Tomer Garzberg

Tomer Garzberg is the Managing Director of and Growth Hacker at, with over 12 years content and digital marketing experience

Tomer Garzberg

Tomer Garzberg is the Managing Director of and Growth Hacker at, with over 12 years content and digital marketing experience

  • Emailing customers is a great way to keep in touch. Balance your email communications, and locate that sweet spot. Don't email too much, or too little.
  • If you're looking to get creative, try writing a personal 'thank you' note and send this to your customers. Use this as an opportunity to make your business really stand out.
  • If you make your customers 'feel like' VIP's, they'll tell their friends. It's a sure way to increase referral business.

When small businesses want to boost customer loyalty, they often focus on dis-counts and special offers. However, there are many more ways you can make customers feel all that more special.

What’s more important to your business; customer acquisition or customer loyalty?

Many small businesses today invest plenty of resources getting the word out about their products and services. For the most part, it works. You get the leads, you convert as many as you can, but then what?

Customer acquisition tends to be a major focus amongst small business, yet this can be at the expense of a much more effective way to drive sales: customer retention. The problem is that getting more customers costs more time and money than encouraging your existing ones to make a repeat purchase, so this needs to be an important focus.

When the words ‘customer loyalty’ are used, the generic approach is often incentivised loyalty schemes. However, all those ‘buy five, get one free’ promotions (which are actually costing you money) are not the only effective method to create loyalty.

If you want to create a loyal customer base, reduce customer attrition, build a reputation and secure sales over the long-term, it’s time to clean up your approach to existing customers.

Woman swiping card

1. Keep in touch

If you don’t already have an email marketing campaign, start one. It can be a great way to let your existing customers know how much you value them, and to encourage them to repurchase from you. 

If you’ve got some insight into your customer base, pre-empting their need for your product or service is extremely effective. If you’re looking for examples of this done well, sign up for customer support service Groove HQ, and pay attention when they next email you.

You could also create a blog and write often about the things that matter to your customers, or get active on social media to communicate with your customers more frequently. 

Tip: Check out the Smart Insights 2017 report to find out how email marketing is performing in your industry. The report took a sample of 1.5 billion emails sent by SMBs to track trends and measure the average: Open rates, click-throughs, unsubscriptions, click-to-opens, and unsubscribe-to-opens. 

Tip: Australia has very strict rules on spam as well as how you acquire subscribers and process unsubscribe requests. Visit the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) website to find out how  business complies with the Anti Spam Act 2003. If you're after expert help, Telstra Business Digital Marketing Services can help you promote your business with targeted offers and web advertising.

2. Produce great feelings

Most of the time, when someone is buying from your business they’re spending their hard earned cash. Why not celebrate the process and your new sale, and make them feel like they’re winning at life by purchasing from you?

To create that feeling for your customers, try to think of ways to make them feel like they’re your most important sale of the day – congratulate them on their purchase, commend their decision and ensure they leave feeling like a million dollars.

Tip: If you’re looking to get creative, try writing a personal ‘thank you’ note and send this to your customers. Use this as an opportunity to make your business really stand out. 

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3. Strengthen community ties

People like to be associated with social good. If you are able to, donate your services, or even returned or damaged items, to the community. Be part of building your local community. If your potential and existing customer base has the option of spending money with either yourself or your competitor, many might prefer to support a business with a conscience.

A classic example is Toms, which has a One for One™ policy to donate a pair of shoes to communities that need it each time a customer buys a pair from them – it’s creating genuine social good.

And it’s important to be genuine about it. Simply donating for the sake of giving an impression you’re philanthropic, is not a strategy most would be fooled by. Think about your goals, and make it a long-term approach that creates tangible benefits to the community your business operates in.

Tip: Your philanthropic activities don’t have to just be local – be global. The Dental Centre gets a lot of satisfaction out of helping those in need by running a dental clinic in Denpasar, Indonesia.

4. Make them VIPs

Your customer service should already be a process where sales and problems are taken care of easily and efficiently, but how valued do your best customers feel?

One of the most powerful methods to breed consistent loyalty with your top customers, is to lay out the red carpet for them. Let them cut in line by offering your sales and latest products to them first, give them an incentivised lifetime loyalty membership, or invite them to exclusive events. It’s about making them aware they’re appreciated and giving them an opportunity to experience exclusive treatment.

One company that is notorious for rewarding their most loyal customers is American Express, who consistently deliver a ‘VIP feeling’ to customers that use their cards often, including a 24-hour concierge and invitations to special events.

Tip: If you make your customers ‘feel like’ VIP’s, they’ll tell their friends. It’s a sure way to increase referral business.

5. Love your employees

If your employees are happy, your customers generally will be too. Most times customers are able to see right through the smoke and mirrors and expose the cracks in your business when your employees are unhappy. This has a profound effect on how customers perceive your business and whether they’ll keep coming back.

Give your employees the VIP treatment,. Let them have fun, put them first, and trust in them enough to make decisions within reason. Not only will you create an atmosphere where everyone is cohesive and happy, but it will be reflected in their dealings with your customers. They may subconsciously remember the positive atmosphere and this might encourage them to come back for more.

Tip: Ask your employees, “How can we make you happier at work.” Listen to what they have to say, brainstorm, strategise, and when you’re ready, implement an employee-happiness system.

*Originally published: December 2nd 2015. Updated February 2nd 2018.

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