Ep. 96: Increase Referrals with These Appreciation Marketing Ideas (with Joe Kenemore)


Joe Kenemore is the CEO of BannerSeason, a new platform that helps professionals stay in touch with personalized gifts. As the former CMO/COO of SendOutCards, he’s already empowered countless businesses to connect with their most valued clients.

Today on Stay Paid, Joe discusses the power of appreciation marketing for driving referrals and repeat transactions.

Key Points:

  • When you don’t stay in touch with your clients, they do business with someone else.
  • It’s more cost-effective to get more business from the people you already know than from total strangers.
  • Personal gifts are more powerful than emails when it comes to maintaining relationships with clients.

Q: Introduce yourself to our audience.

I started out in the United States Navy. After getting out of the military, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I worked a few jobs and felt I needed to do my own thing—hence my love for being an entrepreneur.

By working in network marketing, I learned what relationships were all about. I worked for Encore Productions as an executive producer. After that, I started my own company, Cache Media Works, which is still in business today. That business dealt with getting a lot of people’s attention at once. While there, I was approached by someone from SendOutCards who needed my help.

I did a couple video projects and got a good understanding of what they were doing. So many entrepreneurs are so afraid to pick up the phone and build relationships. But you need to go with proven tactics and systems, and make it work.

Q: Tell us about BannerSeason.

BannerSeason opened its doors on January 1 of this year, and we’ve been doing phenomenally well ever since. We’re a customer engagement platform that specializes in helping entrepreneurs with retention, referrals, and relationships.

This is a struggle for every entrepreneur, no matter what business you’re in. There’s a mental block when it comes to appreciation marketing and what can happen when you practice it.

I’ve purchased eight homes in my life, and I’ve yet to hear back from one of the agents I’ve worked with. This just guarantees I’m going to go with someone else the next time. I want to help entrepreneurs so they don’t struggle to create relationships, retain clients, and get referrals.

Q: How do you coach your clients to build relationships?

Banner Season is like a high-touch drip campaign with personalized items—it could be brownies, a greeting card, or really anything else.

We have created something that works for anybody, regardless of how much business they’re doing. It helps you keep you top of mind when your clients want to make a purchase. These campaigns that we have created—with the help of writers and designers who understand the market—started with the philosophy of having regular touchpoints.

You just want to reach out and touch someone in a place other than their inbox. There’s a place for an email. But, with my platform, I can get someone’s attention when I want it. When you send a package to someone’s mailbox, you have a 100 percent open rate, as opposed to an 11 percent open rate through email.

Q: What are some of the other products you offer?

We have quite a few offerings. For example, we have a tape measure that goes out with a card—the third card in a series—that asks, “How do we measure up?” It has the names of the professional and the client, and it actually asks for referrals.

Q: Why don’t more people do this kind of outreach?

So many entrepreneurs think they’re too busy, and that they don’t have time for appreciation marketing.

I see all these salespeople out beating bushes, and there’s so much gold in your own Rolodex. All you need to do is open it up and decide who you want a relationship with today.

I did a presentation a few months ago for a network marketing company. Before the presentation, I took two people from the audience and added them as friends on Facebook. Then, I created about 10 different personalized gifts. I asked those people to sit onstage, about 20 feet apart. During my presentation, I had gifts delivered to one person every few minutes, while the other person got nothing.

The person who got the gifts was brought to tears in front of everyone. It was a clear message about the power of appreciation. If you’re going to do something, do it right.

Q: Which routines have driven success for you?

I really like keeping my fingers on the pulse of what’s going on, whether it be with other companies or my affiliates. A lot of entrepreneurs think they’re Steve Jobs, and they’re going to know what people need. This happens to a lot of companies, and they have to step back and realize it’s what the customers or affiliates think that’s important.

Teaching is a big deal, too. We need to make sure people understand who we are and what we represent. It’s not about money. It’s about helping entrepreneurs to open their minds and create relationships. Once you’ve gone down that road, you can’t go back. When you have relationships like that in your business, they’re like friends.

Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?

The younger Joe was a very pragmatic version of what you’re looking at now. He would step on people’s toes to get what he wanted. If I were to go talk to younger Joe, I would tell him that relationships matter a whole lot in business—and they’re forever.

Action Items:

  • Create a list of all your clients and their birthdays. When their birthdays arrive, do something nice for each of them.

Connect with Joe:


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