Customer loyalty programs are the art of rewarding existing customers in an organic manner with a view to encouraging repeat business. It is more effective and time-efficient compared to acquisition. A brand that has a loyal customer base earns better repute and can gain leadership in their market.
- Develop A Branding Strategy
Customers are not simply buying products. They become emotionally attached to brands. It is important to develop this emotional connection. It becomes effective in curbing customer churn. It is not very expensive to develop a branding strategy. A simple research of your target market will give you the required insights for brand positioning.
Customers will be prevented from defecting to the competition when they develop affinity towards your brand. Selling new products and gaining market share for them become easier with a strong branding strategy in place. Sharing brand news, technology based customer profiling and showcasing brand value through social media are all ways to position your brand and increase loyalty.
- Create Personalized Experiences
Personalization is much more than sending a mere birthday wish, with the first name of the customer mentioned. For the customer to appreciate the preferential treatment, the business extends for his loyalty, you need to make his experiences with your brand more personalized. Technology comes of immense use. Almost every loyalty software app comes with capabilities to track and monitor user behaviour online. This valuable data can be an asset to customer loyalty programs.
When you know what your customer has liked in the past, it is possible to become proactive and offer highly relevant experience for customers. For example, in the case of an online buyer of philosophy related books, customer loyalty is enhanced when welcoming the customer next time with personalized recommendations of books on the same subject.
- Educate And Empower Customers
You brand value increases when you show that your business does more than just selling of goods and services. The new paradigm digital marketing believes in pulling customers towards its product rather than pushing it down their throats. When your business takes important steps to publish high quality content that is both relevant and useful, then it educated customers. Adding industry-relevant content that is up-to-date and well-researched, makes it engaging for customers. When customers come back to your website, they become confident when the business is able to provide objective and unbiased information. Blogging, article writing and news letter circulation are all excellent ways of creating customer engagement. Loyal customers can become influential brand advocates and carry the brand message to newer markets as well.
- Under-Promise But Over-Deliver
Customers love surprises. When you promise that their preferred shipment will reach them in 5 days, but actually ensure that it reaches in 3 days, brand loyalty is instantly cultivated. However, in the greed to earn brand repute overnight many businesses commit the mistake of over-promising and under-delivering. The same can apply to customer queries as well. This is the reason why customer care executives give a longer time limit for solving queries and actually get them sorted in a much shorter time. This simple strategy works, keeping in mind, buyer behaviour and satisfaction.
- Relate Loyalty Membership To Savings
Show customers how much they have saved in clear, tangible and quantified terms, because of their brand loyalty. Despite all the PR on your customer loyalty programs, customers need to be reminded in concrete terms of what’s there for them in the process. Relate loyalty based membership to the savings made. This will encourage them to make more purchases in order to move to the next tier of the loyalty program, which extends more savings.
In addition to communicating them existing savings, project their future purchases and convey how much they would have saved in year by doing business with your brand. It is also worthwhile to compare loyalty programs of your competitors and show how yours is more lucrative for customers. When customers begin to realize the value-addition brought about by their re-purchases, they become permanent customers.
- Support A Cause
Cause related marketing directly increases the level of customer satisfaction experienced with the business. Supporting a greener earth, efforts to conserve natural resources and contributing a nominal amount from sales for charity are some simple measures to improve loyalty. Customers will find it highly self-satisfying to get associated with a business that supports a social cause. They also feel proud in associating themselves with other existing customers and bond together as a socially conscious community.
Even small businesses can successfully adopt this as customer loyalty programs, by implementing simple ideas like charity contribution or creation of awareness on social issues, to mention a few. Bettering the society is also the responsibility of businesses. Socially responsible growth can trigger customer loyalty naturally.
- Up- Selling And Cross-Selling
Up selling happens when you approach a customer with a recommendation to go in for a product of higher value. By setting forth the comparative advantages of the product, you can demonstrate the long-term savings of the customer, by investing a little more today. Cross-selling is the process of selling related goods to an existing customer. When a customer has purchased a shoe, to sell him shoe cleaner or polisher is easier. By making more purchases from the same brand, the loyalty quotient increases. From the side of the business, it leads to increased sales and better brand repute. Cross-selling also happens when the required product is not in stock and you suggest customers to go in for related versions of the product, explaining how best the product can serve customer requirements.
In these days of fierce competition in the virtual landscape, customer loyalty programs are the key to survival. They can make businesses earn a sustainable ROI, even in the short-run. Customer loyalty plans mentioned above will suit the budget of even small business that can readily action these value-added endeavours.