My daughter received Taylor Swift’s 1989 CD for her 10th birthday. After the party she unwrapped the CD and came running into my room. “Mom! Look what Taylor put in my CD! It’s like I won the golden ticket from Willy Wonka!” She then proceeded to show me a set of 13 photos that look like Polaroids taken of Taylor Swift. At the bottom of each she has written a lyric from her album that fits with the emotion in the picture. I recognized at once that this was mass produced. However, my response to my daughter was simply, “Awesome!”

Awesome because it made my daughter feel special, but really I was thinking “This is pure customer marketing genius!” Customer engagement is a hot topic lately because we as marketers haven’t done a great job of taking care of our customers and making them feel valued. This is something Taylor Swift excels at. She invites top fans to her house and bakes them cookies. She runs contests to get fans into her videos. She hand writes thank you notes to reporters and DJs that interview her. Taylor Swift is fundamentally thankful for her fans and never hesitates to take the time to show them appreciation.

As marketers, we need to be doing the same. Sales gives a customer lots of attention until they purchase, then they are off to the next deal. Customer success organizations call maybe once a quarter to field issues and make sure they are going to stay a customer or renew maintenance. But where is the love and appreciation?

What are you doing today to make your customers feel special?

Here are a few ideas to inspire you into action:

  • Invite top customers (or run a contest) for a meeting with a key executive in your organization
  • Send a quirky gift to customers – it doesn’t have to be expensive, just something memorable that makes them feel special (like Taylor’s photos)
  • Send a hand written thank you card to your customers. With no agenda! Just telling them why they are special and that you appreciate their business
  • Retweet/reshare posts from your customers and do this daily – you can even make it into a program like “Awesome customer retweet of the day!”
  • When customers do something for you – like give a referral – always thank the personally and recognize them. (See Best Practice #5 from 9 Best Practices for Running a Successful Referral Program)

If you just read this list and said, “Great ideas! But they sound like a lot of work and while likely the right thing to do, I can’t prove ROI,” then this next idea is for you. Think about starting a referral program. Today’s referral amplification programs are fully automated and both get you hard ROI with lots of high quality leads/acquisition as well as reward your customers for their efforts. Referral programs have been found to increase customer loyalty and customer engagement with the brand. And the best part is, it requires very little effort on the part of marketing to make it a success.

I challenge you to think like Taylor Swift and figure out some ways that you can appreciate your customers, increase customer engagement and make them fans. Ultimately, you will see significant growth of your business. It’s working for Taylor, it can work for you too. Because while I’ve always liked Taylor’s music, after how special she made my daughter feel, I now consider myself a huge Taylor Swift fan.