One of the first really great marketers I ever worked with was  Matt Michele. And although it has been almost twenty years since we worked together,  from time to time our paths still cross.

Although he writes primarily for an audience of contractors, his opinions and insights on marketing are relevant for all small business owners.

In a recent post about a trip to Starbucks he talks about the free cup of coffee he received when they were out of his favorite brand.  He suggest that other small business owners should adopt a similar strategy, and to do so, their regular price must be high enough to create a margin for customer service.  He asks:

Do you charge enough that you can afford to make a generous gesture from time to time?

He was using a Starbucks mug and the clerk clearly knew he was a “regular”.  Josh Bernoff argues passionately that you should go out of your way for “regular” customers.  He says:

If you’re seeking word of mouth, you should know who your best customers are . . . by name. You should be feeding them previews of new products, asking their opinion of features you’re considering, and finding out how they think to build marketing copy. You should get testimonials from them.

And you should provide places where can submit their own opinions, and others can see it — ratings and reviews, Facebook pages, community forums, or whatever it takes.

When was the last time you called a regular customer to check in, say thank you or send them a referral? Take care of your customers with more than good service, and they will take care of you .