Customer appreciation is a valuable form of engagement that encourages loyalty and transforms your customers into advocates for your brand.

No matter the size of your budget, investing in gestures that show your customers you care is crucial to your company’s growth and success.

Building customer relationships takes time, effort, and yes, money. But because obtaining a new customer costs 5 times the amount you’ll spend on retaining a current one, customer appreciation initiatives are well worth the investment.

The good news is, you don’t have to spend a bundle to launch a customer appreciation campaign that makes an impact. Check out these 5 budget-friendly customer appreciation ideas you can try today and benefit from for years to come.

Start a Loyalty Program

A loyalty program rewards repeat customers with exclusive benefits such as discounts, gift cards, early access to sales, birthday gifts, and special offers. Because loyalty program members know that each purchase they make racks up points toward coveted perks, they’ll choose your company over a competitor who doesn’t give them that something extra. Thinking about how your company can create a loyalty program customers love? Check out these great examples.

Man writing out thank you note with gift card for client

Feature Customers on Social Media

Delight your customers by inviting them to serve as the face of your brand on social media. While it seems like a small gesture, resharing a customer’s post of them enjoying your services or products bares a serious cool factor, especially if your company has a large following. And the cost to you? Zero dollars!

You should also consider the added benefit that incorporating current customers into your digital content enables prospective customers to relate to the people who advocate for your brand in a personal and authentic way. That two-second social share could gain and retain multiple customers at once!

Dalmatian showing love by licking woman's face 
Give Back in Their Name

A recent study revealed that 86% of consumers feel that companies should take a stand on social issues. Craft an email campaign that exceeds that expectation by supporting worthy causes as a tribute to your customers. All you need to do is follow these 4 simple steps.

  1. Send an email to your customers letting them know that in appreciation of their loyalty, your company is donating a percentage of last month’s sales to a charity of their choice.
  2. Create a poll that lists a mix of 4-5 charities and ask customers to vote for their favorite or invite them to submit their own and randomly choose the winning one.
  3. After you tally votes or gather submissions, contact the winning organization and tell them about your tribute donation. See if they can attribute the funds to a specific project and ask the organization for photos showing the project and the positive change it will create.
  4. Wrap up your campaign with a heartfelt follow up email announcing the winner and letting your customers know the good they’re contributing to just by being awesome.

Host a Free Online Class

Hosting a free online class is a great way to ensure that your customers know the basics, move beyond “beginner” status, or find a new, innovative, or clever way to leverage what you’re offering.

If you equip them with tools and educational materials to ensure their success, your customers will feel appreciated, and in turn, stay with you. Need inspiration? See how MailChimp helps their customers become email marketing experts on Skillshare.

Woman at laptop taking an online class

Create a Customer Advisory Board

Instead of saying you appreciate customer feedback, show them you really mean it by forming a customer advisory board. A customer advisory board is a group of your most engaged customers that serves as a focus group to influence the future of your products, services, and brand.

A customer advisory board is a benefit to both parties involved. Board members will feel valued and heard, and you’ll gain insight into what your customers want before you invest in new initiatives. To thank them for their feedback and ideas, be sure to pair board positions with an attractive perks package that includes free products and services, exclusive invitations to special events, and a special board member discount.

Members of customer appreciation advisory board communicating

Test Before You Invest

Depending upon your business, some customer appreciation initiatives will be a better fit than others. The easiest and most cost-effective way to find what works for yours is to try one of the ideas above on a small segment of customers and see how they respond. If it performs well, invest in rolling it out to your entire customer base knowing that you have the data that shows that idea will definitely delight.