As the holiday that kicks off the holiday shopping season, marketing during Thanksgiving is extremely important when it comes to boosting your holiday sales. However, Thanksgiving is also the perfect time to build customer loyalty and show your customers that you support them during this exciting, but also potentially stressful, time.  It’s important that you let your customers know that you appreciate their business and that you wish them the best during the holiday season.

Building customer loyalty is important because you want your customers to remember you and keep coming back to you when they’re in need of your products or services. Cultivating a strong sense of brand loyalty in your customers will go a long way. Since Thanksgiving is all about showing your appreciation and giving back, it’s the perfect time to focus on doing the same for your customers. Use the spirit of Thanksgiving to treat your customers and build goodwill that will last the rest of the holiday season, and maybe even the entire year.

Thanksgiving is a good time to get your brand in front of your customers, considering that Black Friday and Cyber Monday follow right behind and bring enormous sales potential. This can be achieved by sending messages of “thanks” through direct mail or email. A greeting card or postcard is a simple way to keep your potential customers thinking about your company, and lets them know their business is appreciated—which will serve as a reminder to your customers throughout this important shopping season.

Offering discounts that can be redeemed during the season, or a “friends and family” offer will help you tie in your marketing efforts to the holiday. Thanksgiving is a holiday that revolves around family, so having a family-oriented marketing strategy is perfect during this time. Take some time to think about how this can work with your holiday marketing strategy for your own company. Offering discounts that can be redeemed by multiple people, and shared within households, will help build customer loyalty because this will let customers know that you care about their family and their happiness during the holidays, while extending your sales potential.

Writing up helpful how-to articles or providing useful tips during Thanksgiving time is another good way to engage customers and hopefully aid them during the stressful holiday season. Many companies, like those that sell food-related products, offer up recipes that involve those products. However, you can get creative with this and find ways to tie-in your company to Thanksgiving festivities, even if your products or services aren’t directly related. Create a check-list about getting ready for the holidays, which might playfully include buying a new outfit from your clothing store. You can even send out a how-to article on ways to prepare for the holiday shopping season in general. If you engage your customers and help them out during this time, they’ll feel appreciated, which may help build valuable customer loyalty.

In the same vein as tips and how-to articles, newsletters and promotions will also help build customer loyalty. Sending out a simple newsletter that thanks your customers for their business throughout the year might cause them to stay loyal to your company, especially if some sort of no-strings-attached promotion is included. Give loyal customers a percentage off their next purchase or a coupon to redeem a free item. This will help customers keep your company in mind for the rest of the holiday season.

Remember, Thanksgiving isn’t all about sales. It’s a great time to thank your customers for their business and give them something in return for their loyalty. Thanksgiving is the time to set the tone for the rest of the holiday season, and prepare for the busy days after. If you can build customer loyalty during Thanksgiving, your customers will follow you throughout the rest of the year, and keep you in the front of their minds. Feel free to focus on sales for Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but set aside Thanksgiving for customer appreciation.