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The art of saying ‘thank you’ in business

6 April, 2021 · 9 min read·Small business basics
The art of saying ‘thank you’ in business
In this guide, we’ll walk you through this art so you too can utilize the power of personalized thank-you messages to drive good business.

Merci. Salamat. Asante Sana. Gracias. Nagode. However you say it, ‘thank you’ remains one of the most powerful expressions in business. Today’s marketing is all about building and maintaining brand relationships.

Reaching out and saying ‘thank you for your business’ goes a long way in landing a loyal customer. It shows thoughtfulness and a willingness to enter into a meaningful business relationship with them.

As a business owner, the need for brand loyalty is more pronounced than ever in these pandemic-ridden times. You might recall that back in 2020, many of the small businesses that were able to keep their doors open were only able to do so because of staunch customer loyalty.

There’s a certain art to saying ‘thank you’ in business. In this guide, we’ll walk you through this art so you too can utilize the power of personalized thank-you messages to drive good business.

But I already said thank you after the sale. Why do I need to say it again?

The simple fact is when people feel appreciated, they are easier to do business with. But it’s not enough to just say the regular thank you at the end of a sale. Today’s average consumer wants a personalized relationship with a brand. What then do you stand to benefit from this gesture?

The main benefit is the potential for repeat business

All too often, sales teams are so caught up in keeping their funnel full with new prospects that they neglect the most valuable part — existing customers.

Did you know that a mere 20% of a company's customers can drive up to 80% of that business’s future profits? Customer retention is a key aspect of this 20%.

Basically, if people already purchased from you, there’s a higher chance of them coming back to buy more, than it is to convince an entirely new prospect to convert. By sending a personalized thank-you message, you’re endearing your customers to your brand and paving the way for repeat purchases down the line.

It sets your brand apart from the crowd

No matter what line of business you’re in, if there’s profit to be made, you will surely find competition. Sending a thank-you letter, even something as simple as a handwritten note is a great way to distinguish your brand from the crowd.

The better you are at demonstrating customer appreciation, the more memorable and trustworthy your brand becomes, which in turn leads to better business relationships.

It can bring in new business

When you cultivate positive customer relationships, you are opening the doors to potential referrals from happy customers. Referral marketing may be old, but it is still one of the most powerful ways to gain a new customer.

The best part is that these referrals come to you free of charge. Essentially, you’re saving both marketing time and money in your small business by simply sending a ‘thank you for your business’ message.

It can bring in more revenue

The average buyer is willing to spend more for a good customer experience. This can mean more revenue for your small business. A valued customer is also more willing to leave a positive review, which can be pivotal to the growth of your brand. That’s why you should never allow an opportunity to show appreciation pass you by.

It allows you to reconnect with previous clients

Got some old clients you want to reach out to? Send them a simple thank-you note to reconnect and remind them about your business. Of course, you’ll need to be tactful with your approach —pick an appropriate occasion to reach out — their anniversary of doing business with you, when you have exclusive promos, during a holiday season, and so on.

What makes an effective thank-you message?

Building thank-yous into your customer experience is well worth the effort, but how do you go about it? More importantly, how do you spice up your message for the best possible impact? One of the best ways to elevate your thank-you message from good to great is to make it genuine with a personal touch.

This might come much easier to small business owners as there aren’t too many customers or clients to say thank you to just yet. Of course, large businesses can also have it easy, especially since they usually have dedicated marketing teams, so it’s a simple matter of putting in an extra minute or two to get it done right.

Let’s look at some essential components of an effective thank-you message:

  • Start on a positive note —Whether you're sending a handwritten card note or an email, make sure it starts off on a high. From the moment the customer receives it, your thank-you message should give off a positive vibe. For business thank-you emails, this means it should start from the subject line. Include the words “thank you,” “appreciated,” “valued,” and probably your company name so the recipient already knows what the email is about.

