Customer loyalty is vital for long-term brand success. Most business comes from existing customers who tend to spend more at businesses that they trust. Marketing to new shoppers tends to be more difficult and more expensive than to past shoppers. Along with marketing to prospective customers, there has to be a balance along with appealing to loyal buyers. These types of strategies are known as loyalty marketing and have been in the mainstream for decades!
More about loyalty marketing
Loyalty marketing is defined by strategies that focus on keeping and growing a repeat customer base. But there has to be something offered in return. Incentives can look like tangible rewards, enhanced experiences, or stronger relationships with a brand or community. The objective is to create more engagement between customers and your business so both parties to gain a profit. Why is this so important?
These people already know your brand and products/services, meaning you can cut straight to selling a product or service. Because repeat customers will provide the majority of profits for your business, it’s necessary to direct communication and incentives toward them for continued business.
On the other hand: what repeat customers are worth marketing to? Well, these people can be more than someone who makes repeat purchases. The ideal loyal customer also provides feedback/reviews, follows your company on multiple platforms, and is an overall brand ambassador. Hopefully, these people are overall satisfied with your business, brand, and services to keep them coming back for more. If you want to increase your pool of loyal customers or wish your regulars appeared more faithful to your brand, this list is made for you! Here are six loyalty marketing techniques to keep these customers for longer:
- Outstanding customer service
- Customer relationships via social media
- Email marketing incentives
- Loyalty programs
- Previews of program rewards
- Referral programs
Outstanding customer service
Loyalty marketing is about building trust, which is why having outstanding customer service is key. For customers to be loyal, you need to offer a quality experience along with a quality service. Fantastic customer experiences are personalized and understanding of one’s needs to be met efficiently. An example of this is using a live chat or chatbot to solve common customer inquiries. There should be multiple dependable ways someone can reach out to your business for questions and concerns. Shoppers are going to be more loyal toward businesses that communicate promptly and reliably because they feel valued.
Customer relationships via social media
Social media is the ultimate tool for customer connections and brand promotion. But your social media presence shouldn’t only consist of ads and hard sales. Balance advertisements with content made for engagement and followers getting to know your brand. So what should customers gain from following your page? Reward followers for being loyal by providing up-to-date news on deals and exclusive social media promotions. Social media contests are another way for loyal customers to benefit from following your page while you get increased traffic and engagement.
As followers build relationships with your business online, you learn something about them at the same time. Social media engagement provides useful data to take advantage of when better understanding what regulars want from your business. You might also learn what’s important to customers by reading comments as feedback to different promotions. Build a connection with your audience by responding to feedback in a timely and brand-consistent manner.
Email marketing incentives
Just like social media followers, members of an email list receive incentives for their loyalty to a business. The most common email marketing incentives for customers are email-exclusive discounts, newsletters, and hearing about sales before anyone else. Keep in mind to not spam members with irrelevant content that would make them unsubscribe. Instead, make information relevant by personalizing content based on browsing history. Another reason to collect loyal patron’s emails is for sending satisfaction surveys. If survey emails are timed correctly, satisfied customers will give their valued feedback.
Possibly the most thorough and effective form of loyalty marketing is offering loyalty programs. Synchrony Financial found approximately 80% of American adults are registered for at least one loyalty program. Not all loyalty programs are created the same or meant for every industry. But suppose your industry is based on repeat transactions (clothing, cosmetics, dining, etc.). In that case, a loyalty program may be the next big way to reward regulars to make repeat purchases from your business. Here are just four types of loyalty programs:
- Point system: Customers earn points based on the dollar amount spent which they can redeem perks. Usually, points expire after a set period of time. It’s ideal for appealing to casual followers so that they don’t pay for increased benefits besides paying for merchandise.
- Tiered system: Customers can enter different tiers based on the spending milestones they meet. More valuable incentives are saved for members that spend the most on merchandise. This makes these members feel the most important to the company because of the exclusivity of higher tiers. This is also a way to gamify the shopping experiences they were already set on doing.
- Premium program: Customers pay a monthly/yearly premium for more valuable services and experiences from companies they are loyal to. One example of a premium program is Amazon Prime.
- Community program: By customers spending a certain amount on merchandise or paying a fee, they receive access to a like-minded, loyal community. Within this community, a business can host exclusive events or build an interface for these people to interact virtually.
Previews of program rewards
The only way for customers to sign up for a loyalty program is if they are aware of the program and its benefits. Advertising a loyalty program through social media and email promotions is only the first step. Just like you might receive free samples at the grocery store, give people a taste of what they are missing out on. This could be a free trial of a service like Spotify Premium or offering a partial discount if they sign up for the program. Draw customers in enough to have them wanting better incentives for being loyal to your business.
The other type of popular loyalty marketing program is referral programs. These give rewards to faithful customers to recommend your business to potential future customers. Recommendations from trustworthy people remain the most credible form of advertising. When shoppers share recommendations, the business offers them discounts or credit to redeem as a result. Loyal customers’ willingness to endorse your business to friends and family indicates trust and satisfaction in what you provide. The technique bonds you and new customers for less money and is easier than spending more on advertising directed at gaining new clients.
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