Five Ways To Build Customer Loyalty

Strategy

Welcome back to Viral Octopus Magazine’s knowledge series. The previous article in this series discussed the concept of putting your customers first to enhance brand loyalty and lifetime customer value. Obviously, having a great product and great service that are designed around your customers is a good starting point. But what else can you do to increase customer loyalty? Let’s look at five specific tactics that you can use to build customer loyalty.    

Loyalty Programs

Where is your lowest potential cost per sale? There is a very good chance it is with your existing customers. Research indicates that acquiring a new customer may typically cost five times as much as retaining an existing customer. Loyalty programs are widely regarded as one of the most effective ways to retain customers and encourage additional purchases.    Loyalty programs track customer purchases and offer increasing high rewards for higher purchase volumes. For instance, a sandwich shop might offer customers loyalty cards that will be marked every time the customer purchases a sandwich. After a certain number of purchases, the customer gets a reward, for instance, a free sandwich.    You can take this idea quite a bit further and reward customers for all kinds of activities that you believe will build loyalty and drive further sales. For instance, convincing a customer to make a referral is a worthy goal in its own right for the sake of the sale to the new customer. But it’s likely that the process of recruiting the new customer for you and getting a reward will further bond the first customer and enhance their loyalty and lifetime customer value too.    Bonus tip: Give a few “free points” or very easy to earn points to encourage people to join the loyalty program by making an easy first step that points towards a significant real future value.   

Be Consistent And Available

Your customers will have a hard time developing a sense of loyalty to your company if your company does not have a fixed identity. They will also have a hard time coming to love you if you don’t meet them where they want to be met. Strive for a consistent omni-channel presence, so that wherever your potential customers look for you, they will find you, and your identity will be consistent. Depending on the channel and touch point, you may choose to nuance your presentation for the context and the expected audience. So variation between channels is ok, if there is a good reason for it, but start with a default policy of consistency across channels.  With more and more ways to reach customers, it may not be possible to cover every possibility. Find out where your potential customers are and find a way to meet them there. Make sure that if they want to, they can easily move from one context to another and experience a reassuringly consistent brand identity and message.   

Reach Out On Special Occasions

You might think holiday messages and birthday greetings for your customers are cheesy and insincere seeming. In that case, maybe you should get a better copywriter. Studies show most customers appreciate companies that “remember” customer’s birthdays and send them greetings. You’ll need to collect that birthday first, so offer an incentive and then deliver. For example, offer your customers points for your loyalty program if they provide their birthday and email. Then send them a happy birthday email with a surprise discount and watch the loyalty grow with a measurable increase in purchases.    

Engage Socially

Surveys show the majority of consumers feel that social media helps them engage with brands. You may or may not choose to attempt to drive sales directly on Facebook and Twitter, but either way, you need to be on social media where your customers can talk to you. If you want to cultivate loyalty, you need to help your customers feel they know you, and that you know them. You can encourage social media activity that builds a bond by offering points in your loyalty program for taking particular actions on social media.   

Ask Your Customers What They Want And Give It To Them

One might think “this goes without saying”. It is pretty obvious. And yet, many businesses fail to build a strategy around this simple principle. If you try to improve your products and your processes to please your customers without talking to them first, you are taking a shot in the dark. Get feedback! Complaints are a present. When a customer complains, they are alerting you to an opportunity for improvement. But you need to go past complaints and find ways to proactively solicit opinions. Find out what people think about their experience with your company. What did they like? What did they dislike? Now that you know, revise your processes and your products to serve your customers better. If you are loyal to them and put their needs first, they will be loyal to you.     

Use These Digital Marketing Tips!

You came here for ideas about building customer loyalty. We hope, obvious as some of these concepts are, that seeing them laid out clearly will inspire you to take action. Great ideas amount to approximately nothing unless you act on them. So take these insights, form your great idea, and put it into action!    If you are interested, you can read more free articles in VO magazine on a wide range of digital marketing tactics and strategies. Please join the Viral Octopus collective and share and discuss your results with others who are striving for excellence.

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