5 Ways to Use Print to Show Customer Appreciation Throughout the Year

In just a few short days, families across the country will gather around the dinner table for Thanksgiving. In addition to sharing a great meal, many take a few minutes to express gratitude and give thanks to those around them. This Thanksgiving dinner tradition is so easy to do, yet many of us forget the importance of showing our appreciation throughout the year.

The same is true for businesses. Most organizations make conscious effort to thank customers between Thanksgiving and New Year’s but customer appreciation efforts can otherwise fall flat. We either get busy and forget entirely or rely on quick-turn digital communications to do the work for us.

In the past, we’ve shared research about the effectiveness of print and it’s ability to help with brand recall, retention, and behavior. While that data is important, it is easy to see the importance of connecting through print within our own lives. For example, which will you remember and value more; a birthday card you receive in the mail or a message on Facebook? Our connection to print is pretty clear and one that the Paper and Packaging Board sums up nicely:

“Paper and packaging help us stay thoughtfully connected to the people around us. Handwritten notes can make a lasting impression, while a package on our doorstep can surprise and delight us. Packaging creates a bond with the brands we love. And a framed photograph is tangible proof of a valued relationship.”

So why don’t we apply this same thinking to customer appreciation? Rather than relying on email or social media, try integrating these 5 print strategies into your customer appreciation plans this year.  

Send a Greeting Card

Greeting cards are a great way to show customers how much you care, and they can be especially powerful when they arrive unexpectedly. Although we still recommend sending cards during the holidays, finding a few less obvious reasons to send personalized greeting and thank you cards can have a much bigger impact.

These occasions might include a customer’s first purchase, service anniversaries or renewal dates, employment milestones, project achievements, and more. In addition to surprising customers and creating a truly personal feel, your card won’t be competing against all of the other cards that are sent during the holiday season.

But we get it. Sending printed cards isn’t the easiest task to keep up with, particularly if you have a large client list. However web-to-print technology can make it easier. Using print-on-demand templates your team can easily personalize and send appreciation cards using a variety of pre-made designs. Plus this technology can often be integrated with your CRM software, providing alerts that help you customize and send cards at just the right time.

Put Customers Names in Print

The average lifespan of a tweet that’s been retweeted at least 10 times is only 24 minutes, according to a study by Wiselytics. So while it might be easy to quickly thank customers by mentioning their brand or personal profiles on Twitter, the feeling will be short lived. Alternatively, recognizing them in print gives customers something to hang onto and even share it with friends and family.

For example, in our bi-monthly publication called Tactics magazine, we ask clients to share their expertise on a variety of marketing and design topics. We then include their perspective in our articles and note their contributions to the magazine in our “featured experts” section. The people we feature in our magazine are often delighted by the recognition and eager to send their thanks for being included. It creates a circular effect and sends a signal that your brand values more than the bottom line. You value their skills, knowledge, and experience—and you can showcase that through magazine articles, case studies, testimonial posters, and more.

Welcome Kits and Onboarding Materials

It costs five times as much to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Yet only 40% of companies place the same level of importance on customer retention strategies vs acquisition. One of the most important times to thank a customer is right after a purchase, particularly their first.

A great way to show your appreciation and build a strong relationship from the start is through printed welcome kits and onboarding materials. This can be particularly helpful if your product requires user training or other product-specific instructions since our brains process information better on paper. By providing printed versions of your brand’s training materials, you’ll help clients get up to speed and maximize their use of your product faster. And if your product is less-technical, it’s still a nice idea to send printed materials or even a fun welcome kit with promotional products to ensure your relationship gets off on the right foot.

Packaging or Invoice Thank You Notes  

Similar to offering clients a strong welcome, it’s important to continue to recognize and appreciate repeat purchases. The good news is that this is one of the easiest things to do, particularly if you sell any type of packaged goods. Simply make it a part of your company’s fulfillment process to include a simple thank you note with every shipment sent. Or you can create insert slips designed to thank customers for their business that can be sent with invoices or other order processing information.

Meeting Materials & Appreciation Gifts

Whether it’s during pre or post-sale, in-person meetings offer a number of opportunities to use print for customer appreciation. For example, when clients arrive at your office or meeting space it’s an opportunity to greet them with welcome and/or directional signage. If possible, include not only the client’s logo but the names of the participants in your meeting. Remember, people like to see their name in print!

During the meeting, be sure to hand out printed copies of agenda, slide decks, and any other supporting materials. This is also a great opportunity to use promotional products to provide a small gift such as a journal, pen, calendar, or mug which they can use during the meeting.

So this Thanksgiving as you reflect on what you’re thankful for, take a moment and think about all the ways you can recognize and thank your customers in the coming year. In addition to the ideas presented here, you’ll probably come up with many more ways to use print to show customers how much they mean to you.

Download one of our holiday card templates to get started

Tags: Strategy, Promotional Products, Print, Holidays, Customer Experience, Customer Appreciation

Picture of Michelle Cardin

Michelle Cardin

Michelle Cardin leads Shawmut’s creative team in developing print, direct mail, and digital marketing campaigns. Some of our work includes projects for Dell EMC, Boston College, athenahealth, Insulet, and OBP Medical. She is an experienced marketer and copywriter who enjoys helping clients solve communication challenges and create successful marketing campaigns.

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