thankyou_appreciatonmarketingAppreciation marketing (AM) is becoming a popular tool for businesses. AM is a low risk/high reward component of relationship marketing, which is built on a model of consistent engagements that perpetuate a strong connection between a company and its markets. Appreciation marketing provides opportunities to show prospects how important they are to your business. AM also contributes to relationship-building by showing customers and prospects respect and gratitude.

Appreciation marketing is especially important to small businesses that often cannot compete with large competitors on price. Small businesses that employ AM can create a personalized experience that large companies may not be interested in or able to execute. The leverage provided through AM may be enough to keep customers coming back during hard economic times or when new competitors enter your space.

Giving thanks is an opportunity to ask permission to follow up with a prospect. Prospects are more likely to allow future marketing engagements if they feel like they are valuable to your company.

If a product is out of stock or not currently available making the effort to show appreciation, along with a sincere apology, can reduce a negative impression. Simply thanking a customer for placing an order – even if it cannot be fulfilled – is an effective way to encourage future orders. By showing appreciation following a bad experience, you may still be able to gain trust or even request information.

If a prospect shows interest by signing up for a newsletter or downloading a whitepaper, a short thank you email referencing that action can be effective. Timing is important in any marketing engagement; this is especially true for expressions of gratitude. Set an auto responder to deliver thanks within five minutes at the longest following an activity.

Marketing pros recommend taking the opportunity to provide additional information when showing appreciation. For example, adding a link to a relevant report or a special discount for newsletter subscribers can be a great way to deepen the relationship.

By its nature, appreciation marketing is a marketing engagement. It is appropriate to use AM to promote your company and its products. However, it is important not to offend your prospects through a constant stream of ads or promos; abundant advertising attached to AM messages can turn prospects cold. So use follow-up marketing messages prudently.

Here are five easy ways to execute an appreciation marketing strategy:

• Send a thank you card or email greeting card. Simply say “thank you”. Research shows that 97% of thank you cards sent customers via snail mail are opened. That’s a prime opportunity to connect with your customers.

• Give repeat customers special offers. Show customers that you appreciate their orders with an offer connected with a future purchase. Offer a tie-in or special pricing on their next purchase; this may also be a good time to cross sell or up sell.

• Send holiday cards. Be a part of your customers’ holiday spirit by sending a greeting card. Some small businesses find out which holidays are of interest to their customers then send personalized messages on those occasions.

• Host an event. Gather customers together to share their experiences with your company or just to mingle. By convening a group of satisfied customers you can strengthen future buying opportunities.

• Give a gift. For your most important – and profitable – customers, the way to gain an edge with competitors is to send a gift to show appreciation. We recommend sending out a gift each time a customer spends a specific amount on your company’s products. It may be even more effective when the gift arrives as a surprise.

If your small business is looking for an effective way to offset the advantages that the big boys have, appreciation marketing can be an important tool in your marketing mix. To find out more about how appreciation marketing can boost your social media marketing effectiveness, give us a call at 855 966 8692.

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