Design Your Biz: Customer Appreciation

In today's Design Your Biz segment, I'd like to talk a little bit about Customer Appreciation!
When I first think of customer appreciation, my brain immediately goes to discount. I mean, who doesn't love a good discount, right? It's a great way to show your customers some love! 

It's hard not to fall into the trap of always having a sale going on. Sales can be a great way to promote your work and get new customers. But, if you're always having sales, people will start to expect that your stuff is always on sale. So, I've tried to find a balance between using sales to get new customers and appreciate the customers I have. Here are the ways I typically give out discounts:
  1. I send out coupon codes in my email newsletter. To me, this is truly customer appreciation! When I have a new pattern or I've reformatted an older pattern, I'll often times add a coupon code for $1-2 off to my email newsletter. Why just in the newsletter? Those are my actually my customers. Most of the people that receive my newsletter have bought a pattern or book from me, taken a class, or joined one of my knit-a-longs. They are interested in hearing from me twice a month via email, and I appreciate that. They are the whole reason I get to have knitting as my full-time job! :)
  2. When I release a self-published e-book, like the Gradient Collection or Nifty Gifty, I almost always release the patterns one at time, over the course of several weeks. So, I'll discount the e-book. People are taking a chance on my by buying an e-book from me without seeing all the patterns first. If the book contains 6 patterns and my end price is $12.50, I will discount it to $7.50 when the first pattern is added, then increase it to $8.50 when the second pattern is added, and so on. I appreciate that people are taking that risk and want my patterns before even seeing and them, so they get the discount!
  3. Once a year (usually around my birthday) I'll have a big sale that will run for a few days. Why? Because it's fun. 
Like I said, discounts are great, but I think there are so many other ways you can show appreciation for your customers without ever offering a discount:
  • Be responsive to emails. Whether someone emails me to ask me a question about a pattern or they just want to show me a picture of their finished shawl, I do my best to write them back. Just giving them a little bit of your time goes a long way to show them that you value them.
  • Interact. This goes with the above point. As designers, we all have lots of social media: Ravelry groups, Facebook pages, Twitter, Instagram, the list goes on. While I'll be the first to admit that the social media can get overwhelming, taking some time to interact with people that follow you (many of which are your customers) shows that you care about them.
  • Give them what they want (within reason of course). Recently, I received yet another email asking for a pi shawl with armholes (so like a pi shawl vest). I haven't designed one up until this point because I was a little nervous about the sizing aspects of the piece. After giving it some thought, I've decided to go for it. I'm really grateful for having customers that will tell me what kind of designs they are looking for, and I feel like we've all sort of evolved in our shawl knitting together. So why not give them the design so many of them having been asking for!?
There's lots of ways to show your customers love. Are you a designer? I'd love to hear your thoughts on customer appreciation!

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