Matt Perkins, Head of SME Engagement at FreeAgent – which provides an online accounting system specifically designed to meet the needs of freelancers and small businesses – suggest how you could use the festive period to show your customers how much you appreciate them.
Give that Christmas card the personal touch
Christmas cards are a great way to keep in touch with your customers and let them know that you appreciate them, especially if you add a personal touch.
If you’re not sure what to say, here are some prompts for inspiration:
– Remind them of a project you contributed to and ask how it’s going
– Mention the next time you’ll be in town and ask if they’d like to meet up
– Tell them how great it was to work with them
– Thank them for their business and tell them what it means to you
If you have important clients nearby, perhaps you could even deliver your festive card in person to them – or pick some of your most valued customers to give a Christmas gift to, such as an awesome selection of festive chocolates?
Get out of the office and meet them
Christmas is traditionally a season for office parties and work-related socialising, so it’s a great time to get away from your desk and catch up with your clients.
If you’re not throwing your own festive party, keep an eye out for invitations to any shindigs being held by your clients and customers – it’s a great way to get in some networking, especially if you find that you struggle to network through the rest of the year. Check out our Christmas party networking tips for some do’s and dont’s.
Actually seeing your clients in person and getting some valuable face-to-face time with them in an informal setting is a great way to build rapport and improve your relationship with them. And, of course, there’s also the chance that you’ll meet new people to network with who may end up potentially becoming clients of yours in the future.
Give some valuable tips or advice
At Christmas, people want to feel special and valued – and that goes for your customers too. So what better way to do that than actually offering them some useful information?
For example, if you have a newsletter that talks about all the things that your business has been getting up to, consider adding a section that provides useful advice or tips that your customers would actually find beneficial. A caterer, for example, may include some seasonal recipes in their newsletter, or a web designer may link to some great free stock images that clients could use in Christmas promotions.
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of giving away your expertise for free – if you’re providing great quality, important information, it can build credibility as well as strengthening your reputation as an expert among your customers.
Offer a seasonal special
If you don’t have the budget to send gifts to your customers, you could also consider introducing a special offer or discount for them instead that rewards their loyalty. Offering them a percentage discount on their next purchase from you or a multi-buy discount may seem like you’re taking a hit to your bottom line, but it could be worth it – especially if it encourages them to use your business again in the future. As a bonus, you could extend the discount for a normally quiet period, hopefully boosting your cash flow.
Alternatively, think about teaming up with another business to offer reciprocal discounts as part of a special festive offer. For example, if you run a PR and marketing business, could you join forces with an SEO agency to provide discounts to each others’ clients over the Christmas period and beyond? Your customers will always appreciate it when you provide value to them, so think about what kind of services or products they would appreciate that complement your own.
You may also consider introducing some kind of loyalty card or referral scheme that provides your regular customers with a bespoke discount – which you could highlight in the Christmas card that you send them.
Remember your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Make them feel special this Christmas and you’ll foster better relationships with them that may help your business thrive in the long run.
Matt Perkins is Head of SME Engagement at FreeAgent – which provides an online accounting system specifically designed to meet the needs of freelancers and small businesses. Try it for free at www.freeagent.com
Image: Christmas via Shutterstock