Whether you're a restaurant owner with regulars that come in at least once a week or a plumber with customers that always call or recommend you for repair needs, every type of business can benefit from customer loyalty. In fact, it can cost up to five times more to attract new customers than it does to keep existing customers coming back. Loyal customers can also help businesses increase their profits, growth, and brand advocacy. Even if your business offers a one-time service or product, you can still market in a way that increases the chance for those customers to come back again in the future!
So how do you go about gaining loyal customers? Check out some of our favorite loyalty marketing tips to help you develop your strategy for growing and keeping a loyal customer base.
This is one of the simplest ways to gain repeat customers. Think of your favorite coffee shop's punch card program, where you buy 10 coffees and get the next one free. Or your favorite retail store's membership, that gives you access to special discounts and sales other customers don't get to participate in. Anything that rewards customers for their repeat business and encourages brand loyalty can become a loyalty program.
Loyalty programs come in all shapes and sizes too, so it's not hard to find one that works for your business. Some of our favorites include: refer a friend, points programs, and email lists. The best part about loyalty programs is you don't have to spend out of your budget when it comes to the rewards! Offering that free item after so many purchases, or a discount on an annual service for repeat customers is an easy and effective way to secure that loyalty.
Customers like to know you're listening to what they have to say and that feedback is an easy way to figure out where your business needs to make improvements. The challenge with customer feedback is most will only provide it when they're unsatisfied—unless you encourage them to leave a review or comment. This can be in the form of a quick survey or just asking for a Google or Facebook review. Be sure to interact with those reviews! Comment back or send a follow-up of some kind to let your customers know you noticed their feedback. When you take the time to invest in your customers, it increases the chance that they'll invest in your business.
An added bonus to customer feedback is the potential for customer referral! If you're looking for a new hair salon, odds are you'll ask your friends where they go. If those friends had a good experience with a certain salon, they're more likely to recommend that business. Potential customers will also look at online reviews when making a decision, so having your loyal customers leave positive reviews could help you grow your business as well.
Communication is key in any successful relationship, and the relationship with your customers is no different. While responding to customer feedback is important, there's more to communication than that. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, interacting with customers in person is a great way to make a good impression and develop that loyal relationship. Regular emails with reminders of important dates and events like annual check-ups, oil change reminders, or even a big sale coming up are a great way to communicate with all of your customers. If you have social media, give your most loyal customers a shoutout! You could use them in an example for a product or service, or simply just say thank you for being a great customer. Either way, it makes your customers feel appreciated and shows potential customers that you value them.
When it comes down to it, creating loyal customers is all about showing you care about your customers as people. As long as you take the time to acknowledge how important they are to your business, you're sure to develop lasting relationships and make customers for life!