Every small business owner is thankful for their customers. Without those loyal customers that keep coming to your door, running your business would be a lot harder.
When customers give you the love—putting their dollars into your small business—it’s nice to give them some love back. In fact, showing a little customer appreciation might help keep your customers coming back to you. Research shows that 68% of customers will switch the brands they shop with if they feel that the businesses don’t care whether they shop with them or not.
So how can you say, “thank you for supporting my small business?”
Here are badges, ideas, and more creative ways to show your customers just how much you appreciate them.
A thank you note is a tried-and-true way to show that you appreciate someone’s effort to shop with you. It clearly gets the message “thank you for supporting my small business” across to the customer.
However, we aren’t talking about just a generalized, simple, “Thank you!”
Go the extra mile and write a personalized note. Show your customers you remember their business by mentioning a product they bought with you. The more specifics, the better.
It’s surprising how rarely this show of gratitude is used—it just takes a few moments to give a thank you note that personalized touch.
While you’ll want to personalize each thank you note as much as possible, it’s always helpful to start out with a template. Consider this a jumping-off point but have fun with these. Show some personality, make your brand stand out, and you’ll be more likely to connect with your customers.
Dear [insert customer name],
Thank you for choosing [insert company name] for your [insert specific product or service] needs. From everyone at [insert company name], we want to thank you for supporting our small business.
We hope you enjoy your [insert specific product or service], and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We love hearing from our customers—whether you loved your [insert specific product or service] or have ideas for how we can make the experience even better.
To show you how much we appreciate your business, here is a [insert coupon or incentive] for your next purchase.
Thank you again and welcome to the [insert company name] family!
[Insert job title]
If you really want the “thank you for supporting small business” sentiment to show loud and clear, make your appreciation public!
We’ve made it easy to use one (or both) of our customer appreciation badges.
Add a thank you badge to your website for all your site users to see, or print a badge out and place it on your store’s windows or checkout site, or frame it for a nice wall decoration.
Download our “thank you for supporting small business” badges.
Nothing says “thank you” to your small business’s best customers like a solid customer loyalty program. And considering 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers, you want to make sure your customers have a reason to come back.
A customer loyalty program can take many shapes depending on the type of business you run.
A coffee shop, for instance, could implement a loyalty program where every 10th coffee bought at the store earns a free coffee. Or, a retail store could offer rewards toward the products sold after a customer has spent a certain amount at the store. Anything that allows customers to redeem their accrued rewards on their future purchases will work. And if you want to bring your loyalty program to the next level, offer tiered rewards to your most dedicated and long-term customers.
Almost any business that sells a product or service can implement a customer loyalty program that shows your appreciation for customers that always come back.
If you’re not ready to set up a formal customer loyalty program (offering a potential of freebies for any customer), then you could sporadically give free product upgrades for your most loyal customers.
This appreciation tactic works well for businesses that offer a service. For instance, if you have a long-time customer who’s used the most basic subscription level for a while now, offer to give them more functionality at a discounted (or no) cost.
And if you’re a business that sells products, offer an even bigger discount during a big sale for your long-term customers.
Another way to show customers you appreciate their business is to give away free products, services, expertise, or advice in a freebie giveaway.
A sweepstakes-style giveaway can reward customers for shopping with your small business—or even just keeping up with your newsletter or engaging on social media—by giving away free products.
It doesn’t have to be much and a giveaway could be a good way to also get rid of some extra inventory you have lying around.
If you have a particularly loyal and special customer, take the time out of your day to visit their business, or meet them for coffee to personally communicate your gratitude. You don’t need to break the bank for a big visit, but simply taking the time out of your busy day will do.
As long as it proves valuable for both you and the customer, your client should find that the extra step taken shows your appreciation. Plus, you can take the time to have a meaningful conversation about how your business can serve the client better.
If you have a B2B client, for instance, schedule a quick visit to their offices, get to know their business a little more closely, and give a genuine “thank you” in person.
There are a whole bunch of ways to get creative with a “customer of the month (or even week) club.”
This could be a profile on a certain customer that you feature on your website’s blog or social media channels. Or, if you have a retail store with a variety of products, show a picture and a quick blurb of thanks on your whiteboard (if the customer is comfortable with it).
If you run a B2B model, you can even offer your customer of the month’s products in your own store.
If you operate in a small town, community, or neighborhood, an easy way to thank all of your customers at once is to throw a customer appreciation party.
This could be a relaxed barbecue, an after-hours dinner or cocktail event, or even an hour-long special event during lunch on a weekday. (Offer an exclusive look into a new product, and you might get customers coming back for more.)
An easy way to show your first-time customers that you appreciate their business is to provide a special discount or incentive for them to shop with you again.
Say, for instance, you run a clothing store and a first-time customer returned a product they purchased. Ask them for a second chance (and show them you appreciated their business in the first place) by offering a 10% discount on the next product they buy.
Or, if you run an events business and for some reason, a customer couldn’t attend (bad weather, traffic, or an unexpected conflict), give them a certificate, refund, or discount on their next service.
