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    Thank Your Customers for a Great Year

    Five ideas on how to extend thanks to patrons during the holiday season.

    By Janna Benitez, Vistaprint

    With the holiday season fast approaching, small business owners are sure to see the number of hats they wear grow. Not only is there planning holiday sales, staffing and company holiday parties, but also gift buying and events with family and friends.

    With this whirlwind of happenings, it is easy to overlook a vital aspect of the business -- the customers. While holiday sales will help drive them to your store for holiday purchases, this is also a great time to thank them for being loyal customers.

    Sending a small token of appreciation to your customers will go a long way in building up customer loyalty. No matter what your budget is, here are five solutions to extend a perfect thank you to your patrons during the holidays:

    Holiday Cards: Perhaps the easiest and most cost-effective way to let your customers know you are thinking of them over the holidays is with a card. There are countless solutions for every budget both in stores and online that can get out your season's greetings. A great way to add a truly personal touch is to sign or add a note to each card. If you want to reinforce your brand image, you can create a card with a wintry image of your business, or include your logo on the front or inside. Holiday cards also offer the ability to insert a coupon to drive additional traffic to your business.

    Reusable Bags: It seems everyone is ditching paper and plastic bags to jump on the green wagon. This trend offers a number of unique benefits during the holiday season. The first is giving a gift that gives back -- instead of simply giving the bags to your customers, you can charge a nominal fee and donate the proceeds to charity. Even if you decide to give the bags away, you will gain brand recognition whenever the bag is used, whether it's in your store, a competitor's shop or just around town. Not only will your customers gain a useful gift, but you'll gain countless views of your brand.

    Calendars: With the holiday season falling in the last month of the year, there is one gift that all of your customers can use -- a calendar. Creating a custom calendar for your business is not only timely, but it also allows you to add key dates, sales and coupons into each month. To add a personal touch, customize pictures to correspond with certain months of the year, such as the little league team that you sponsor, a toy drive, etc. These images give a glimpse into what your business is all about and gives the connotation that you are more of a friend than just another business.

    Wearables: Everyone loves free shirts and other wearables. For the customer, it's something they can wear around; for the business, it's a moving billboard seen by countless potential customers. Depending on your customer base and budget, mix and match items such as hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or simply stick to the one that best fits your business.

    Mugs: Perhaps the most utilized item in any kitchen cabinet is a coffee mug. Giving a branded mug to your customers will keep your store on the tip of their lips. To add a little spice and holiday cheer, you can fill them with candy or other goodies.

    No matter which option choice you choose, make sure to take the time to thank those who support you all year long. Any gesture, no matter how small, will go a long way in customer retention especially in this economy.

    Janna Benitez is a senior product marketing specialist at Vistaprint, a company that provides personalized products and services for small businesses and the home.

    By Janna Benitez, Vistaprint
    • About Janna Benitez

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