There’s one particular aspect of business that a lot of people tend to ignore and I just don’t know why. And that is client retention. Throughout my career I’ve worked a number of different jobs and one of the common refrains I would always here from my bosses is that we needed to get more sales. That was always the focus.

The problem is that if your only focus is on getting new sales, you have a hole in the bottom of your bucket where you’re losing clients just as fast as you’re gaining them.  That is a big problem because you are doing all this hard work and a lot of it is going to waste because you aren’t actually retaining the clients you actually do win.  

One way that you can fix this is with swag.  But you’ve got to do it the right way.  And I see a lot of businesses messing this up, in my opinion.  Typically, a company will go to a conference and just give swag away to everyone they see in a very indiscriminate way.  That is the wrong way to do this.  

Let’s instead look at the right way to use swag to increase your client retention and keep them coming back for more.

Stickermule Does It Right 

There are a number of different ways that you can use company merchandise to your advantage when you are looking to improve client retention.  But the best way to illustrate how powerful it can be is by looking at an example.  In this case – Stickermule.

I order all my branded stickers through Stickermule and every time I place an order they send me a free bottle of meal sauce.  It has nothing to do with stickers – I just love hot sauce.  Because of this swag that was a complete surprise, I’ve continued to order from them time and again.

If you can do that for your business, you’ll plug that hole in your cycle and ensure that your clients stick with you for the long term.

Multi-Level Strategy

Before we get to the formula, it’s important to recognize that you need to have three different levels of your offering to cater to different clients:

  • The lowest level is the introductory offer to get clients in the door.  This is often quite simple and inexpensive.  For example, if you are a heating and air company – this might be a maintenance plan.  In my business the low-level offering is the Drip Challenge – which gives a great place for someone to stumble across my offering and get started.
  • The mid-tier level is somewhere in between where you are building a relationship with the client but they haven’t quite made the big purchase yet.  For me, the mid-tier would be Drip You – a more serious purchase for someone who wants to go to the next level.
  • The highest level might be a larger purchase that requires a longer sales cycle and more persuasion to get the deal done.  For my business, this high-level offering would be becoming a private client where I work with you in depth on taking your business to the next level.

Each of these levels represents a stepping stone and it’s a natural progression to move your clients towards that elusive superfan position.  With those levels established, you can now start to apply the Superfan Formula.

The Superfan Formula

This formula is going to significantly increase your client retention and convert clients into superfans that remain loyal to your brand over the long haul.  Work through this three-step formula:

1. Come up with some swag packages for your low-level clients.

Ideally these should be quite inexpensive as you’re going to be sending a lot more of these to more clients.  Personally I like stickers and pins, but don’t let your imagination be limited here.  Think out of the box and find some brand-relevant swag at a low cost to put into the lower-level swag packages.

2. Come up with swag packages for our mid-tier clients.

You’re going to want to up your game a little bit more here as they’re paying you a bit more money.  You want to give them a bit nicer stuff.  A good example here is to go with a branded coffee mug or a hat.  Of course, these cost you a little bit more money – but it’s worth it because they’re a more valuable client for you.  It just makes sense.

3. Come up with swag packages for the highest-level clients.

This is where you go all out.  They are the most valuable clients for your business and so they deserve a bit extra.  Here’s where you turn away from swag and you try to find them something unique.  Go onto their social media and try to figure out what they like.  Then you can organize a custom gift that is going to show that you are thoughtful and you are paying them special attention.  This needs to be based on their unique interests.

As an example, I had a client a while back who loved to take his family to Disney World.  I saw on Facebook that he posted a picture of his family at Disney World so I went and printed that out, framed it, and put it on his desk.  He was ecstatic with the gift because it was personalized and thoughtful.  It blew his mind and made me stand out above the rest.

If you do want to send something branded, you can create a custom box to hold that custom gift.  That way you deliver something unique but still attach it to the brand that you’re trying to build.

In conclusion, by implementing this swag strategy according to the level of your clients – you’ll find that you can improve your customer retention and wow your clients time and time again.  Before you know it, they’ll be a superfan of your brand for life.


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