In the past, I have discussed our client onboarding process. After sharing one of these blog posts with our community members via email, I received a question from a subscriber regarding client gifts. The reader asked if I used client gifts as part of our client onboarding process and the answer is, yes! Client gifts are an important part of our onboarding process, but it wasn’t always so.
At first, I felt that gifting our clients was a sleazy practice that bigger agencies did in order to “buy” their customers and while this may be true, it isn’t for us. What we found was that clients absolutely loved the personalized touch of receiving a gift that catered to them in a very personal way. Still, I knew I didn’t just want to send gifts to each and every customer at random, but rather focus first on building a solid partnership through the onboarding process via a relationship-building strategy.
Here is how this portion of our process looks like and why it is an important part of our relationship-building strategy. First up, what exactly is a relationship-building strategy and why do you need one? Well, glad you asked! A relationship-building strategy is your company’s unique way of obtaining customer loyalty through a series of efforts that range from high impact customer service, rewards programs and incentives, and various other personalized interactions like giveaways or customer only events. It is your way of saying, “I want to get to know you as more than a monthly invoice.”
With social media, becoming more and more social by the day, it is so important for small business owners to focus on customer retention. There are many ways to achieve this, but one sure fire way to make a real difference is to be authentic. Consumers are able to build more authentic relationships with you (and even your competitors) with just a click of a button on social media and if you are not utilizing an authentic relationship-building strategy you may be at a disadvantage.
Why You Need a Relationship-Building Strategy
Here are just a few reasons why you need a relationship-building strategy today!
1 | They build brand loyalists & referrers: These loyalists are those tribe members who will buy into your brand and then refer you to others. They stand by your without question, because they believe so deeply in your products and services.
2 | They enhance customer experience: Never forget that the key reason why you want to strategize your efforts is that you want to increase your customer satisfaction and there is no better way of doing that than through a positive customer experience and journey.
3 | They help build a “team” atmosphere: This goes hand in hand with number two in that you will be able to build a better team-like relationship with your customers. This is specifically important for solopreneurs in service-based industries, as it allows you to make your client feel as though they are part of a bigger team.
These strategies are easy to attain if your core values are centered around community, authenticity, and engagement. If you struggle in these areas then we will recommend you consider why that is? Which is a very valid question. Social media has clearly made integrating a customer-centric strategy easy, so finding ways to nurture your community and clients is more important than ever!
How To Create A Relationship-Building Strategy
To create your relationship-building strategy, you first need to consider your, “why.” I’ve talked about this before on social media, but to reiterate, your “why” will center every aspect of your business and brand, therefore, it is imperative that it is true to who you are. Building relationships when you are not a people person may not be as easy as you think, so consider that when you are creating your strategy.
Some easy strategies you can incorporate today, are:
1 | Host yearly client appreciation days: You can never have enough ways to say, “thank you!” to your brand loyalists and therefore it is so important.
2 | Send Holiday and/or birthday cards: This is a wonderful way to offer your clients an inexpensive, yet thoughtful sentiment.
3 | Offer a rewards or client affiliate program: Rewards programs and client affiliate programs allow you to give back in a big way, everyone wins!
Whatever strategy you incorporate into your business and business model make sure that it is authentic and has the client and/or customer in mind. You have to always consider being honest and straightforward.
Incorporating Client Gifts
Client gifts can be incorporated into your relationship-building strategy in various ways. One specific way is the client onboarding process. Typically, three to four weeks after we have signed on a new client, I like to mail the client a gift. These kind gifts can be anything from something that they can utilize in their business or it could be something that has to do a little bit with self-care.
A fun and unique way to cater to your clients and show them your appreciation are by incorporating gift boxes. This is where we, for example, have decided to continue our branded client onboarding process. Currently, I have been working with a company based in California name Teak and Twine. They create custom and branded gift boxes for your client’s. This is a practice often used primarily in the photography and wedding industries but can be adopted for any service-based business.
The boxes are hand-curated with products of your choosing and can be branded right down to the font and color scheme. Currently, they offer pre-designed boxes that include everything from books, coffee mugs, premium chocolates, candles, bath salts and much more. Also, everything is curated from other small businesses, and therefore a perfect partnership for any solopreneur or small business owner.
By sending these boxes and these gifts you’re saying more than just “Thank you!” You are saying, “I appreciate you, and I appreciate your trusting our business and services.” This then sets the tone of how your client-agency relationship will look like and allows your client to feel special, taken care of and at ease. All factors which are truly helpful when you are an online business’s owner and very rarely meet your clients via anything other than video conferences.
Have you ever considered using a relationship-building strategy? And if so what exactly are you doing to build upon these relationships? Providing an excellent service, being proactive, and responsive to their needs will always be the ultimate goal, but a show of gratitude will always help cement your needs.