is an avid golfer or knitter, that should steer your gift choice.
- Offer loyal-customer discounts
This time of year, you’re probably spitting out quite a few holiday promotions in an effort to corner as much of the market as possible. Go one step further and reward long-time customers with even bigger discounts and special offers.
Bonus tip: You can even customize the offer if you use customer relationship management software and can dive into each customer’s preferences and order history. For example, if you have a customer who has bought a raincoat from you recently, you could offer a matching umbrella at half off.
- Implement a killer customer referral program
The only thing better than customers that buy from you repeatedly is when those customers tell their friends about you. While it’s certainly good business for you to get these referrals, why shouldn’t your customers benefit, too? Create a loyalty program where customers who send new business to you get special perks.
Bonus tip: You can poll your frequent customers to understand what kinds of benefits they’d like to receive from your loyalty program: gift cards, increasing discounts, or even free products might be worth considering.
- Highlight them on social media
The holiday season is a great time for a little goodwill in your marketing efforts. Use this opportunity to pick one customer a week and feature her on your Facebook page. Make sure to tag the customer so she can brag to all her friends that she’s a mini-celebrity.
Bonus tip: Consider holding a contest to pick who you will feature. Perhaps customers can share a heartwarming holiday tale, and you pick the best ones to promote.
- Take them out to dinner
If your customers live in your area, spend a little one-on-one time with them this holiday season, when everyone’s eager to eat, drink and be merry together. Treating a customer to a meal not only makes him feel you value your relationship with him, but it also gives you insight into how you might help him in the future, as well as what your customers in general want from you.
Bonus tip: Don’t make sales any part of the agenda. This is simply a meal to say thank you for being a customer. Believe me: the act itself will work wonders on your marketing.
- Hold a customer holiday party
Make this year’s holiday party more fun by inviting your customers to join in. They’ll get to meet the staff that makes your business tick, as well as other customers. Throwing a shindig shows your customers that you’re more than just a business, and that you want to connect on a personal level. Lampshade optional.
Bonus tip: Use this opportunity to hand out samples of new products or create goodie bags to hand out to attendees.
Showing how much you appreciate the people who make your business possible during the holiday season paves the way for future opportunities for your business in the New Year.