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As a marketer, you understand the importance of customer retention. However, continually coming up with new ways to use print, email, and other channels to keep your customers engaged can often seem like a full-time job. Here are five suggestions to kick-start your creativity.

1. Talk about your mission. Increasingly, consumers, especially younger ones like GenX and Millennials, want to be good global citizens. They want to buy from companies that care about global citizenship, too. Feature content about where and how your company is investing in things they care about, such as community service, social justice, and environmental initiatives.

2. Offer an exclusive. Sure, customers love discounts, but they love having exclusive access, too. Engage customers in new product development. Give them virtual tours of how you make your products. Give top customers exclusive gifts that make them feel valued and special.

3. Go the extra mile. Have you ever received a card in the mail that you didn’t expect? A special gift “just because”? That same positive feeling happens in customer relationships, too. Hand-select a group of customers, create a special direct mailer (maybe one of those awesome three-dimensional pop-up cards) with the message: “We just wanted to say thank you for being a great customer. Here’s a 10% discount on your next purchase. Just because.”

4. Teach them something. The more you learn, the more you want to put your new knowledge to use. So come up with a newsletter, webinar, or mobile video, teaching customers how to do something that relates to your company or brand. If you sell crafting supplies, mail out a personalized invitation to an in-store crafting class. If you make kitchen gadgets, offer an opportunity to sign up for an online tutorial on preparing gourmet meals. Engage them in learning about how to do fun things…using your products, of course.

5. Send a survey…or two. Everyone loves to have their opinion heard. So ask it! Send a high-quality direct mail piece with a reply card, an email link, or personalized URL. Ask their opinion on everything from their favorite products, to your store displays, to how they are treated in the store. Follow up letting them know how you implemented what you learned. Knowing that you acted on their feedback is meaningful and creates a bond that translates into deeper customer relationships—and, ultimately, higher sales.

Want more ideas? Let’s talk!

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