With the holidays approaching, it's the perfect time to share the spirit of generosity with the people who bring value to your business – your customers. When it comes to gaining customer loyalty, gift-giving goes a long way.

Gifts are a great way to retain customers and gain new ones. For instance, 70% of customers will recommend your business to others if they receive gifts. This illustrates just how meaningful and powerful gift-giving is as a relationship-building tool in business. However, the investment in customer loyalty is often neglected by businesses, and customers notice. Many of them think a little more effort can be made. So, it's time to give the people what they want – a little appreciation!

However, what gifts excite customers? What makes them want to stick around for you and your business? Check out these gifts ideas that customers will get excited about, and in turn, also your brand:

1. Thank you messages – and make it personal

The most straightforward way to show gratitude is to, well, say thank you! A personalized email can go a long way in touching base with customers and letting them know you appreciate them. Be sure to address your customers by name and make it about them and their impact on your company. The more you tailor it to them, the more engagement there will be, which generates more goodwill towards your business.

2. Give the gift of the spotlight

Show how much you value your customers by highlighting them on your platform. This is a great way to not only brag about the people you serve, but also create content that they'll engage with. Ask your customers to submit stories, photos, fun posts to share on your social media pages or email newsletter. You can suggest a certain theme (Ex: Submit your best ugly Christmas sweaters) or prompt a question. A simple repost can go a long way to attract engagement and maintain a good relationship with customers.

3. Build a customer loyalty program

Why not make gift-giving part of your business year-round? A customer loyalty program is a great way to create long-lasting relationships with customers and reward them for their patronage. Loyal customers are more likely to spend more than new customers, so gift-giving is a win-win for you and your customers. However, setting up a loyalty program is a costly endeavor, so be sure to understand the details of designing one from the get-go. With a program, you'll have a reliable system in place that will attract and retain customers.

4. Free swag

Just like a family with matching holiday pajamas, you and your customers can sport the latest company swag – clothes, stickers, mugs, blankets and more -- together. Such gifts invite customers to participate in the brand identity. Plus, it's no secret that customers enjoy receiving free stuff the most. The more personalized and special the gifts are, the better. Unique items, like funny sunglasses or fanny packs, can stand out and make memorable gifts.

5. Free deals and discounts

What better gift than the service you already provide, but for free? This gift is something you know will delight customers that already find value in your product. While great service is expected, giving the same service for free is appreciated. Such benevolence is bound to make customers feel only the best about your brand.

6. Host a holiday party!

Nothing creates a sense of community and connection like a fun Christmas party! This season, you can organize an event for customers to build gingerbread houses, try their brain at holiday trivia, or watch a festive movie. You can also bring out the complimentary snacks and drinks to show your appreciation. A party – whether in-person or online – is a personable way to nourish relationships and create moments they'll remember.

7. Giveaways

Trivia games, social media posts, and raffles are a couple of ways to run a giveaway event. The chance to win something free – whether it's company swag, exclusive offers and experiences, or simply free service – can engage and excite your customers. A giveaway is all about giving, but it's also a surefire way to get product exposure, social media engagement and growth.

Build customer loyalty this season

Don't be a Scrooge this season, or you'll lose out on the benefits that come from gift-giving: customer loyalty, growth and goodwill. Furthermore, it's important to step outside of transactional thinking and be earnest about your appreciation – your customers can sense your intentions. Showing genuine appreciation and generosity will return tenfold in time. Invest in your customers, and you'll invest in the future of your business.