The best marketing tactic is easy, free and memorable

free marketing tactic that works great and few use

Do you remember the last time a provider thanked you for being a client? I sure do because the act is so rare, it’s incredibly memorable. I’m not talking about a generic Christmas card, but heartfelt thanks in the form of a personal note. This caring gesture serves as a marketing tactic even without intent and often means more than any gift or automated reply you could envision.

free marketing tactic that's seldom usedWhat about a business associate expressing appreciation for a referral or expertise provided without a fee to help solve a challenge they faced? Unbelievably, it almost never happens. In fact, I was shocked last week when I offered an hour to a struggling entrepreneur, on a Sunday no less (at her convenience, not mine), who pulled a no show. Her response to my voice mail message noting I was waiting – ‘I wasn’t feeling well.’ You can’t call me prior to the noon appointment to let me know I can reschedule my day?!! I don’t have a lot of patience – or charity inclinations – for people who don’t respect the value of my time. You shouldn’t either.

Have you connected people that forged lucrative and long-standing alliances? Did they remember to acknowledge your role and send a note of update and thanks? Probably not.

The thank you note works on the personal level too. My nephews always take the time to call or write when gifts are received. It not only makes my day to get the thoughtful and appreciative letters, but also spurs me to put careful thought, time and limited resources into ensuring each item I select for them is special. These kids are being taught an early lesson few still practice. This thoughtful, gracious and appreciative perspective that’s being enforced will serve them well for the rest of their life.

It seems odd to me that people can spend so much time showing strangers appreciation online while they neglect the people who have been instrumental in contributing to their business success or personal well-being. The world is getting weird.

For the savvy, thinking and integrity-rich small business operator, this is good news.  You can standout so easily by just being thoughtful and polite.  As the rest of the world moves forward thinking a thank you is a waste of time, you can invest very little in being different.

Here are seven easy, no-costs ways you can be memorable with this simple marketing tactic:

  1. Hand write a thank you note on a card selected specifically for the recipient with an imagine and message that fits (a Dollar Store card and stamp can cost less than $1 – the time you take to craft a heartfelt message is priceless).
  2. Provide unsolicited testimonials for a vendor, associate, business partner or collaborator that’s contributed to your well-being, education, network or prosperity. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you become a memorable resource with this simple act. Plus it’s just good manners and makes someone who’s been gracious with you feel good.
  3. Call or e-mail reporters, vendors, clients, associates, partners and referral agents regularly to express how much – and how so – you appreciate what they’ve done for you.
  4. Recognize people who have contributed to your life in meaningful ways in your blog, newsletter, on your website or through other public communications (online, letters to the editor in newspapers, group gatherings, etc.).
  5. Refer business to people you’ve met or worked with who are standout providers. This will not only thrill the people you introduce to these contacts, but will also serve as a strong indication of appreciation for the recommended vendor, which could also result in referrals back to you (from both contact and vendor).
  6. Clip articles, send resources or note important family events (birthdays, sporting accomplishments of kids, favorite professional team congratulations, expressed charity passion news and support, business coverage, prospect leads, etc.) as you see them. Building rapport starts with forging relationships and caring enough to remember personal interests makes you someone more notable than the rest.
  7. Say thank you. Seems strange, I know, but so few these days express these words and mean it. Simply acknowledging someone’s extra effort to help you can put you miles above the rest.

Think about who has thanked you in the last month. I bet you can remember every one. It’s sad this common courtesy has become so rare these days, but the miss can provide huge opportunities for anyone looking to build relationships and stand out. For virtually no cost, you can present yourself as unusual enough to be memorable. Just make sure you mean it.

42 responses to “The best marketing tactic is easy, free and memorable”

  1. Thank you Nanette:
    I agree it takes a few minutes to call or even email a simple thank you.

    You have reminded me to write some thank you notes to the stables which had me judge their shows this summer. I write to thank them and also to make sure they put me on their officiating contacts for future shows. And I include a business card so they can have easy contact information.

    Making it easy for people to get a hold of you is also a great marketing strategy.


  2. I would like to thank you for this article. I have printed it off so I can go over it. I already use thank you notes. You are correct that hardly anyone thanks any one anymore. It is very important. Sometimes I get thank you notes from thank you notes … because they are so rare.

    • You’re welcome, Debbie. You’re among a minority using thank you notes – as you’ve seen with your thank yous to thank yous. It’s sad, but an opportunity for those who are thoughtful.

  3. This a great post and I would agree that very few people do this. We recently sold our house and our Realtor, who is a fantastic guy, does this. He sends out a personalized thank you note, with a gift card no less. We recommend him to everyone we meet regardless of this action, but the additional expression of gratitude is well done.

    In the current economy, you must do things that set you apart from the competition. This is a great, inexpensive way to make clients for life.

    • Thanks for stopping in and commenting, Steve. Yes, it amazes me how few real estate agents take the time to thank the sellers, not to mention the buyers when a house is sold. Sure, sometimes you get a form letter from ‘the company,’ but rarely a personalized note. The excuse I usually hear is they have to pay for it out of their own pocket. Huh – you’re too cheap to buy a card and perhaps a small gift for a five-figure payday that could turn to many with referrals? I don’t get it.

  4. Funny how good old fashion manners now stand out and show that you are a person of character and someone people want to do business with. Somethings should not go out of use and thank you is one of them.

