As a business owner, you probably say thank you several times a day without even realizing it. But what if you could add to your social media following, increase website conversions, and even attract new customers by genuinely expressing your gratitude towards your customers?
Gratitude is a valuable marketing technique since it helps you connect and form a bond with your customers. And I use the term ‘technique’ loosely not to seem like we need to show gratitude as a ploy to get more customers. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that clients and various audiences respond favorably to a humble and grateful attitude simply because you as a business are letting them in and see a more natural and vulnerable side of your brand that they can connect and relate to with.
And of course, it’s an opportunity to appreciate your clients for their continued patronage, unwavering support, and even helpful feedback that makes your business better.
This level of transparency is not only an effective strategy for expanding your consumer base and driving online conversions; it can also create an authentic experience for both existing and new customers.
In this week’s episode, I will be discussing how you can use gratitude as a marketing tool for your business as well as when and how to express your gratefulness. Since the holidays are looming, this is the perfect time of year where we start to think about family gatherings and giving back to our community.
Listen to this episode and join me as I share some tips and ideas on how you can show gratitude to your consumers, build customer loyalty through authenticity, and the different ways to thank your customers, vendor partners, or team this coming holidays.
Virginia Foodie Essentials:
Communicating is the core of marketing.
Real gratitude is something that comes from the heart - it should be genuine.
A genuine expression of thanks creates brand authenticity.
When you share your real values, you'll draw people who hold those same values back to you.
Be your authentic self by putting as much of yourself as you can into your message.
If you want to combine gratitude with a gift, first, express your thanks and tell them why you are thankful.
Gifts are better when they're about the recipient and not about the giver.
Giving something unexpected is a wonderful way to thank your customers and build brand loyalty.
Key Points From This Episode:
Genuine gratitude as a marketing tool
Sharing values draws like minds to your brand
Being authentic to your audience
When and how to express your gratitude to your customers
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Click Here for Full Transcript:
Georgiana Dearing: A genuine expression of thanks introduces a level of vulnerability into your messaging and brand authenticity is not a bad thing. When I think about gratitude, to me, it needs to be very very genuine.
[00:00:19] Welcome to The Virginia Foodie Podcast, where we lift the lid on the craft food industry and tell the stories behind the good food, good people, and good brands that you know and love. If you've ever come across a yummy food brand and wondered, "How did they do that? How do they turn that recipe into a successful business?" Then we've got some stories for you.
[00:00:45] Hello, Foodies. Welcome back to the podcast. It's November, and the days have gotten shorter, and the nights are getting longer and colder. And it's that time of the year where we start to think about family gatherings and giving thanks, giving back to our community. And that's what I want to talk to you about today. I want to talk about the ways we say, thank you.
[00:01:09] I wanted to put the idea out there that you can use gratitude as a marketing tool. That may sound a little bit jarring. I was first introduced to this concept by my friend and mentor, Ilise Benun, when she brought it to my attention last year. My response was an unsettled feeling because to me, gratitude should be genuine. Real gratitude is something that comes from the heart. And I guess there's a part of my brain that equates marketing with a bit of fabrication. I think that says something about me and how I think about my work, I suppose. But the phrase may be a little bit of a hook to get your attention, gratitude as a marketing tool, because it just doesn't seem to go together. [00:01:52] But think about this for a minute. A genuine expression of thanks introduces a level of vulnerability into your messaging, and brand authenticity is not a bad thing. In fact, people are craving authentic experiences and are drawn to people and brands who can be transparent. When I think about gratitude, to me, it needs to be very, very genuine.
[00:02:18] Communicating is at the core of marketing. So if you want to bring a sense of gratitude into your messaging, you want to start at the heart of why you were thankful. Give thanks to your community and the marketing part of it, that's really just a by-product of this approach to reaching out to your audience and speaking directly to them.
[00:02:40] This is an opportunity for you to be your authentic self. And when you share your real values, you draw like-minds to you. I really believe that what you put out in the world will come back to you.
[00:02:52] So the first step in using gratitude in your communication is to demonstrate why you were thankful. A statement of thanks has more power when you tell someone why you're thanking them. A simple thank you is just kind of a rote statement: Thank you. Anyone can pop off thank you without even realizing they're saying it. You should include something about why you're grateful for the customers that you have. Thank them for supporting you through a troubled year, or for understanding that there are things out of your control right now. And that's just the way this holiday season is going to be- a lot of it is going to be out of our control.
[00:03:30] You may thank them for welcoming you back into their life after you reopened. We've been through some difficult times. And taken a moment to express that gratitude to the customers that have been with you or the partners that started to work with you over this past year, that's a really powerful message. It's also that time of the year for gift giving. And many brands will give out a little thank you gift or a tchotchke that comes in the shipping package. Perhaps you ship something to your vendor partners too. Certainly, you can include gifts as part of your year-end thank you.
