It’s that time of year again!

Love is in the air and people everywhere anxiously await hearing those three magic little words…you’ve got mail.

Well, maybe not those three words exactly, but Valentine’s Day reminds all of us that it wouldn’t hurt to focus on our relationships and express our love more often.

For most small business owners, knowing that relationships matter is far from a revolutionary idea but today it is more important than ever. Relationships—whether personal or business—take work and need constant nurturing.

Fortunately, as a small business owner, you already possess the keys to your customers’ hearts.

Key #1: You know your customers in a way that big businesses don’t

As a small business owner, you may know your customer’s name, their favorite order, or their Twitter handle. Because of this, you have the ability to add that personal touch that solidifies a memory of your interaction.

Take your relationship to the next level: The inbox is a one-to-one, intimate space. Write to your email contacts like you would to your valentine. Provide your customers with recommendations that suit their individual needs by segmenting your contact list. Survey your readers about what they want to get out of your relationship and customize your content based on their needs. By adding the personal touch that big businesses lack, you can create an experience that brings value to your customers and fosters loyalty faster than Cupid.

Key #2: You control the experience

If you make your interactions with your customers as special as Valentine’s Day—every day—they’re sure to be a loyal valentine.

Take your relationship to the next level: A special experience doesn’t have to be an elaborate marketing scheme. Sometimes, it’s as simple as showing people you care.

Key #3: You care about your customers

When you care about your customers, your relationships are sure to flourish.

Take your relationship to the next level: Express your love for your customers by showing appreciation and saying thank you. You can express your love for your customers in the following ways…

  • Send a heartfelt email (it doesn’t need to be for Valentine’s Day!) to loyal customers that expresses your appreciation for their business in the past. As a token of love, offer these ‘best customers’ a special perk, a coupon, or an exclusive piece of content.
  • Share the love: Say thanks to new or loyal followers on Twitter in a “Follow Friday” tweet. This is a tweet that includes the hashtag #ff or #followfriday and the Twitter handles of individuals you love.
  • Put the focus on your customers. Thank fans on Facebook by hosting a ‘Facebook Fan Page Friday.” In a Facebook post, invite your fans to share a link to their Facebook business page as a comment on the post. Or feature customer’s successes or testimonials on social media or in your newsletter.
  • Record a short video (you can even use your smartphone) that expresses your affection for your customers and post it on your social channels. Using a video is an easy way to make your message feel more personal.

Key #4: Your customers do some of the marketing for you

Your current customers are your best source of new business because they end up marketing your business for you through word-of-mouth. Small businesses know that repeat customers and loyalty are the best parts of having relationships in the first place. You get to know your customers and they become personally invested in your business.

Take your relationship to the next level: Make your relationships last by rewarding the customers who keep coming back with a frequent buyer’s card or loyalty program. Don’t forget to also say thank you (see above)!

No one is going to put more into a relationship than you

Work to understand the deeper needs of your customers and your love will never be sweeter. Business relationships require care and by understanding how to express your love, you can build relationships that last.

Although we only celebrate Valentine’s Day once a year, showing your customers you love them should happen year all year long!

What additional ways do you show your customers some love? Tell us in the comments below.