At this time of year, for most of us at least, thoughts are turning to the forthcoming Christmas holidays.
Whatever you're doing, having any time away from the hustle and bustle of work to spend with family and friends to enjoy the festive period should be welcomed!
Whilst we are all in the midst of a pretty harsh economic climate and with everyone looking at ways to spend less, save more and cut back were possible, it's more important than ever to show how much you value your customers.
Obviously, it shouldn't be a once-a-year thing, but being able to say "thank you" to clients for their business over the past year is a key part of building the relationship you have with them.
No matter business you're in, clients want to feel valued. It's not just good manners, but also offers you a real opportunity to demonstrate how much they mean to you and to help foster a positive sentiment, which may well lead to more referrals and enhanced loyalty going forward.
There's no better time of the year to cement these relationships and show your gratitude for the business they've given you this year, but how should you do it?
If the best you can come up with is a bog-standard Christmas card sent with a second-class stamp, then you need to up your game!
Thankfully we've put together 10 brilliant ways you can utilise to help thank your clients in style and clearly show how much you appreciate their business (and hopefully win more!).
Let's start with...
1. Send A Personalised Handwritten Letter
It might be a little old-fashioned, but hey, there's nothing wrong with that, especially at this Christmas. When thanking people it always means a little more when there's some effort put into it.
Sure you could send an email (SPOILER ALERT - See the next step), but writing them a handwritten letter has some sense of charm and novelty to it. It's a very personal gesture that they will be sure to appreciate. If they're young enough, it might be the first one they've ever recieved!
This suggestion isn't just about one letter and replicating it, make sure you personalise it and include details that are specific to them.
You can include how they came to be a customer, any funny anecdotes you've shared, milestones they've reached this year or any achievements they've celebrated (new products, new locations, etc).
It might take some effort, but this time of year is the perfect opportunity to show customers how much you value their business with that extra personal handwritten touch.
2. Send a Personalised Email
If you have A LOT of customers and the thought of handwriting dozens of letters is too much or it's just not suitable for your clients, then you can always choose to send a personalised email instead.
This is still an opportunity to personalise the content, but thanks to copy and paste, you can power through them much more quickly. Be sure to check it before you send it, just in case you've copied and pasted one too many times and forgot to make it personal to the recipient.
As in the previous section, please make sure you include aspects that are specific to them for that personal touch, but sending it electronically means you can also add some graphical touches to make it more festive.
3. Gift Cards
Whilst we appreciate the difficult economy we're all operating in, if you have the resources or have budgeted for it already, then you could send them an electronic gift card to say thank you.
It doesn't have to be a huge amount to show them you appreciate their business, just a value that gets something for them personally.
If you're buying them in bulk, it's always worth contacting the business you're buying from to see if you can get a discount. No harm in asking!
The gift could be a physical card you can post (maybe with your handwritten note from earlier) or an electronic gift card, but don't forget to include a little personal note when sending it.
4. Listen To Them
If money is very tight, here's an option that doesn't cost you anything.
Whilst it might not seem like much, offer them an informal meeting to talk about your business relationship, the work you've done over the last 12 months and how you can work together on more projects in the future.
You can also use this as an opportunity to get feedback on what you, as a business, could do better.
Giving them an opportunity to hear what they have to say will reinforce the impression that they are an important part of your business strategy.
If you want to show them how valued they are, use this opportunity to ask for their advice for the year ahead.
It will be more impactful to show them that you value their insight (even if you don't really want or need it) than a simple face-to-face meeting in a formal business setting.
5. Personalised Gifts
If you have the money (or your clients annual spending warrants it), consider giving them a personalised gift to say 'thank you'.
This option works better when the gift can be tailored to your client, so you might need to do a bit of research or subtle questioning to find their favourite tipple, chocolates, flowers, etc.
It might be a good idea, and another opportunity for some co-promotion and local small business support, by using a firm close to you to buy whatever you're looking for.