[00:04:02] But consider choosing something that fits your audience instead of a branded item that is really all about you. Gifts are way better when they're about the recipient and not about the giver. Giving someone a pen with your logo on it is really just another thing to lay on someone's desk. It may be functional, but it lacks some meaning. If you want to combine gratitude with a gift, first, express your deepest thanks and tell them why. Then give them a gift that has meaning to them. For your best customers, you want to thank them for being your best customer. So maybe give them a deeper discount throughout the end of the year or give them free shipping or perhaps, it's time to start a loyalty club and give something back to them for being loyal to you. Or maybe you have gifts to share. Is there something free that you can put in on your shipments that add a little more value, or a little surprise experience to go with the product they've ordered? That could be a sample-sized product, but maybe it's a sticker or a pin or something attractive that's related to your brand but has some meaning to your consumer audience. [00:05:05] Think a little bit about who's your ideal customer and what would be the most meaningful to them. If you're a honey brand, maybe there's a piece of B art or a spoon rest, or even one of those cute honey drizzlers that would be a good gift. And just to say thank you. Thank you for shopping with us. Thank you for being part of our brand community.
[00:05:26] Experiences are another way to connect with your community. As a way of saying thank you, you could host a virtual wine tasting. Or if you're a wine brand, you can include instructions about how to host your own wine tasting for a holiday party. Or share a cooking class. Even a coffee card or something that's unexpected yet related to your brand is a great way to charm your audience and make them feel like you're really thinking about them.
[00:05:53] I saw a post the other day from The Wild Wander. Clara is the artist who created those lovely Gifts of The Virginia Table posters that we have on shop.vafoodie.com. The thank you gift that she includes in every shipment is an art sticker. In her post, she was sharing that she knows that she's got repeat customers so she started to create new stickers. People who come back to her over time will start to have a little collection of little tiny pieces of artwork. I saw this from another artist that I bought some prints from. He included three little postcard-sized original pieces of art. They were just little sketches from his practice work for the actual prints that I purchased.
[00:06:32] I was completely charmed because it was an unexpected add-in value to my shopping experience. Something unexpected is a wonderful way to thank your customers and build some brand loyalty. I have to tell you, food brands, you've always got ready content. Recipes are always a good source of content. And if you've got some great recipes to share, ways to use your food, you could easily create attractive recipe cards by hiring local artists and have them create illustrations. Those are very inexpensive ways to give a really beautiful and lasting gift to your customers, especially this year.
[00:07:11] One other way that brands show gratitude is through donations. One example that my friend, Ilise, shared is someone who set on a message of thanks to his audience, and also ask people to reply back to his email. Depending on the number of replies he received, it would increase his donation to a local charity. I've actually had some mixed feelings about that because part of the expression of giving should be about the recipient. This felt like a little bit of showmanship to me. I thought he was asking people to perform and then they would be "rewarded" by his sending a donation.
[00:07:46] I think that a donation should be a donation. I am curious though if that was just me. Some people in our group thought that was a great idea. If you got a message that said, hit reply on this email and I'll donate a dollar to a children's fund, how would you feel about that? I honestly don't know if that's a good one or not. Regardless, Giving Tuesday is right around the corner. And I certainly think that you could frame a story of gratitude around the fact that you'll donate a portion of sales on Giving Tuesday to a charity that's on-brand with who you are as a company. Make sure that you're picking something that is going to resonate with your primary audience and not something that's just particularly dear to you because of your personal interests or beliefs.
[00:08:29] Giving something to a community that's related to the community you're working with will have the most lasting impact and get the biggest response from your shoppers. Ideally, if you're thinking about bringing a message of gratitude into your marketing this holiday season, you want to make sure of the following things.
[00:08:48] First, give your thanks first and be sure that your gratitude is genuine. Explain why you're giving thanks. Be your authentic self, and put as much of yourself as you can into your messaging. And then, if there's anything else you choose to do to extend the marketing experience, remember: that should be a by-product of your primary message which is “thank you”. When you share your real values, you'll draw people who hold those same values dear back to you. And isn't that what we want? We want to attract people who care about what we care about. So if you try any of these ideas this year, let me know how it goes. I genuinely want to know. And today, I'll end this episode by saying thank you.
[00:09:34] Thank you for sticking with me and for listening to the podcast. You could spend your time in so many ways, and you've chosen to spend it with me. And I appreciate your support.
[00:09:47] Thanks for listening. And if you want to learn more about how to grow your own food brand, then click on Grow My Brand at vafoodie.com. If you're a lover of local food, then be sure to follow us. We are at @vafoodie on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Join the conversation and tell us about your adventures with good food, good people, and good brands.