The holidays are a great time for small businesses to show how much they appreciate their customers. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a lasting, positive impression. Here are some ideas:
Make a donation “In honor of our customers, a donation has been made to…” Consider making a donation to a charitable organization that supports your local community or an organization your clients or customers support. Check their website to see if the company is aligned with any particular cause or initiative. This spreads goodwill and cheer for everyone associated with your business, regardless of the amount.
Share your profits Let customers share in the spirit of giving. Designate specific products or services for a holiday promotion, with a percentage of all profits going to a well-deserving organization.
Express yourself Sometimes, it really is the thought that counts. One of the most rare and treasured gifts in this digital age is a handwritten note. Your best customers and partners may receive holiday greeting cards, but a note from you will stop them in their tracks. Take five minutes to tell them exactly why you are grateful for their business.
Make a connection Help your customers by introducing them to people they need to know. Holidays are a frenetic time when work and life collide, and the greatest gift may be the name of your best babysitter, personal shopper, or friend who sells jewelry, cookware or handbags. Found a great deal or tip? Share it with your busy customers and save their sanity, too.
The thud factor There are an awful lot of chocoholics in the world. Make a serious impression by sending a giant caramel-and-almond-encrusted Fuji apple from Rachel Dunn Chocolates. The Unbelievable Apple is a 3-pound whopper and costs less than $24. It’s perfect for sharing with an office group or large family. The packaging and product exceed every expectation and never fail to WOW our special peeps.
Make it personal Pay special attention to the person or people responsible for sending you business. Dig for clues on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn to find their personal interests. Do they like science fiction books, reggae music, local wine, foreign movies, a local restaurant? Social media makes it easier than ever to dazzle with an inexpensive yet extremely thoughtful gift.
Coffee gift cards One gift that never fails to perk up customers is a coffee card. Even if they don’t like coffee, you know they can grab a snack, share a frappinated drink with a friend, relax with a soothing tea -- or re-gift with ease. Any denomination is appreciated, and wrapping is a snap.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.