Once considered a staple of every major business and company’s marketing system, appreciation marketing kind of fell by the wayside as outbound marketing died and inbound marketing took over.
But now, many savvy business owners and entrepreneurs are starting to realize that appreciation marketing was such a good idea back then because it still works now. By building strong relationships with your clients and customers, you are able to build brand loyalty, driving up sales for the company while constantly increasing your interaction and sales.
What is Appreciation Marketing?
Simply put, appreciation marketing is showing your appreciation for your customers. This is typically done through some type of follow up, generally on occasions that will mask the overall “marketingness” of the contact. For instance, if you get a “Merry Christmas” card or “Happy Birthday” email from a company you’ve done business with in the past, you’re not going to think “Oh yeah, they’re just trying to sell me something else! How dare they….!”
You’re going to think, “Wow that was a really nice gesture. I can’t believe they thought of me or remembered.” Now, imagine this company also has a free gift or discount offer, thanking you for being such a loyal customer, great person or supporter. It doesn’t matter why, it just matters that you’re now thinking positively about that brand, have incentive to spend or visit their site, and chances are, you’re motivated to reciprocate the appreciation with your credit card.
When to Use Appreciation Marketing
That is exactly what appreciation marketing is and what it does. Here are some great situations you can use appreciation marketing for:
- Birthdays for your clients, customers, employees and prospects
- Holiday greetings and salutations
- Asking for suggestions or ratings from your past clients
- Giving some news or hot tips that your clients and leads will appreciate
- Offering “early bird” specials on new products and services
- Saying “sorry we didn’t get your business” or “reach you on the phone”
- Saying thank you for the order, referral, lead, time, lunch, etc.
- Saying congratulations on promotions, awards, new homes, offices, etc.
- Saying “let’s do lunch” or “welcome to the city!”
- Wishing someone to get well or happy anniversary
Benefits of Appreciation Marketing
While it might be pretty obvious to consumers why appreciation marketing works (since it does), marketers might like to know some of the larger benefits of appreciation marketing:
- Build better relationships with your clients through appreciation marketing. Many companies are so wrapped up in their daily operations and procedures that it can be easy to forget that the data they are looking at actually represents real people who appreciate respect and good customer service. Larger companies forget this more often than smaller companies so appreciation marketing can be a great way for smaller businesses to really hammer home the “personalized customer service” angle. For larger companies, putting this emphasis on human relationship will set you apart from your competitors.
- Use appreciation marketing for more effective follow-ups. Follow-up marketing can be tricky to pull off without seeming pushy or spammy, but appreciation marketing solves both of those problems. This leads to a more effective follow-up campaign, especially if you are communicating at the right times and/or with the right “freebies” or discounts.
- Use appreciation marketing to alter a negative impression a client might have. Just because a client didn’t have the best experience with your brand or company doesn’t mean you should write them off. In fact, if you go out of your way to right the perceived wrong, you could earn yourself an evangelist. You can start off with apologies and show that every customer is of high value. Provide a coupon or other incentive to return and turn that negative into a positive.
If you want to boost your appreciation marketing efforts to reap the benefits mentioned above, it’s a good idea to draft up a written policy and implement it across the boards. Set up reminders and notifications on your contact management software for the responsible parties.
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