One of the central tenets of inbound marketing is the idea that you should delight your existing customers so they stick around and, eventually, become promoters—customers who are so happy with your product or service that they actively promote it to other people. The question is—how do you delight your B2B customers in a way that is unique and thoughtful?
Check out these five B2B customer appreciation tactics that you can use at your business.
1. Buy Them a Book
A good book has the potential to be an intensely thoughtful and genuine gift. If you have a business client that you know well, spend some time thinking about what book they might want to read based on what you know about their business, their challenges and their lives. Do they love to bake? Send them a niche cookbook with a handwritten note on the inside. Do they love fantasy novels? Send them a copy of a J.R.R. Tolkien book instead. Take the time to find out what's important to them, and send them a book about that subject with a note inside. They'll keep the book, remember the gesture and know that you genuinely care about them and their business.
2. Send Them a Sweet
The key to a person's heart is through his or her stomach, so they say. If you want to convert your customers into promoters, send them something sweet that their whole team can enjoy. This is a time-tested technique that will surely be appreciated. You can make yourself stand out more with creative execution. Buy a cake with a funny team photo printed in frosting or personally deliver cookies while wearing a baker's hat. (If you have that level of humor in your working relationship, of course.) How creative you get will depend upon your industry and your relationship with the customer. The important thing is that your gesture stands out.
3. Get Them to a Game
Sporting events are a great way to spend some time with your business customers so you can show them how much you value them from within a more laid-back setting. If your business buys season tickets to a local team's games, for example, take your best customers along or hold client drawings for the tickets. Either way, you get to spend some quality time with your B2B customer, they come out feeling appreciated and your business gets a huge boost in that customer's eyes.
4. Mark Their Milestones
One of the most flattering things you can do for a person is remember important details about his or her life. If a customer tells you something personal, be it a wedding anniversary, business success or any other important milestone, take note of it and congratulate him or her with a card, a handwritten note or a small gift. You can score extra points by keeping track of milestones in your calendar so you can predict them in the future. For example, if a customer tells you it's his or her fourth anniversary of being in business, make a note in you calendar to send a card on the fifth anniversary. The thoughtful gesture will surely set you apart.
5. Shine a Spotlight
Social media is a great way to promote your business, but it's also an easy way to promote your customers. Shining a social media spotlight on your customers (with their permission, of course) is a great way to demonstrate your appreciation for their partnership. Make a post highlighting the business's work, thanking your valued partners for being customers or congratulating them on recent successes. The post earns them some free publicity and may bring them additional customers. This idea works best for local and online business customers that your followers could easily patronize.
Regardless of who your customers are, it's always a great idea to make them feel appreciated. Simple gestures such as these can work wonders for your customer retention and net-promoter scores. Customers are less likely to leave a negative review of your business if they feel genuinely cared for when working with you. Remember—a little customer appreciation goes a long way when it comes to your business's reputation.