How to keep customers engaged with your business

We live in an increasingly “instant” society. From drive-thru restaurants to Amazon Prime, people rely on prompt service – often at the expense of the deep relationships businesses once had with their customers. It makes it difficult to engage the way businesses once did. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep your customers engaged with your business, using approaches that weren’t always available to the businesses of yesteryear.

The great news is that these are key components of outstanding customer service that will work for e-commerce and in-store sales – giving you greater opportunities for customer engagement than ever before. Here are a few key things you can do to improve customer engagement with your business and ensure greater customer loyalty – long after a purchase or transaction.

Create Value

The value you create for your customers doesn’t just stop at the service or product you provide. By serving as a resource for them, you establish a relationship of mutual value with them. They will see you as an important asset to have in their lives, and they’ll want to remain connected with your business.

You can do this by sharing whitepapers, guides, infographics, and even ebooks detailing information that your customers will find of value, even if it isn’t directly related to your product. You can also provide tips that will help customers use your products or services more effectively. Lastly, you share success stories of how other people use your products or services to achieve great results and inspire your target audience.

Get Social to Build Relationships

Social media is a boon for businesses of all sizes. Of course, it is only what you make of it. If you don’t invest your time and attention toward creating a strong social media presence, it can’t really pay off for your business.

However, social media offers small businesses a free platform to reach out to their customers for various reasons. You can use social media to ask for customer feedback, announce new products and services, showcase your team members, and engage in conversations that are relevant in the communities where your business operates.

The more social media platforms you use to engage your customers, the greater your engagement is likely to be. Some of the top platforms you might want to consider for your business include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok.

Another popular option that requires a little more planning and work on your part is YouTube. Here you can make videos about practically anything related to your business and post them for current and future engagement with your customers.

The idea is to post frequently and respond to customer questions and complaints as they arise. Believe it or not, how you respond to complaints made on social media can have a massive impact on how customers view your business and your brand.

Have Contests

Contests and competitions, especially those where prizes are involved, build engagement and deepen customer loyalty. They are incredible tools for keeping your customers on the edge of their collective seats to see who wins.

The type of competition or prizes awarded isn’t nearly as important as casting a wide net among your audience for interest. In other words, the prizes do need to be meaningful enough that a large section of your audience is on board to participate. When this happens, they’ll spread the word for you.

You don’t have to offer daily prizes or even monthly contests to win customer loyalty. But hosting different contests throughout the year can make a significant difference to your customer engagement, participation, and, ultimately, sales.

Create a Loyalty Club with Special Offers

Customer loyalty programs are another great way to increase engagement. They are great tools for creating repeat business by offering freebies and discounts. For instance, old-fashioned punch cards can be great for food services. Every ten punches on the card result in a free sandwich, coffee, dessert, etc. People will come in day after day, as long as you provide good service and products so that they can get the free product down the road. It’s a small price to pay to encourage customer loyalty. One that is often well rewarded with loyal paying customers who frequent your business regularly.

Ask for Their Opinions

Surveys are incredible tools you can use to get feedback and opinions from your customers. Surveys are cost-effective tools you can use to ask a wide range of questions and solicit commentary from your customers.
Participation can also be fun for customers. It gives them a voice in future products your company creates, the level of customer service you offer, and how you interact with them regularly.

Thank Them for Their Patronage

Finally, don’t forget to thank your customers. While telling them “thank you!” is terrific, there are more meaningful ways to thank them that will stay with them much longer while increasing engagement at the same time. One way is with handwritten thank-you cards and notes.

This is an underrated method of building customer engagement that often flies under the radar in our highly technological society. However, it is a method that can generate fantastic results when it comes to loyalty and engagement from your customers. Handwritten letters and handwritten notes make your customers feel appreciated and wanted.

We live in a world where so much communication is handled by email that it stands out and makes an impression when you send an actual handwritten letter by mail.

The Key Is To Get Started

The more your business uses these methods to improve customer engagement, the better the results are likely to be for your business. However, it’s up to you to implement them. If you run a business, ensure that your customer engagement efforts are a daily and ongoing part of your operations.

Don’t wait until you have a significant problem to start talking to your customers. Don’t forget that it is vital for any business owner or entrepreneur to know how valuable their customers are.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

5 Easy Ways To Market Your Small Business Using Handwritten Notes

Handwritten notes are a tried-and-true method of communicating with new or prospective clients. Writing a customized handwritten message demonstrates there is a person behind the scenes at the heart of your business.

