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To keep customers loyal to you, instead of a frequent buyer program, send your customers small “surprise” gifts. Customers come to expect rewards when they are members of a program. Surprises always work to instill loyalty and retention.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that promotional items are only for conferences and tradeshows. When given out with (or in place of) a business card at a lunch, a meeting or in passing, small promotional items become a gift. People expect free stuff at conferences, they don’t expect gifts. Keep a small, branded (and useful) item with you. You can be sure they’ll remember you. They don’t have to be expensive. Tip calculator cards, tea bags, pens and pads, small flashlights or things very target specific to your industry, like small packets of flower seeds for a gardener or landscaper with their contact information on it.