What’s your favorite strategy for thanking your customers in a way that creates brand loyalty?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

1. Always Go the Write Way

“We send handwritten thank-you cards to each client immediately following a service. In the tech era, anything written by hand stands out. It shows you’re taking the time to appreciate their patronage the right way. Sincerity and gratitude go much further in building loyalty and real relationships than anything else, whether with clients or in your personal life.”

Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk

2. Hallmark E-Cards

“In addition to handwritten cards, I love sending out e-cards to my clients to thank them for signing up, to congratulate them on a win, or to mark a special occasion.”

Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E®

3. A Little Luck Goes a Long Way

“Rather than sending cards at Christmas when many do, I send mine for New Year’s Day (handwritten) to my best 100+ clients and insert a scratch-off lotto ticket. “Here’s to a prosperous New Year!” While most lose, everyone loves and remembers it.”

Darrah Brustein, Finance Whiz Kids | Equitable Payments | Atlanta Under 40


4. Customers Love Incentives

“When a customer makes a purchase from you, offer them a discount for future orders — even if its as little as 5 percent.”

Ak Kurji, Gennex Group

5. Feature Your Best Customers

“Highlight your clients and the success they experience working with your program, service or product. You’ll align their success with your brand and bring them a little celebrity and acknowledgement.”

Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

6. Logo Coffee Cups for Daily Reminders

“I had one project where we sent all the customers coffee mugs with our logo, and it was a huge hit! The customers felt cool with their exclusive mugs, and it was a great way to remind them of our company every morning. Plus, a bunch of people voluntarily sent in photos of themselves holding up their mugs. That was an unexpected bonus that could provide great imagery for marketing materials.”

Laura Roeder , LKR

7. Create a Personal Connection!

“We call every client after their first service and ask them for feedback. This also gives us a chance to thank them and gives them a point person in our company. It’s great because it makes the customers feel valued and gives them a personal connection to the brand. After doing this, we saw increased personal engagement in our Facebook page and built those customers into a brand loyal community.”

Nikki Robinson, Gloss and Glam

8. Cross-Promote Your Clients

“In any way that I possibly can, I like to promote my clients. That goes far beyond the work I specifically do for them: I routinely offer them up as suggestions to writers, set up introductions and generally create situations that help my clients’ companies overall. Helping their bottom line creates brand loyalty in a way that nothing else can compare to.”

Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

9. Make Their Day in Any Way

“Surprise your customers with little bonuses, discounts or gifts when they least expect it. Zappos does a great job at this by sending a package by next day air, dropping the shipping cost or slipping a coupon into the delivery box without a customer asking for it. This tactic will really resonate with your customers.”

Kevin Tighe II, The Brand Stars

10. Send Beautiful Love Letters

“I buy gorgeous papers, Papyrus cards, and amazing stickers to create stunning love lette r/thank you so much cards for clients and people who help me bring my brand to the world. The response I get from people when they receive one of my creations is awesome. People are usually shocked that someone put so much thought into saying thank you.”

Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World

11. People Love Surprises!

“A great way to show your customers how much you appreciate their business is to include a little sample of a product that you think they’d like. It’s very important to make sure they realize right away that the freebie didn’t end up in their box by mistake. Attach a little note or business card and tell them that this little extra is on you.”

Fabian Kaempfer, Chocomize

12. Provide Added Value

“Provide them with added value beyond what they pay for. By continually emailing customers about time-saving tools, new trends or advice, customers will appreciate your business even more. You show you’re taking an interest in them without selling them on a service.”

Blake Beshore, Tatroux

13. Random Gifts — Just Because

“Give them a free gift at random — “Just because.” Show that your company sees its customers as human beings. The excitement of an unexpected gift can reinvigorate a relationship.”

Peter Nguyen, Advertiser360

14. Throw in a Free Prize

“When you order from the photography site Photojojo, included in your order is a tiny plastic dinosaur, and on the packing list is a line item saying “1 Rawwrrrr!” Hundreds of photos have been uploaded to Flickr with Photojojo dinosaurs doing dinosaur things. It builds loyalty and gives customers a great reason to talk about them.”

Sean Johnson, Digital Intent