Show your customers that you appreciate them in 2018

You should stay in touch, but don’t go over the top or annoy them

Marketing experts tell us that it costs about five times more to gain a loyal new customer than it does to keep a current one. So what are you going to do in 2018 to keep your existing customers smiling? I posed that question to a friend who runs a small print shop in downtown Toronto. His ideas may not be new, and he may not be an “expert”, but they’re definitely worth remembering.

Keep in touch, but don’t annoy them. This may be the most difficult strategy. It all depends on the personality of each customer and his or her preferred means of communication. This printer often uses some kind of in-shop discount or special offer to break the ice. One thing’s for sure – not keeping in touch with your customers for a long period of time is a no-no.

Start a client loyalty program. My printer uses a customer ID number to track the number of purchases, and then rewards loyal customers with a free product (when they reach a certain buying limit) the next time they return to his shop or place an order. The result is invariably a smile.

Reward customer referrals. This instills loyalty while thanking them for their business. Anyone who refers a client to him gets a thank-you card in the mail. If the new client purchases a certain amount, he includes a gift card as well.

Offer online-only clients a special deal. Use social media platforms like Facebook to create a special deal just for them. This not only rewards your existing clients, but sharing deals online is an easy way to boost social shares and attract new followers. He also tries to make the message entertaining, often with eye-catching and even humorous images.

Give personalized mugs as gifts. Mugs aren’t expensive, are used frequently, and last a long time. Consider a personalized mug and write a sincere message to your customers, thanking them for their business. Just don’t overdo it.

Give them a book. Clients have specialized knowledge in their respective fields, may follow a sports team, have personal preferences, and so on. So why not send them a book related to their field, favourite team or pastime? Discussing the book may even help deepen your relationship with them.


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.