If you type a variation of “what do I need for my business to succeed” into a search engine, then you’ll get somewhere in the neighborhood of one quintillion blog posts and articles promising an answer. You need a brand new website! No wait, you really need an automated chatbot! Or, just kidding, you really, really need a social media manager! If you don’t mind, I’d like to tell you a secret: you only need one thing for your business to succeed. Ready?
Clients. You need clients.
Clients are the difference between “running a digital marketing agency” and “having a digital marketing hobby.” Which I think we can all agree would be an odd choice for a hobby. When it comes down to it, the vast majority of business decisions are based around either getting more clients or keeping existing clients happy.
- A new website will improve your online presence and help you reach a wider audience and make a better impression on potential clients.
- Hiring a new employee that will allow you to expand your business offerings will improve your existing clients’ experiences.
- An awesome, regularly updated blog will impress your readers and hopefully bring in some new clients.
All told, well-maintained client relationships will separate a successful small business from a really expensive and stressful hobby. So, let’s talk about establishing positive client relationships.
Relationships take work.
Even the phrase “client relationship” gives us some direction. As a rule, relationships are meaningful, preferably long-term, and require regular maintenance to thrive. Client relationships are no different. At Spring Insight, we’re all about long-term client relationships. Marketing is a long game, and we see our best results when we get to work with clients over the long term. As far as maintenance goes, doing consistent and good work is the foundation of a good relationship. But it’s not the only piece of the puzzle.
It’s also important that your clients understand that you’re thankful for them. Please note that I said “thankful for them,” not “thankful for their business,” or “thankful for their money.” Although let’s be real, business and money are pretty great. But, being thankful for your clients is about more than revenue. It’s about being thankful for their trust, thankful for the constructive feedback that makes you better, and thankful for all the nice things they say about you to their peers.
Show. Don’t tell.
How do you show that you’re thankful for your clients? You start by treating them in a way that makes it clear how much you value them. You do the little things right, like respond promptly and address concerns respectfully. But, it doesn’t hurt to send a tangible “thanks!” every now and then. For example, by sending a client appreciation gift.
“Oh great! I send holiday gifts every single year,” you say. Cool. So does everyone else. Your gift, no matter how well-intentioned, isn’t going to stand out in the sea of gift baskets, candy, and thoughtful cards clogging up your clients’ entryways. If you want your client appreciation gift to stand out, you’re really left with two choices. You can either A) get super creative or B) consider sending your gift at a different time of year.
If you go with option A, I’m very interested in what you decide to send. I appreciate a gift that can stand out in a crowd. At Spring Insight, we go with option B. We send our client appreciation gifts the week before spring starts every year (get it!). The exact gift is different every year, obviously, but is always:
- Branded (hey, it is generous, but it is still marketing.)
- Spring themed (or at least we try but to be honest, we are running dry. Ideas anyone?)
- Something people will actually use (we hate swag that has no utility. Don’t you?)
- Awesome (duh)
But, no matter what we decide to send, it will always come in bright purple packaging, because the world needs more purple. Also, because it is a Spring Insight color. More importantly, the gift always comes with a handwritten note. It’s my chance to express my gratitude and make sure my clients understand just how thankful I am for them.
I hope that you’re feeling inspired to remind your clients how much you appreciate them.