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Five Ways to Show Customers You Care

Show them love year-round, and they'll return the favor.
February 25, 2010

Everyone feels warm and fuzzy around Valentine's Day. That includes entrepreneurs, many of whom use the opportunity to put a heartfelt spin on their e-mail marketing communications.

You probably received e-mails earlier this month from businesses and organizations running promotions tied to Valentine's Day. Others might simply have sent a colorful, light-hearted greeting as a way to tell their customers and members they care.

So what happens now, after the chocolates have been eaten and the roses have withered away? Are you showing customers you appreciate their business all year-round?

Everyone wants to feel valued--particularly when people are making hard choices regarding their wallets. We can't take their patronage and support for granted. Regularly communicating that you care about your customers' success strengthens your connection to them--and differentiates you from competitors who only reach out when they want to sell something.

These five actions will show customers you care long after Valentine's Day is a wrap:

1. Share Your Knowledge
Give away helpful advice in your e-mail newsletter, as well as on your Twitter and Facebook pages--information that will better your readers' lives. Anticipate customers' questions and concerns and offer useful information to educate and guide them. Ask them what they'd like to learn more about from you.

Be different from others who are merely promoting products and services in their communications. Sharing your knowledge gives customers something valuable for free and proves your expertise. It's a win-win.

2. Ask, Listen, Respond, Adapt

3. Reward Customers

4. Hold a Customer Appreciation Event
Hold a "VIP Night" in your store or office. It could be a free seminar, early-bird sale, special access to new products, or a get-together with entertainment or a guest speaker. Promote your event in your e-newsletter and with links on social media websites so no one misses out.

5. Do Good
Get your business involved with a nonprofit or charity. Invite other local businesses and the community to participate. Use your newsletter and social media to tell customers about the cause you support. If you can, donate a portion of the proceeds from sales to the charity or match your customers' donations. Another option is to hold a fundraising event. Remind people when they patronize your business that they're doing something good.

Do these things again and again.

Showing customers you care should be an ongoing communications effort--not a once-a-year occasion the way we celebrate Valentine's Day. Whatever you do, be sincere. Customers can spot hype a mile away. Here are some additional hints to take to heart:

Customers demand more than good products and services. They want you to care about them and the world we live in. Show them you care all year long and you're more likely to win their hearts . . . and their business.