Author: Cassie Scott
April 18 is National Customer Appreciation Day. Meanwhile, April is International Customer Loyalty Month. Don’t forget to celebrate these events!
Customers are the life of your business. Show them your appreciation by doing something special. Consider the following ideas as plan your celebrations.
Feature your customers throughout the month of April, or year-round. Photo Credit: Archery Connection
Do Something Small
Small gestures make big differences. Offer free coffee, cookies or donuts April 18; and carry your customers’ bags to their vehicles. Also send handwritten thank-you notes. In today’s digital world, handwritten notes are rare and memorable.
Try featuring a customer daily on your social-media platforms during April. Post their pictures and a few thoughts about why you appreciate them. Make each post unique and special.
You can also turn business posts into opportunities to win prizes. Ask customers to “like” your Facebook page and share your posts for chances to win cool prizes and range time. It’s a fun, easy way to engage your customers, and it promotes your business online.
Do you want to go big? We support you, but parties don’t have to be expensive. You can play music, offer drinks and snacks, and open your shop after hours so customers can mingle, hang out and entertain themselves. People love old-school games like a bag toss or pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. Tweak games to fit your business. But instead of a donkey, use an elk or a deer. Also consider offering door prizes, or organize a raffle and enter everyone who bought something at your party.
Invite sales representatives to demo their products and hang out with customers. They might even have swag for prizes or giveaways.
Also consider grilling burgers or hotdogs, and hire a band to set the mood. Creating a DIY photo booth is also fun. Be creative. Parties are excellent ways to show customers you appreciate them. It’s also a great strategy for acquiring new customers. Parties build a community.
Giveaways are a great incentive to get people engaging with your shop and it doesn't have to break the bank. Photo Credit: M&M Archery
Melvin and Krysta Wright, owners of M&M Archery Range LLC in Independence, Kentucky, use giveaways to show appreciation. They double as customer gifts and shop promotions.
“We have hats and shirts available to buy, but over the years we’ve learned to give those things away,” Krysta Wright said. “(They) help get our name out there, and give people the chance to learn about the things we do and what we’re about. It’s good promotion for us. Plus, everybody loves something free.”
Other sought-after swag includes custom pens, cups, sunglasses, flashlights, keychains, tote bags, stress balls, water bottles, phone chargers, playing cards, bottle openers and USB flash drives. Give away items customers use and see daily. Lancaster Archery Supply in Leola, Pennsylvania, put its logo on stretch bands, and customers love them.
Visit Groupon, Pinterest or The Grommet websites to find other fun, inexpensive gifts.
Launch a Rewards Program
If you don’t have a customer rewards program, create one and launch it April 18! If you have one, celebrate by offering double rewards or punches each day, week or month.
M&M Archery Range LLC created a “Range Loyalty Card” in 2015 to show repeat customers they’re appreciated. About 85 percent of M&M’s customers – kids and adults – use the card.
How does it work? Every person entering their shop receives a “Range Loyalty Card,” which includes business information and five blocks employees sign or punch when patrons use the range. After five range visits, customers redeem the card for a free hour on the range, which usually costs $15 for adults and $7.50 for youths. To provide additional incentives, the store enters all redeemed cards into a drawing for another free shooting hour. One adult and one youth card gets picked monthly.
“Without customers, we don’t have a business,” Wright said. “They’re at the top of our priorities all the time, so we reward them for their business. The card makes them feel valued and appreciated, so they keep coming back.”
Learn how to create profitable customer-rewards programs here. Some point-of-sale systems let you set up loyalty incentives. If nothing else, use your customer list to create an email directory so you can send digital coupons of appreciation.
Allowing your customers to purchase a membership or a receive a rewards card will make them feel like they're a part of a community. Photo Credit: ATA
Although April is the designated month to reward customers for loyalty and support, you must celebrate customers year-round. You can reward them randomly or on specific dates, such as their birthday or your shop’s anniversary.
Make April special for your customers, and then plan small ways to thank them year-round. Your customers will love you for it.
If you have questions or want more information, please contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s range and retail-programs manager, at (502) 640-0944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.