Giving ThanksThe leaves are falling, the clocks have changed, and the holidays are almost here.

The end of the year is the perfect time for businesses to reach out to customers and thank them for their loyalty. There are plenty of ways to accomplish this, depending on what kind of business you are. Whatever method you choose, your efforts are sure to win you reciprocal appreciation from your clients and build further loyalty as time goes on.

Let’s discuss five ways you can thank your customers this holiday season.

1. Honest and Sincere Appreciation

Avid readers may recognize this one from Dale Carnegie’s classic book on businessHow to Win Friends and Influence People.” The holiday season is a time for honesty. Before you start stuffing your customers’ stockings with coupons, take a minute to express your gratitude towards them. Don’t just say “thanks” and move on—go into detail about the roots of your company, the goals driving your business, and how you’re constantly striving to help clients in their own lives. These messages form the basis of B2B marketing relationships, and particularly during the holidays, they can go far.

2. Customize a Branded Holiday E-Card

At Synerge, we send a custom designed e-card to our clients through email to thank them for their business and loyalty throughout the year.  We make our “TO” address: “ and BCC all of our clients that we want to thank for their business and loyalty.  You can use the custom e-card to post on social media as well.  Social media greetings are always well received and shared frequently.

3. Offer Discounts

Even though it’s the season of sentimentality, words are only the beginning. Everyone loves a good deal, and as the holidays are the biggest shopping season of the year, it’s the perfect time to offer price discounts, free shipping, buy-one-get-one deals, or increased incentives for reward programs. It’s not the most innovative way to thank clients, but it’s one they’ll expect, and it’s one that they never grow tired of.

4. Get Charitable

In terms of more innovative gift-giving strategies, consider using charity donations sites to truly bring the holiday spirit to your customers. Many customers enjoy splurging on themselves, but many more enjoy getting warm, fuzzy feelings from helping out charitable causes. You can donate to these groups on behalf of your B2B clients, or even offer a donation match where you match whatever contributions they make.

Common recipients of these include:

  • Educational organizations
  • Environmental groups
  • Arts and culture committees
  • Local community organizations (for small, independent businesses)

Not only will you be supporting organizations in need, you’ll be giving your customers a type of gift they won’t find elsewhere, and create some goodwill for your brand all at the same time.

5.  Upgrade Them

Aside from discount or gift coupons, consider upgrading loyal customers who have earned the privilege. This is a favorite for airlines and other industries where upgrades can mean a big difference in service quality—depending on your business, a complementary upgrade can add a “wow” factor that, if you’re lucky, will result in plenty of attention when the recipient tells his/her friends on social media.

6.  Get Your Party On

Another one for you local businesses: Consider throwing a bash for your customers, their families, and friends. Depending on your business and the size of your customer base, different events like parties, dinners, or game nights will be sure to generate interest in both your loyal customers and their social groups who may not have heard of you. These events are the ideal places to hand out other small gifts and promotional materials that can provide a head start for other B2B marketing initiatives coming up in the new year.

Appreciation Is a Two-Way Street

Appreciation goes both ways: You have to give it to get it. Your B2B marketing relationships rely on expressing mutual respect and appreciation; even more so than your business-to-customer interactions. This holiday season, don’t be afraid of generating some good will by letting your clients know what they mean to you.