Not only do these gestures show that you appreciate your customer’s business, but you’ll encourage them to come back for more.
If your business is run on a B2B model, then an easy way to show your appreciation and help support your fellow entrepreneurial customers is to share their products on your website or in your store.
In a reciprocal approach, you could offer a discount to your customer’s business and they could offer one to yours. Reach out to your best customers and see if they’d be interested in sharing a special code with you so that you can drive some traffic to their business.
Simply promoting their products and services is a great way to say “thank you for supporting my small business.”
Social media is a great creative outlet for all sorts of business purposes, including a stellar customer appreciation campaign. There are many different social media campaigns that could work for your business.
You could invite your best and most loyal customers to an exclusive Facebook group where you post special deals or early-bird events.
Or, you could take the time to snap a picture of a happy customer with their product, and post a quick blurb on why they are such a great customer. A quick (and public) thank you will show how much you care.
You could also create a social media loyalty program where customers could earn rewards points by sharing your posts or providing feedback to your business via a social media channel.
Another way to show your thanks to your customers’ loyalty and support is to show that you care about their opinion and experience.
Offer a feedback channel where customers can voice their experiences (good and bad) with your business. Or, host a special event where you hear—and talk through—your business with your most loyal customers.
Showing that you’re responsive to a customer’s feedback shows implicitly that you care about their business and what they think of your product and services.
Of course, showing that you’re responsive means that you actually have to respond to their reviews and feedback. If a customer gives you a bad review, genuinely respond to the feedback.
If you have a lifetime customer you’d like to show a major gesture of thanks, you could make a charitable donation to a cause relevant to your business (or theirs) in their honor.
Oftentimes, a charitable donation can mean more to a customer than a simple freebie gift would. Taking a thoughtful look at what your customers care about, and finding the right charity to contribute to, can show that you’ll go the extra mile to show your appreciation.
In another loyalty and reward program model, you could give your customers more intangible benefits than discounts or freebies by offering a special event series for loyal, long-time customers.
If you run a coffee shop, you could host a three-part series of special brewing sessions for your loyal (and engaged customers). Or, if you offer a particularly technical service, you could have your experts host informative bonus sessions for your best customers.
Any event, session, or expert series that shows you value your best customers might be a good way to give more value to your customers in the long-run.
Everyone loves a few little treats now and then. And sending over some cookies, chocolates, or flowers to your best customers could be a little “thank you for supporting small business” that keeps your customer coming back.
There’s no need to make a grand (and expensive) gesture when it comes to sending treats. Just a little something with a simple, handwritten thank you note will be appreciated.
You can make a habit of this and send out thank you treats every year to your best customers. Or you could line them up with holidays and events each year.
Nothing says thank you for supporting your business like sending your customers more business.
If you operate under a B2B model, this is a particularly good way to show your appreciation.
If your client offers services of their own, send your other customers, friends, and family their way. This could become a formal referral partnership in the future, or it could remain an informal gesture of thanks.
Have a great customer that keeps coming back? Send them some company swag to show your appreciation.
If you give your employees hats, t-shirts, totes, mugs, or other branded material, send some to your best customers as well. They’ll appreciate the small (and useful) gesture.
Not to mention, having your customers walk around town with your logo on their shirts and bags shouldn’t hurt your business’s branding efforts.
Everyone likes a little love on their birthday—your customers included.
Take the time to send a specialized email or note that gives your customer a happy birthday wish, or even a birthday gift or discount code. Not many businesses do this, so if you take the extra step to do so, you might be able to set yourself apart from the rest.
If you run a website or acquire customers via the internet, ask them for their birthday when they give you their email or set up an account. This is an easy way to keep track of the date and send over a note when a customer’s birthday rolls around.
Or, if you run a brick-and-mortar store, leave a note at checkout letting your customers know that birthdays come with a special discount as a gift.
Odds are, you collect some sort of customer and purchasing data on your sales. Besides using this data to keep your inventory stable, you can also use this information to personalize your customers’ shopping experience.
For instance, if you notice that a certain customer loves a certain type of product on your site or engages with a special type of content, send them recommendations, suggestions, or tailored communication to show that you took some extra time to get to know what your customer is interested in.
Just make sure that your customers are aware of and have agreed to have their personal information stored or shared.
When it comes down to it, nothing says “thank you for supporting my small business” like stellar customer service every. Single. Day.
Every time a customer gets on the phone with your sales representative or talks to an employee in person, make sure they get the best customer service experience possible.
Show them that they have your undivided attention and that you care about their time and business. Doing so will show how much you appreciate their business without making a major gesture.
In the end, working for the “wow” from any and all customers will go a long way for your business.
Your customers are what keep you in business—literally. So, it’s important to let them know how much you appreciate them. Doing what you can by offering promotions, sending thank you notes, or featuring them as top customers goes a long way to say “thank you for supporting local business.” Use the tips and tools above to thank your customers and keep them coming back to your business again and again.
Georgia McIntyre is the director of content marketing at Fundera.
Georgia has written extensively about small business finance, specializing in business lending, credit cards, and accounting solutions.