  • Add a personal touch — The level of personalization will ultimately depend on the depth of your customer relationship. Still, even a little bit of personalization is miles better than some generic text. Address them appropriately, use the correct greeting, and use your shared experiences as a base to deliver your thank-you message.

  • Lock in your future relationship — Make sure to let them know that you are looking forward to maintaining your business relationship with them in the future. This is a great way to lay the foundation for long-term relationship-building and customer loyalty.

  • Sign off with another thank you — This section is another chance for some personalization. Keep it short and sweet.

Customer thank-you message do’s and don'ts

When communicating your ‘thank you’ to clients, there are some best practices you should consider following for better customer satisfaction:


  • Aim to impress with the level of thoughtfulness put into the message
  • Use a medium that reflects your business. For instance, if you’re a marketing firm, you could utilize social media for your thank-you message.
  • Make it professional — if sending a thank-you letter, keep it formal.
  • Be concise with your message, but make sure it helps the customer feel like they’re an integral part of your business.
  • Where relevant, feel free to include a link to your customer experience survey so the customer can provide feedback.


  • If you're sending a business thank-you card, don't apologize for your handwriting. Handwritings are unique and therefore add a personal touch to the card.
  • Also, don't use a red pen.
  • Don't drone on about your business. The primary aim here is to express your genuine gratitude.
  • Don't offer upsells
  • Don't wait too long to send your thank-you message else the client might forget the context of your gesture.

Our top picks of best ways to say thank you in business

One of the most exciting things about a gesture of appreciation is that there are tons of ways to express it. Here are some of the best ones we’ve come across:

Write a thank-you note

Nothing beats the simplicity of a thank-you note. If possible, make it a handwritten message as it makes it more personal than something typed and printed. Add some flair to the note by including a photo or minimalist design.

To make your handwritten note even more attractive, make sure you’re using a branded envelope or package when delivering it. Include your company name and logo and make sure every aspect screams elegance and professionalism. This is a great way to make your small business stand out and stick to the back of the customer’s mind.

Do a ‘customer spotlight’ series

If you’ve recorded great success with many customers, you could create a ‘customer spotlight’ series where you feature your customer’s profile along with a heartfelt thank-you letter. Of course, you’ll need to get their consent first, especially if you’re catering to multiple competing clients.

The good thing about this approach is that it promotes automation. Every week or month, you are required to update the series, which in turn allows you to automate the process and fully integrate it into your business practices.

Another benefit is that you could feature that client in a case study. It’s a win on both sides — it reflects well on the client and it can provide a massive marketing boost for your business.

Give a charitable gift in their name

For many large corporations, there comes a time when nifty features and competitive pricing no longer serve as real differentiators to potential buyers. In these instances, their focus turns to shared values with the business, which they then use to make a decision.

Giving a charitable gift or donation in the name of a business associate or client is a great way to promote shared values. For example, if your client is a pet store, you could make a donation in their name to an organization you know they support or to a recognized animal protection non-profit.

Enroll them in an exclusive reward program

A reward program incentivizes customers to want to do more business with you. It is a strategic way of reinforcing customer loyalty. However, reward programs are nothing new and therefore need to be enticing and provide actual value to the customer. This means personalizing the contents of the rewards package based on what that particular customer actually needs.

You could offer special discounts; give them priority access to new products and services; include a freebie add-on to their normal package, and so on.

Share their business

This applies to B2B businesses. If your customers are primarily other business owners, a simple, yet effective way to say thank you is by sharing their business on your website and social media pages.

By advocating their brand, you’re opening the door to a mutually beneficial exchange of value — you’re expanding their brand awareness and they’re more likely to want to continue doing business with you. They might even reciprocate in kind by sharing your business on their own online platforms.

A good example is how coworking spaces often showcase the businesses of their most loyal members around their premises. In return, these freelance professionals leave stellar reviews about the space and can even do some light marketing (blog post, Facebook share, Twitter Retweet, etc). Customers and companies helping one another to succeed — there’s nothing more beautiful in business.

