November is the perfect time to let your customers or clients know that you appreciate their business. And did you know that doing so can be a very effective marketing tactic?
November is a great time to send out Thanksgiving cards to show your appreciation to your current customers, vendors, business partners, or anyone who refers business your way. You can also send cards to prospects. They will appreciate the thought, particularly when they realize that you are not asking them for anything. (This is not the place for a sales message. Your only purpose is to make contact).
I recommend business owners consider sending Thanksgiving cards instead of Christmas or Holiday cards. Why?
Along with the sentiment of “Giving Thanks” being a very appropriate way to appreciate your customers, by sending your cards in November, you’ll avoid the clutter of holiday cards in December.
In fact, one main reason I recommend Thanksgiving cards, or “Thank You” cards in November is the fact no one sends thank you cards anymore. When was the last time you received a thank you card from someone? If you are like most people, it has been quite some time.
Letting your customers know how much you appreciate their business is a great way to build a strong customer relationship. And building strong customer relationships is a key marketing strategy, whether your customers make a one-time purchase from you or provide you with repeat business.
If yours is a one-time purchase business, you want your customers to refer others. If your customers purchase repeatedly, you want them to buy more often and to make larger purchases. Ensuring you have a strong customer relationship can help you to achieve both.
Out of site, out of mind. We’ve all heard it before. When it comes to managing customer relationships this adage holds true. The best way to ensure you will get the business when a customer or prospect is ready to buy, is to make sure your company, product or service is the first one they think of. The best way to ensure this is to maintain regular communication with them.
And this is especially important in this age of information technology, when many businesses have lost touch with their customers in an effort to automate and systemize their business. They may be operating their business efficiently, but chances are they have lost touch with the very people who made them successful – their customers and clients.
Thanksgiving cards stand out because hardly anyone sends them. Standing out should always be one of your primary marketing goals. Just imagine if you were in a room full of people talking, and you were trying to share a message with everyone in the room. You’d have to yell pretty loud, wouldn’t you?
In marketing, we call that room full of noisy people, “clutter.” Our goal is to avoid clutter so that we can be easily heard. Otherwise we have to yell pretty loudly in order to be heard. In marketing, this translates into spending more time, money or energy, just to get the same message out.
You want your marketing efforts to be as efficient as possible because generally that will cost you less money and time. Your goal should be to avoid clutter whenever possible.
In order to do this, you want to market where others are not, or when others are not. This might mean using different methods of getting your marketing message out than your competition is using, or putting your message out at a time when your competition is not marketing. This is not always possible, but you should take advantage of “clutter-free” times and opportunities whenever possible. And who knows, it might be just the reminder your customers need to re-visit your website or store, or pick up the phone to contact you. Are you wondering if you should send your Thanksgiving or thank you cards via postal mail or email?
I believe you should send special communications such as holiday cards or thank you notes via traditional postal mail. Email is fine for day-to-day communications and business, and many of us rely on it for quick and easy communication. However when you are sending out Thanksgiving cards (or any other holiday card or personal note) it is more than just communication. It is special and you want it to be received as such. When was the last time you received a handwritten thank you note, or a card that was hand-signed by the owner of a company that you do business with? Probably not recently. And that is the very reason I recommend you send a handwritten thank you note, or a card with a handwritten signature.
It costs the same as mailing a form letter or an imprinted card, but the value to the recipient is so much higher. It says you took the time to hand sign, or handwrite a personal message. To your customer, it says “they really appreciate me.”
So use email for your regular communication, but use postal mail when it comes to cards and any other form of special communication that you want to stand out. The value will be worth the extra time, effort and expense.
Give thanks to your customers this year instead of following the pack and sending holiday cards or gifts and see what happens!
(C) Copyright 2005 Debbie LaChusa, 10stepmarketing
About the author
(C) Copyright 2005 Debbie LaChusa 20-year marketing veteran Debbie LaChusa created The 10stepmarketing System to help small business owners successfully market their business, themselves without spending a fortune on marketing. To learn more about this simple, step-by-step program and to sign up for her FREE audio class and FREE weekly ezine featuring how-to articles, tips and advice, visit http://www.10stepmarketing.com