By Natasa Cvijanovic
After what seemed like a split second, we reached the halfway point of 2022, and June, my favorite month of the year, had arrived. "I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June," L. M. Montgomery once said. I wonder the same thing.
June is also the month of birth for a number of exceptional individuals whom I am fortunate to call friends. Although birthdays can be a source of anxiety for some, they're happy occasions for most: it's their day when others celebrate them. Generally speaking, our merchants look forward to their birthdays as well.
The search for new ways to strengthen relationships with merchants, particularly the most valuable ones, is ongoing for ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs). And if you're looking for ways to increase customer engagement, here's an obvious solution: include birthday greetings in your marketing strategy to help build and strengthen merchant relationships.
Recognizing your merchants' birthdays and other significant personal and professional accomplishments is a simple, personalized way to show you care about what is happening in their lives. Because merchants who receive more attention and time are more likely to stay with you long-term, this gesture can significantly improve customer satisfaction and loyalty at minimal cost.
Since most merchants feel better when they receive extra attention, especially on special occasions, why shouldn't you be associated with those good feelings? Here are some simple ideas for incorporating birthday greetings into your marketing strategy.
Sending a birthday card may be old school, but it works. People don't receive much mail. A mailed birthday card can be an excellent way to surprise your clients. If you're at a loss for words, draw inspiration from Carol King's birthday song, "Happy birthday, you know just how to be. Happy birthday, I'm glad you're with me." (I couldn't help myself.)
Emailing on merchants' special days is also an option. The "Happy Birthday" subject line will grab their attention as they scan their inbox. To avoid being flagged as spam, personalize these emails, and make messages easy to read without attachments, external links, etc. If you include a birthday-only promo, be careful not to dilute your genuine gesture by appearing salesy
Personally delivering a small gift is another way to show your merchants you appreciate them and their business. They are likely to remember your personal touch and recommend your services to their peers.
If your merchants have agreed to receive important updates or industry news via text messages, master the use of your CRM's text message feature. Text only when you have important information or a special occasion greeting. Constant and irrelevant communication will quickly ensure that a large number of your merchants unsubscribe right away.
If you can push messages and notifications to merchants through your reseller hardware and software portals, send messages directly to their POS systems and terminals. Sending birthday greetings in this manner is an unexpected way to recognize their special day.
Many salespeople in other industries don't have access to their customers' data; they have to develop a strategy for capturing it, which is often not easy. Information gathered during the merchant application process provides an excellent opportunity to increase merchant retention through the use of merchants’ birthday data. Simply figure out how to track it, and then determine the best way to use that information to personalize your merchant interactions.
In addition to your current merchants, you likely have data on your former merchants. Treat your former customers the same way you treat your current ones, and don't forget about their special occasions. The fact that a merchant has left you doesn't mean they are less important to you. Former merchants are a source of word-of-mouth and can still be a valuable source of referrals.
How you treat them after they leave says a lot about you and your company. Maintain the same level of courtesy and respect for all merchants, past and present.
Every MLS should prioritize relationship building with their merchants. Acknowledging a merchant's birthday is a simple way to connect on a personal level, strengthen relationships and lay the groundwork for long-term loyalty. Building stronger relationships with your merchants ensures the longevity of your brand, and if you're an MLS, your name is your brand.
Natasa Cvijanovic, co-founder and CEO of Tesla Payments, has a proven track record within the payment industry of cultivating successful relationships with ISOs, MLSs and strategic partners. In developing national sales channels, she provides training and coaching to sales partners to enable them to become better business partners and advocates for their merchants, and to assist them in building portfolios producing steady residual streams. She is also dedicated to consistently delivering high levels of professionalism, integrity, dependability and trustworthiness. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org..
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