Give them a meaningful gift

Use your knowledge of the customer to provide them with a thoughtful, valuable gift. It doesn't have to be expensive. Sometimes even a small treat (cookies, cake, chocolates) can go a long way. As much as possible, take the time to choose something personal. If you’re not sure what they’d like, you could send them a gift card instead so they can pick what they’d prefer.

Throw yearly customer get-togethers

For most corporations and large enterprises, their annual general meetings are an avenue for saying thank you to their shareholders, customers, and business partners. These meetings or get-togethers are effective because they allow for face-to-face rapport.

This way, you can pick out specific people in the crowd and express your appreciation to them personally. Plus, all the merriment puts everyone in a good mood, which is necessary for promoting further customer relationships in the future.

Schedule a quick meet

There’s simply no replacement for face-to-face interactions when it comes to building a business relationship. If you can’t throw an end-of-the-year bash for your customers, you could always sit down and have coffee with them.

This is especially useful in cases where you and the client are not within the same geographical location. Perhaps you met online and have never actually met in person. Scheduling a coffee or lunch meeting when you’re in their neighborhood is a great way to personally thank them for their patronage.

Take this opportunity to also listen intently to any feedback they may have about your products or services. Understanding their needs allows you to provide tailored solutions, which in turn, leads to deeper customer loyalty.

The best ways to send thank-you messages in 2021

How you send out your thank-you message is integral to the overall success of the gesture. Looking at the list above, you can immediately see that some of them are not exactly practical in 2021. Lockdowns, social distancing, and a certain unease at physically touching stuff mean that online tools are the most reliable mediums for showing customer appreciation today. These include:


Business thank-you emails have never been more popular. For all their popularity, however, they must still overcome one of the biggest challenges of email marketing — abysmal open rates. What good is a thank-you email if the recipient can’t even be bothered to open it? To improve your chances of a favorable open rate. your personalization game must be topnotch.

Social media

Platforms like Linkedin and Twitter are great for sending quick, personalized thank-you messages. Other platforms like Instagram and Facebook are great for customer spotlights since they are more visually oriented.

Text messaging

If you have the client’s phone number and they have expressly agreed to be contacted through that medium, then a quick thank you via text message is a great option. Text messages are somewhat more personal than email and social media messaging so there’s a much better chance of your message being opened and read.

e-Gift cards

If gifting is crucial to your customer appreciation strategy, consider sending an e-gift so there is no physical contact.

When should you send a thank-you message to a customer?

Short answer — whenever it’s warranted! Here are some instances:

  • Holiday seasons — Admittedly, it will take a lot of hard work to personalize appreciation messages during the holidays since there are so many people to send to. Still, don't let such a prime opportunity pass you by.
  • Customer anniversary dates — The anniversary of the date which you formally began your customer relationship is a perfect excuse to send a thank-you message.
  • After events — Perhaps you recently hosted a workshop or webinar. You could use that opportunity to say thank you to clients who attended the event.
  • After a referral — This is expected. After all, they just handed you a potential new client. Saying thank you in a special way is only the natural response for such a gesture.
  • When you’re doing a follow-up — If the customer just purchased an upgraded package or add-on service, you could do a quick follow-up to be sure that they’re getting the best from the new purchase. You can then throw in a ‘thank you’ during the call.
  • Out of the blue — Surprise your customers with a thoughtful ‘thank you’ every now and then. It improves brand loyalty and can improve future customer relationships.

The bottom line

Saying thank you in business is an often overlooked gesture that could yield some pretty hefty benefits. Stand your business out from the crowd and drastically improve your chances of repeat purchases, just by expressing appreciation to your customers. Now you know how to go about it, the only thing left to do is to execute it.

Learn more small business basics with B12

Enjoyed this handy guide? The B12 resource center is home to dozens of relevant small business and online marketing guides. Check them out and be sure to get in touch with us should you have any follow-up questions.

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