There's no way around it  your customers are your company's lifeblood. Without them, your business would be a product with no revenue. Your lifelong entrepreneurial dream would instantly transform from a game-changing vision into a shriveled dream deferred.

It's your customers who drive your success. That’s why you’ve got to give back and show your gratitude. When was the last time you thanked a customer for choosing you?

Go beyond the thank you emails and promotional codes that currently flood the market. Be kind, give value, add an element of surprise, and be memorable. We know what you're thinking, that's customer service 101, right? You'd be surprised at how many companies just don't get it!

Check out these fun ways to thank your customers:

1. Give Props via Social Media and Blogs

Blogging and social media tools are more than just marketing platforms. They're communities for telling fun stories, distributing resources, showcasing your customers, and sharing tips and trends.

Case studies, shout-outs, newsletter mentions, tweets, shares, and interviews are invaluable ways to give out exposure. If your company has built a substantial presence through blogging and social media, share the love with your customers who, like you, would love the opportunity for public recognition. Every little bit helps!

At Grasshopper, we love to collect customer stories. We do this to seek feedback, so we can make tangible improvements to our products and services. We also do it to get to know our customers so we can help them get press, something that is increasingly difficult to get. After Alex Hoffman told us his story, we featured his experience as a young entrepreneur on our blog.

Dormestics Alex Hoffman

2.  Host Educational Events, Create Webinars, and Write eBooks

Business owners, marketers, and executives all have a relentless passion for learning. All sorts of companies encounter a range of questions through their customer service channels. People are edging to learn, and you can be the teacher.

Explore some common questions in your industry, and see if you can find ways to answer them using resources like videos, lectures, eBooks, or webinars. If your company's CEO is a lawncare expert, ask them to host a talk with tips for fellow landscapers. As an added touch, open up the floor with questions in real-time.

Shopify, a platform for creating online stores, has done an excellent job of this with their Ecommerce University. The site has tons of informative eBooks, and hosts numerous discussions about topics such as payments, taxes, crowdfunding, drop shipping and more. They even have an off-topic discussion for people who want to give advice about art classes in Austin.

Shopify Message

Leverage your expertise to become an active leader in the community. Focus on giving back, not earning more.

3.  Add Surprise and Flattery

After someone does a favor for you and your brand, it’s best to thank them, but don’t let that be the only time you give customers love. Surprise your customers when they do small things, too, like mentioning you on social media or posting about you in their blog. Heck, surprise them just for fun.

If you see a customer tweet about their love for your product, send them swag they can wear proudly, like t-shirts and hats. That’s what SkinnyPop did for the team at Grasshopper after Allison Canty sent them a tweet:

I have a hard time believing @theskinnypop only has 3 ingredients. Its SO good. I'm totally addicted.

— Ali Canty (@AliCanty) March 13, 2013

Best Friday surprise ever! Thanks for @theskinnypop swag...we're huge fans at @grasshopper!!…

— Ali Canty (@AliCanty) April 12, 2013

Give your customers something when they least expect it — free product upgrades, rebates, discounts or gifts with handwritten notes via snail mail. Instead of sending branded swag or a box of chocolates, consider sending something personal. If you know a customer loves their golden retriever, send them some gourmet treats for their pup.

When people feel as though you’re treating them as an individual, it’s a huge compliment. Who doesn’t like to be flattered?

Final Thoughts: Be Genuine

If you genuinely care about your customers, it will show. Be yourself. Don't do something just because some other company did it. Think carefully about your brand and its customers. That way, you can find ways to creatively thank loyal followers.

Whatever you do, be personable and genuine— kindness and sincerity are powerful forces.

What are some ways you've thanked your customers? How about ways companies and individuals have thanked you?

If you're a Grasshopper customer, tell us your story here.