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Mike Gorun

Mike Gorun Managing Partner/CEO

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Make Your VIPs Feel Special with a Customer Appreciation Event

 

You know who they are: your VIP customers. The ones who have purchased more than one vehicle from you and the ones who frequent your service department for their repair needs. What are you doing to show your appreciation for them this holiday season?

 

Call it a trend or a growing awareness that you can’t take loyal customers for granted, but more and more small businesses are showing their appreciation in the form of a party or other event that offers both fun and rewards to their most valued customers. Would this work for your dealership? Try it and see!

 

Here are a few tips and ideas:

  1. If you’re thinking about a party, don’t schedule one for a Saturday night. You don’t want to compete with other holiday parties. Instead, host an afternoon party when customers might normally be out shopping.
  2. If you want to throw a party, make sure there’s a draw worth seeing such as a special guest; i.e. musician, local sports hero, entertainer, author or expert related to your business. One idea might be to contact your local school and invite their chorus to sing holiday songs at your dealership. Kids are cute, the entertainment’s free and they’ll bring their parents.
  3. Offer a gift giveaway to “the first 100 people who walk through the door.”
  4. Offer a “no pressure” event that will answer any questions consumers may have about your 2013 product line.
  5. Do you have any synergistic or marketing partnerships with other local businesses? Consider inviting them to co-host an event with you. The more, the merrier.
  6. Tie your customer appreciation event into a charitable or fundraising effort for the holidays. People feel good about giving and are more likely to do so if you make it easy for them.
  7. Create a sense of exclusivity; though you may be tempted to invite all your customers, invite only those who have demonstrated the most loyalty. In your pre-event marketing, convey a sense of excitement about this “exclusive” event and give several compelling reasons why your customers will want to attend.
  8. Urge your customers to bring a friend, then reward them with a coupon or small gift if they do bring a friend.
  9. Use all marketing channels to promote the event. In addition to email, create an event on Facebook for your fans, tweet, post something on Pinterest, display the event on your website, etc.
  10. If this all seems like too much work, at the very least contact your most loyal customers and offer them some small gift for the holidays without requiring purchase. Whether it’s extra points, a stuffed animal, a coupon at a local restaurant—your appreciation for them will be appreciated by them!

 

Have you ever held a customer appreciation event? How did it turn out for you? Do you have any additional tips or suggestions for a successful customer appreciation event?

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