Some firms also offer corporate gift boxes so, if you're buying multiple, there might be another chance to buy in bulk and save some time.
6. Highlight Them on Your Social Media
If you're looking for another option that doesn't cost anything, then how about using your own social media to highlight your clients?
This gives you the opportunity to showcase their work to a wider audience and has the added benefit of publically showing your appreciation.
Giving them a shoutout, whether you're sharing their information on their business, highlighting their products, or showcasing their story gives them a public platform they would never have had.
You could even create a customised graphic to accompany the post.
Don't forget to add their @username within the message so they get notified. It also increases the chance that they'll share it (retweet, repost, etc.) with their audience, helping your profile too!
This shouldn't be the only time you engage with them on social media of course.
Throughout the year, make sure you like, comment and share their posts, without looking like a stalker. They will start to return the favour (hopefully) which helps both of your analytics. It's a gift that keeps on giving.
7. Host an Event
If you and your clients are geographically close by, you could consider hosting an event or throwing a party for your collective management teams and/or workforces.
You could hold a traditional Christmas party at a mutually convenient location, either at your premises or even hire somewhere locally. Alternatively, it could also be a good time to get creative.
Depending on the number of attendees, this could be a pub quiz, a cooking class, wine tasting, a night out at a comedy club, or anything at all that will bring people together and foster those all-important relationships.
Remember it should be a relaxed, fun, positive environment, but that doesn't mean there shouldn't be time for some relaxed networking, but don't make it only ABOUT that!
8. Offer Discounts
If you sell your own range of products or services, think about offering your clients (and their staff) exclusive discounts on your products via your online store.
This gives you the perfect opportunity to turn your gratitude into paying customers. You could adjust the discount depending on the value they are to you; the more they spend with you over the year, the bigger the discount (but obviously don't tell them that!).
Make sure whatever you offer stays within your own profit margin; you still have to make money!
9. Donate To Their Charity
Many businesses 'adopt' a charity that they support throughout the year. [Note to Self - We really should do that too!]. This option works especially well if your client is more community-focused.
Instead of sending a card, letter or gift card to a person, donate some money to their chosen charity or one that is aligned with them.
If they don't have one, ask them to nominate one.
The donation doesn't even have to be financial, you and/or your team could offer to donate some time, resources or goods to a charity in their name.
Once complete, follow it up with a personalised letter outlining what you did to build a genuine connection between you.
10. Exclusive Access to Online Courses / Webinars
If you run online courses or have expertise in a particular area, why not offer the opportunity for clients to take part in an online course (at a discounted rate), Q&A session or set up an exclusive webinar in which you can offer your expertise for free?
For those of you that already have a library of online courses available, consider offering them a discount code for existing courses, so they can access it for less (or free if you're feeling generous)
If not, whatever you and your team are experts in, offer the opportunity to share that knowledge with your clients via a webinar or online meeting.
This option is a great way to show (a) that you know your stuff, (b) that you're willing to share that knowledge and (c) that you care about your client's success. Which you (a) hopefully do (b) hopefully are and (c) definately should.
11. Custom Designed Christmas Card
* I know we said there were 10, but here's a bonus one for you; it's Christmas after all. You're welcome.
Rather than sending a standard Christmas card, have one designed especially for your business which you can send to clients (and customers). It's probaby too late for 2022, but something to bear in mind for next year.
This is an opportunity to showcase your company's style and brand image with a card that exemplifies your business.
Have a little fun with it or style it out to the max. Use the opportunity to write a personal messsage inside for each clients and sit back with a contented smile for a job well done!
We hope that these ideas have given you some inspiration when it comes to showing your gratitude to your clients.
If you think we've missed any, or you have some ideas of your own that have worked for you, please let us know in the comments below.
If you need any help in crafting those emails, designing your corporate Christmas card or collaborating on your marketing efforts throughout the year, please get in touch and let's talk about how we can help. We'd love to hear for you.