Because personalized, handwritten messages are a forgotten craft, they are very effective. Consider: when was the last time you received a handwritten letter instead of an email or a Facebook message? Those posts may be highly efficient, but a handwritten card transcends the transitory nature of our digital inboxes and provides something substantial and meaningful.

Let’s take a look at some fantastic ways you may utilize handwritten notes to promote and develop your small business.

Thank Them For Their Business

It is important to start with the fundamentals. Thanking your new customers or clients for their business is a simple gesture that shows them that you appreciate their decision to choose your company.

A thank-you note should convey this sentiment in writing, using a pen and paper (and even a robot!) instead of an electronic form of communication. Your gratitude can go a long way in developing a lasting relationship with your customer. As we outline in this article, make sure you send your thank-you note in a timely manner; otherwise, your customer may forget about the transaction (and you).

Send Personalized Birthday Cards

What could be a more unique and personalized opportunity to reach out to your customer than to commemorate their birthday? Recognizing their birthday by sending them a handwritten note will help create familiarity with your clientele, which can later translate into a deeper, long-term relationship.

Sure it may take a little extra effort, but it’s worth it to make your customer feel appreciated. Too few businesses send handwritten cards, let alone cards that aren’t directly related to a sales transaction. So you are sure to stand out by following this approach.

To keep track of information specific to each customer such as birthdays, choose a reputable Customer Relationship Management platform to help automate this process. By using a CRM, you can keep all customer contact information in a single place so that you can easily send out birthdays and other critical time-sensitive messages to your customers.

Send a Note After a Networking Event

Regular networking is excellent, but incorporating a strong follow-up is even better. When you meet someone at an event, make sure you send that person a quick note a few days afterward, which will reinforce your connection.

This approach is an easy way to connect with someone who may not necessarily realize that you can add value to their business while developing a deeper relationship with them than the initial (and often casual or shallow) connection made through the networking event.

They will also appreciate that you took the time to continue a conversation in another way. A handwritten note will help them remember you and your company when they eventually need products or services, allowing you to gain even more value from networking.

Write a Handwritten Note of Encouragement

We all go through tough or challenging times. So when someone reaches out to you during a particularly difficult (or otherwise notable) situation, you are sure to remember it. If you notice someone standing out – for whatever reason – be sure to send them a note of encouragement. This gesture will let the person know that their actions haven’t gone unnoticed and are appreciated by others, including you.

When someone is outwardly positive, acts with integrity, or stands tall in the face of a challenge, you should use that opportunity to let them know that they aren’t alone. Sending a personalized, handwritten note or card to a person who has demonstrated confidence or positivity can greatly influence the way they view themselves, their business – and you.

Prospect A New Target Area

We’ve talked about prospecting elsewhere on this blog. When you are looking to build your business in a new territory, you have to get the attention of potential local customers. What better way to do that than with a personal note or card?

Again, this is an opportunity for you to stand out from other potential competitors who haven’t taken the time to create and send a handwritten note to people who live or work locally. This handwritten letter should include helpful information about your business, how you will be of benefit to them, and a brief description of your products or services.

A handwritten letter to local businesses or households is an excellent opportunity for you to introduce your business to influential community members who can help you establish relationships with even larger networks of neighbourhood people and businesses.

Get Started Today

These are just a few ideas on how to market your business to new or potential customers. As we have seen with so many of our clients, a handwritten card can be an effective way to continue building strong relationships with current customers and prospects alike.

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to market your business, contact us today. We’ll be happy to discuss what we can do for you to help grow and expand your customer base.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

7 Most Common Business Thank You Note Mistakes

It’s common knowledge that a thank-you note is an essential part of business etiquette, but believe it or not, there are many ways to do it wrong. As we have written about here and here, there is nothing more effective than a handwritten thank you card when it comes to winning new clients and increasing sales in your business. And in today’s digital age, sending a printed note is even more important.

However, many business owners don’t take advantage of this key business practice to the degree that they should. There are many reasons for this that we will discuss in this article, but today I want to focus on the most common business thank-you note mistakes.

While we are big fans of thank-you notes as a general rule, misunderstandings over proper etiquette and even when to send a card can weaken or even harm customer relationships. To avoid the seven most common thank-you note mistakes, read on.

