Customer loyalty is imperative to business success. While it is plausible for marketers to spend most of their energy and resources looking for new customers, you cannot overlook the importance of your current customer base.
A report by Havas shows that 77 percent of brands could go to the wall overnight, and customers wouldn’t be fazed. That not only highlights the competitive nature of today’s markets thanks to the ongoing digital migration but also shows how complacent businesses get after that first successful transaction with a customer. As already pointed out, digitalism has made it extremely easy for customers to find alternatives and forget they ever did business with you. You have to do more than just provide superior services to keep them attached. You ought to give them more reasons to stay and remember your name the next time they are looking for a service you offer. These five straightforward tips will help you create a much-sought-after emotional connection with your customer base and complement your existing marketing strategy:
1. Recognize your loyal customers on social media
Rewarding loyalty doesn’t always mean spending money on gifts. Some customers just want to be recognized on social media by the brand they trust. One way to do it is to react and reply to fans’ comments on your posts and even go over to their timelines and react to their photos. You can also publish special posts and mention your loyal customers on a sporadic basis or on specific days such as weekends. The process may prove time-consuming, but it is bound to deliver the goods if executed properly.
2. Introduce Milestones
The loyalty marketing strategy where customers collect points and get awarded for them is an old but very effective one. You can create a system where every successful transaction earns customer points and puts them in a position to win certain awards. Ideally, attach bigger awards to high point tallies, so customers are determined to shop more and reach the top-most milestones. For instance, you can introduce 500-, 1000-, and 5000-point milestones, where prizes in the 1000-to-5000-point category are of greater value than those in the 500-1000 group and less valuable than those in the level above. Rewards can be anything, from t-shirts to electronics, but it would add to your marketing efforts if you offer items from your product line instead.
3. Offer loyalty discounts
Discounts have been shown to work wonders when it comes to retaining customers. You can slap loyalty discounts on some of your products, and lower prices gradually as customers continue doing business with you. For example, if you are selling a makeup product that goes for $100, you can introduce a 5 percent discount on the second purchase of the same product, an 8 percent discount on the third purchase, and a 10 percent discount on all subsequent purchases. If you offer a small range of related products, you can make the program applicable across all purchases, such that a customer will still qualify for the discount regardless of what they bought from you previously.
That said, be sure to have your short and long term business objectives in mind when designing discount programs. Customer loyalty should bring with it increased revenue, and it would be unwise to achieve loyalty at the expense of your core objectives.
4. Offer gifts
There is a reason businesses have been dishing out gifts for years, even if there is no direct financial gain in doing so. Gifts come both as a show of benevolence and a way to keep customers reminded that you exist and they have purchased from you before. You may be surprised at the sheer number of customers that don’t come back to your store simply because they forgot your business name.
Providing free items, such as t-shirts with your brand name and other basic business details inscribed on it, is one way to reward your customers while subtly engraving yourself in their memory. Just make sure you don’t compromise your revenue goals by being too generous or spending insane amounts of money obtaining gifts. If, for instance, you want to be giving out t-shirts, it would be cheaper to acquire printing services from an external source than doing all the work – including installing, learning to use, and maintaining the costly and space-consuming printing machines – by yourself. Bulk-buying would also be a great way to lower the cost of obtaining the items.
5. Personalize your interactions
Keeping track of the needs of all your customers is no child’s play, but why not go through the hassle if it promises to pay off? Loyalty can only be achieved if there is an underlying trust-based relationship holding you together. By personalizing interactions, you are making customers feel valued, and chances are they will want to reciprocate the energy.
According to a 2019 Monetate study, 93 percent of brands that followed a meticulous personalization strategy recorded an increase in revenue. So, yes, it works, and anything with a 93 percent success rate is surely worth a try. Here are a few easy ways to go about personalization:
- Use names in marketing emails and other messages sent to customers
- Evaluate customer behavior and put out persona-driven content
- Reply to each customer personally, especially on social media
- Adopt as many communication channels as possible, so you can engage with various customers on their preferred lines
The Bottom Line
The most valuable things are the hardest to come by. You are never getting customer loyalty by simply doing what everyone else is. Almost every niche is chockfull with genuine entrepreneurs who are just as good as you, from the service provision standpoint, at least. These can easily snatch your customers and, in doing so, cancel out some of your marketing efforts.
There is nothing wrong with hunting for new prospects on the internet, social media, and the streets, but retaining your current customers is just as important. The above tips can help you build trust and create a lasting bond with people you have already worked with. Complement that with superior services and watch your sales soar without breaking the bank for it.