When’s the last time a business associate remembered your anniversary? How about the last time they sent you a gift or a card during an important event in your life? What about a phone call during a difficult time?
Studies show that customized marketing efforts create memorable experiences that make clients feel more appreciated and understood. One of the most effective ways to nurture client relationships, enhance customer loyalty, and drive referrals is to implement a surprise and delight strategy. This tailored approach lets your clients know that you are thinking about them, and that you care about what’s important to them.
Similar to how gamification is used with loyalty programs, surprise and delight strategies help influence a customer’s need for individuality and gratitude, and often these strategies have a direct impact on revenue growth.
In fact, a recent study showed that 90% of people have an elevated perception of a brand or company after receiving a surprise and delight gesture. Of those who have been part of a surprise and delight strategy, 50% told their peers about the experience, and about 1/3 did more business with the company as a direct result of the gesture.
Executing a surprise and delight campaign may sound daunting, but by implementing a strategy before you get started, you can make surprising and delighting your customers a successful part of your business.
Make it Personal
The more unique and specific you can make a surprise and delight opportunity, the more it will mean to your client. Remembering small details about their life and incorporating these into your strategy is an easy way to gain big points. Even small tokens of appreciation, such as having their favorite beverage on hand when they visit your office, can make a world of difference.
Segment Your list
Look at your list of clients and determine how you can easily market to groups of them. Identify top clients that you want to focus on with more personal opportunities. You can also identify groups of people by their hobbies, upcoming events, or life stages.
Look for Opportunities to Automate
Easily automate yearly events or milestones with automated marketing. This creates a positive experience for your clients while also effectively managing your time.
Many automated marketing platforms allow you to execute marketing efforts to a large group of people. Advisor Group’s MyCMO platform allows you to easily send personalized marketing materials such as emails, newsletters, greeting cards, event invitations and social media posts in a scalable way. It also allows you the opportunity to set it and forget it, so you can spend your time more efficiently while still using the surprise and delight strategy.
Determine a Strategy
Every time a common life event occurs, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Come up with a plan for major life milestones, such as weddings, births, deaths, anniversaries, and illness, and implement these when the event occurs. This way, it’s easy to implement and time efficient while still being very personal.
Ideas to Surprise and Delight Your Clients
After you have determined your strategy for implementing a surprise and delight marketing approach, now it’s time to determine what you will be using to surprise and delight your clients. Below are a few tried and true favorites our financial professionals swear by:
• Gifting travel books, maps or food guides for clients who are going on a dream vacation
• Sending college apparel or memorabilia to clients when their alma mater wins a championship, or when their child or grandchild gets accepted to or graduates from college
• Donate to a cause or an organization on behalf of your client
• Send meals to clients who are going through a difficult time, such as a divorce or the passing of a loved one
• Deliver custom gift packages to your clients depending on their hobbies, like a cheese and wine basket for foodies, a tote full of gardening tools for those with a green thumb, or fun tailgating games for sports fans.
There are also opportunities to surprise and delight a large part of your client base at one time by doing an annual or bi-annual outing with some of your top service clients. Some ideas include:
• Renting box seats for a sporting event and inviting your top service clients to attend the game, enjoy hors d’oeuvres and chat with other clients
• Invite your clients to a vineyard for a wine tasting with a sommelier
• Purchase tickets to a fun concert and invite clients to attend with their families
• Coordinate a private tour of a museum for your clients
While these ideas are sure to impress your clients, not every surprise and delight idea has to cost a lot of money and time. A few ideas to make a lasting impression without breaking the bank include:
• If your client is going through a difficult time, give them a call and don’t discuss anything about business
• Deliver a handwritten note as a token of appreciation for their business and support
• When your client visits your office, reserve a special parking spot with their name on it
While there are a myriad of gift ideas and gestures you can use to express your gratitude to your clients, the most important thing is to make sure you are personalizing the experience for every one of your clients so they feel appreciated, understood and important. That’s what keeps your clients coming back and increases your referral opportunities as well.
Don’t underestimate the power of this simple yet frequently overlooked marketing tactic. For more ideas, download Advisor Group’s Surprise and Delight Guide, and the companion piece, Surprise and Delight Using Data, to find out how you can surprise and delight your way to revenue growth.
Securities and investment advisory services are offered through the firms: FSC Securities Corporation, Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., SagePoint Financial, Inc., Triad Advisors, LLC, and Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, and members of FINRA and SIPC. Securities are offered through Securities America, Inc., a broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC. Advisory services are offered through Arbor Point Advisors, LLC, Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management, Inc., Securities America Advisors, Inc., and Triad Hybrid Solutions, LLC, registered investment advisers. Advisory programs offered by FSC Securities Corporation, Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., SagePoint Financial, Inc., and Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., are sponsored by VISION2020 Wealth Management Corp., an affiliated registered investment adviser. Advisor Group, Inc. is an affiliate of these firms. 
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