Not sending the note soon enough

The sooner your company sends a note after any transaction or touchpoint, the more likely it will be read and remembered by the person who received it. It might seem like a small thing, but in today’s busy world where people get hundreds or thousands of emails every day (and forget most of them), this simple step can make all the difference.

If your company is in the habit of sending thank you notes more than 72 hours after every job or transaction, chances are that many recipients will forget who sent it and why. The sooner a personalized note arrives, the higher its impact – especially if they received hundreds of other generic emails, text messages and memes in between.

Sending a generic note without any personalization or connection
We get it. A form letter is easy to replicate and send out. Just print and mail. If that’s all the company is doing with a thank-you note, it may not cut it. Sure, a form letter might work for the first few customers who receive it, but after that, recipients will see it for what it is: an automated gesture to boost your business’s sales without any genuine care or connection behind it.

Instead, make sure your thank-you note is tailored to the individual. Personalization will inspire a response and have recipients seeing your business as an interested party in their lives, not a faceless vendor sending out blank cards for marketing purposes. Include as many details as you can, including the customer’s name, a mention of the product or service and the date of the transaction.

Making The Thank-You Note All About You

The intended purpose of a thank-you note is to make customers feel appreciated, especially if you already provided an exceptional product or level of service. However, what you want to avoid is making them feel like they are getting an advertisement from your business.

That means the focus of the thank-you note should remain squarely on the customer, not on your company. Sure, you should acknowledge the importance of your products and services – indirectly. But a thank-you note is not an opportunity to brag about what makes your company great.

Instead, think of this: if someone did something nice for you (e.g., bought a product or service from you), would you want that person to talk about him or herself the whole time? Probably not. The same is true for thank-you notes: make sure they focus on the customer and their needs, not you.

Going On Too Long

When it comes to thank-you notes, less is more. You want to keep your thank-you note short and sweet – preferably less than 200 words. Long paragraphs and multiple pages are too much, even for a wonderful customer. If you feel that you want to say more than you have room for in your note, that’s okay. Just send a shorter thank-you note and explain that there will be more follow up in the future.

Remember that every touchpoint creates an opportunity to strengthen (or weaken) the impression your customer has of your company – and you. So make sure that every word of your thank-you note is carefully chosen and adds value in some way.

Not Saying Anything Of Value

This is related to the last point. When you are sending a thank-you note, you should still be doing it for a reason. A good thank-you note can communicate a lot in few words. Use this as an opportunity to communicate what is important to you: trust, quality, originality, customer experience or meaning – to name a few areas.

This is an opportunity to express the values you hold dear and the beliefs you stand behind. If you’re not saying anything of value, then your customers probably aren’t getting anything out of reading your notes.

Writing An Email Instead Of A Handwritten Note

I doubt you are surprised that the team behind Postalgia would recommend handwritten notes. But admitted bias aside, there is value to sending your customers a physical, handwritten piece of mail.

There is a sense of appreciation and care that can just come through in the touch, feel and use of an actual thank-you note. It’s tactile. It feels good to receive it. It takes effort to send it. It’s memorable.

While email is generic and unremarkable, handwritten notes are the opposite. So if you have the time and ability to send a thank-you note in person, then your customers will appreciate it. Not only does this show that you care – which is what a thank-you note is all about – but also that you took the time to put effort into their appreciation of your business.

Forgetting to send out thank-you notes altogether

Lastly, one of the big mistakes is not sending out customer thank-you notes at all. This is a big no-no. Your customers deserve to know that their business means something to you.

If it just slips your mind, then make sure you get on top of things as soon as possible, preferably within 72 hours of the customer interaction, as per tip number one. And don’t tell yourself that they “won’t care”. They will.

Instead, think of the thank-you note as an opportunity. With just a few words, you can express gratitude for their business and all the ways it truly matters to you. Be genuine, be brief, and be grateful. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just focus on what’s important: your customers’ happiness.

Wrapping Up

Sending thank-you notes is a powerful tool for deepening your relationship with your customers. But it is important to do it right. By avoiding these seven mistakes, you can help ensure that you get the most out of this important activity.

Of course, the most important step is resolving to include thank-you notes as a key part of your sales process. Are there any other examples of common mistakes that you see small businesses make when writing their thank-you notes? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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