    • Funny or sad, Shawn, depending on how you look at it I guess. There’s a lot going out of style in the manners department (don’t get me started on cell phones). Of course, in others’ thoughtlessness there are benefits for those who extend themselves ever so little to be considerate.

  5. You are so right, Nanette – I was buzzing all week through sneezing and shivers when you mailed me. That, and this post got me thinking, when was the last time I actually did something similar?
    Yes, I say thanks, yes I share things… but more than that, I can’t actually remember. Time to change!

    • Jan, I’m so sorry to hear of your illness. Glad I was able to warm you up a bit during the chills. Glad I was able to get you thinking as a result of one of my posts. I know your blog material always gives me something new to learn or consider. Feel better!

  6. I completely agree and put my money where my mouth is (or cake in my case) and send every client a home made brownie with a thank you note.

    I have an accountancy business and the books are difficult enough for business owners, even before life gets in the way, so it’s how I say I understand a bit of sweetness makes it easier sometimes.

    And who doesn’t like cake? 😉

  7. 🙂 Kudos! One can NOT underestimate the power of a hand-written Thank You note. In this day and age of techno-clog, it’s inspiring to receive these in an old fashioned mailbox.

    • Thanks, Laura. I have to say, a hand written thank you note is so rare I probably remember each one I’ve received in the past year. Plus, it’s so nice to get something besides bills and political flyers in the mail today, isn’t it?

    • Erin, I read your post on apathy (interestingly there’s a common theme here, if you think about it). You offer some good ideas for moving forward. Perhaps the same could apply to appreciation.

  8. I’m a big believer in the personalized, 3-D thank you note with stamp affixed to envelope with my tongue! It shows so much actual care and attention and folks will display that card for weeks !

    • I’m a little careful of what I put my tongue on after learning how some of this stuff is manufactured and stored, Andrea, but I hear you. And you’re right, people save this stuff. I have a note my nephew wrote in thanks for Christmas gifts that I pull out frequently to reread. Sadly, I think that was the last hand written note that came in.

  9. Great tips here, Nanette. I am also a fan of thank you notes and have been a bit surprised, in the few years that my oldest daughter has been going to birthday parties, that so few people send them! I have written them and sent to clients, but I realize I could definitely do more of this. Making a note to list at least 5 folks to thank/touch base with this week!

    • How inspiring Cassie. What a different we’d all make in the lives of others (and ourselves) if we did a ‘pick five’ each week for recipients of hand written notes. Hmmmm . . . interesting thought as an early Monday morning routine. What a way to start the week.

  10. Hi Nanette,

    Your post is so right on! There is a lost art of thank you and etiquette all together. It’s amazing how those small tasks, that don’t take very long, can mean the world of difference to most people.

    While I love technology, there is nothing more special than a physical card to say thank you.


  11. You are so right Nanette. I often wonder what happened to manners. My mother would have a lot to say if I forgot to say thank you. Anyone who doesn’t say thank you or show respect for someone’s time and value does not have an attitude of gratitude and it’s likely the law of attraction isn’t very strong in their life. A little acknowledgement goes a long way.

    • Thanks for stopping in and commenting, Julia. Funny, my mother who used to punish us kids for not writing an immediate thank you for gifts doesn’t write thank you notes anymore (or often even acknowledge gifts). My youngest sister never even confirms gifts arrived with a quick e-mail. I initially considered this a generational issue, but am starting to believe it’s cultural trend. So sad. But – not for those who are willing to extend themselves with just a little bit of thoughtfulness.

  12. Awesome post Nanette, I usually include a small gift with my orders around Christmas time, but this year, I think I will work on something more personal, maybe handwritten.

  13. Your post really spoke to me. There are times when the simplest things are forgotten. Thanks for the powerful reminder!

  14. This all seems so common sense and simple, but I think with all the social media, marketing strategists and so forth, these simplistic thoughts are left behind. The funny thing is, there are so many conflicting opinions about what works better; Old School vs. New School. Some people think old school is too outdated to work and others think the new school way is too impersonal to work. For a newbie to networking and business like myself, it can all be too confusing. But when things get too confusing for me, I go with what seems most simple and less stressful. I will definitely keep these points in mind when connecting with people. Thank you!:)

    • Hi Kaye – believe it or not, a lot of what’s being touted today as new is old school. It’s just modified to suit electronic transmission. Some isn’t, of course. I generally let common sense rule, as you suggest.

  15. I was doing this at first and for some reason stopped doing it. Thanks for the “kick in the pants” reminder. While I was sending out Thank you cards to clients I could tell a difference in the level of loyalty I had with the client.

  16. Hi Nanette,

    Thank you for presenting this idea so clearly and (I hope effectively). I’ve been writing thank you notes for years. They’re so rewarding to everyone in so many ways, that I often imagine that we’re in business not to gather contracts, but to create opportunities to send thank you notes.

    Think about it. On the average, a good thank you note will generate much more revenue from repeat business and referrals than the original agreement ever did.

    And then there’s creating good will among your clients and friends, and the satisfaction of knowing that your gratitude creates a bit more pleasure in a world that needs every shred.

    Thank you for encouraging all this.

  17. Yes, it is wonderful to send and receive hand written thank you’s. As I love taking photos, I get my favourites printed and glue to a white card, and put my message inside. That way I can share my special images.

    Great tip. More should do it.

  18. Hi Nanette,

    Thanks for the wonderful advice. It is so true that by writing a little thank you note, can mean such a difference to the person receiving the item. But in the long term it could also mean a massive difference to your online or offline business. Well done and thank you.

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