Does it hurt that much to write Thank You – and mean it?

thank you,thanking,business,writing,bloggingIs saying a personal “thank you” to followers, commenters, likers, etc. on social media a good thing, or a bit of a pain the in backside? Does a personal message, written personally (as opposed to an automated one) tell people that you and your business are still small enough – or savvy enough – to care, truly, about the individual?

Or do you think that personalized messages tell people that you are not Coca Cola and so because you have the time to write personalized messages your business must be a miserable little nonentity?

Or do those same personal messages tell recipients that no matter how big and important you and your business might be, you care enough about their input to say a proper, personal thank you rather than shoot them a robotic message with either no name on it, or theirs spelled wrong?

About 10 years ago the lovely Deremiah and I (who both were contributing a lot to MarketingProfessionals in those days) had long online discussions about doing something … perhaps an eBook, full-length book, tutorial, or whatever … based on his belief in “The Power Of Thank You” which I thought was superb, and very apposite.

What happened to the power of “thank you?”

Apart from the 10 years or so that Deremiah and I have been busy on other stuff, not much.

I haven’t actually asked Deremiah on his views about this recently but I hope he will catch this article and share an update on what he thinks about the continuing need for any of us – and I mean, any of us from sole traders to Proctor and Gamble – to thank people.

For what? For bothering to notice us, appreciate us, compliment us, share us, recommend us and everything else that they have no need whatsoever to do other than because they appreciate what we are, what we do, and what we stand for.

Just because someone follows you doesn’t mean they will buy your services

I’m often amused when someone follows me on Twitter, when I get an auto-responder “great to meet you, check out my site and buy my stuff here” message in return. Some auto-responder messages offer me a discount or freebie.

Some even just say “hey, thanks for the follow. Have a nice day.” But because I know the message is an automatic action by a machine triggered by another machine, I’m not impressed.

OK, if you are Kelloggs or General Motors the physical workload here is not a realistic proposition for personal responses written by humans. Bearing in mind that most people in the western world have grown up with those brands which are now firmly tattooed in their brains, so be it.

But for those of us running somewhat more modest businesses, let’s not get precious here. If we are to develop good, healthy relationships with customers and prospects – something social media is there to facilitate provided we get it right – why, oh why, do so many people ruin their chances of getting any further into the “sales funnel” by being rude?

Saying “thank you” takes mere seconds, but can be worth weeks

Thanking someone personally for their share, like, endorsement, etc., can make a huge difference to the way they perceive you and your business.

Yes, yes, it doesn’t mean that they will automatically jump to your shopping cart and buy you out of every goodie you have on your inventory.

Don’t forget what the gurus say about it taking at least 6 (or is it 7?) “opportunities to view” for a customer to make up their mind on whether or not to do business with you. Your personal “thank you” will act very much as one of those “opportunities” … possibly even qualifying for two or more, especially if you continue the dialogue with that person in a similar vein.

Other ways to say “thank you”

Saying thank you isn’t restricted to an online message. Depending on your type of business, there are other ways you can say thank you for contacts, shares, repeat orders, recommendations and other needs for gratitude. Here are a couple of ideas for starters …

Flowers, chocolates, wine, spa days etc. as a gift: great if appropriate. Make sure a note goes with the gift with a personalized message, thanking the recipient for whatever.

Note in the mail: hey, handwriting is back! A client of mine recently rediscovered (on my recommendation) a wonderful way to engage with her relatively small number of corporate clients. This was by alternating email communications with handwritten postcards and printed letters with handwritten salutations and signature, thanking them for their custom (and of course reminding them that their repeat business would be a good idea…)

Occasion cards: get to know your customers’ and prospects’ key dates and send them a card for their birthday, wedding anniversary, etc., thanking them for their support and business.

1-on-1 invitations: useful only on a local basis, but useful nonetheless. Invite happy customers/clients to a celebratory lunch, weekend or school holiday event for families, gala dinner, coffee morning, etc.

OK – get the picture? Say “thank you!”

Seriously, too many people these days fail to value outbound gratitude, especially if it’s expected of them. Don’t fall into that trap if you’re running a business.

A sincere, personal “thank you” costs little or nothing but is worth its weight in gold in our competitive online and offline environments.

How do you use the opportunity to thank customers and prospects within your own marketing mix? Please share in the comments here…

A version of this article was first published on LinkedIn.




  1. Hello Suzan! It takes just a few seconds to say thank you and it means so much why not just do it. Great post!

    • Hi Vashti – thanks for dropping by. And you have hit the nail on the head – it’s often a case that it takes longer to be rude than it does to be polite! So those who say they haven’t time really are on a hiding to nothing. Glad you liked the article.

  2. I wrote a post recently on saying thank you but I didn’t address the issue of doing it in social media. You’ve done a great job of it here.

    I believe that you should say thank you to everyone, everywhere, after everything and all the time 🙂

    • Saying thank you certainly is important, Trudy. Courtesy doesn’t cost but can buy credibility and likeability.

      For example, recently I have started thanking everyone who endorses me on LinkedIn, despite the fact that many people sneer at those LI endorsements and say they’re a waste of time.

      Well, the goodwill that my thanking people for endorsing me is generating is quite noticeable, and has helped to strengthen a number of my relationships with contacts on LI.

      Thanking people pays, and for the right reasons.