Three easy ways you can quickly encourage customer loyalty this summer

While we’ve all taken a hit this spring, there are ways businesses can bounce back and welcome new or old customers into the fold. To help you on your way, we’ve gathered these three tips on loyalty marketing and ways you can retain customers.

  1. Find new fans with customer competitions
  2. Reward your regulars with a loyalty program
  3. Go the whole nine yards with company branding

Don’t let the pandemic get you down, let’s be positive and come out of it swinging with our customer retention strategies ready to go…

Top Tip #1: Find new fans with customer competitions

Customer experience is essential for retention, so why not kick off their experience with a potential gift? This kind of loyalty scheme or activity applies to those who are yet to reopen their doors and the lucky ones who are already back in business.

Yes, customer competitions are the cream of the crop for customer engagement when you’re a small business. And they often create lifelong brand fans. But it’s not all sunshine and roses. Out there amongst the genuine customers-to-be are the Compers. These are people who dedicate serious time to entering competitions and follow all the #FridayFreebie and #CompetitionTime hashtags to win items. Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but ideally, you want someone who will become a repeat customer or visit your website to win.

The easiest way to ensure that is to make sure your competition has a decent and (more importantly) relevant effort-to-prize ratio. How about instead of a simple ‘Like and share to win’ contest, you ask for a ‘Picture and a share to win’ or run a video contest? The former is great for coverage and widening your audience, but the latter also requires some effort and engagement with your company branding, which is what you want.

Other best practices of competitions include:

  • Make it last at least 25 days – don’t confine yourself and your audience to a few hours.
  • Launch it at the right time – the pandemic has messed this one up a bit, but usually, June or November are best for holidays and festivities.
  • If you’re accepting applications on social platforms, boost your conversion rates with social auto-fill.

Here’s a great how-to guide for setting up a competition, but just keep in mind it has to be a good experience for the customer as well as beneficial for you.

Top Tip #2: Reward your regulars with a loyalty program

Once you’ve welcomed your new customer into the fold, you’ve got to make it nice enough for them to stay. Especially when you consider that 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers and that retention is generally cheaper than acquisition. In short, customer loyalty programs are the rewards you give your existing customers to improve their brand opinion and encourage long-term business.

FUN FACT: Research shows that loyal customers are five times more likely to purchase again and four times more likely to refer a friend

Larger companies like supermarkets have their Clubcard and points-based systems. Others go the vouchers route offering discounts on birthdays. But one of the most popular loyalty programs is stamp cards. We’re not just talking smaller, handmade businesses, no. Nandos, Café Nero and others have these programs in place too, Lush even encourage recycling and reward you with a free face mask every time you return their empty pots.

These kinds of spend-based and value-based programs are great long-term marketing efforts that don’t cost a lot but hugely improve the customer experience and engagement. Here are a few options you could explore, but remember:

  • Keep track of your customers points or visits to make sure they’re eligible for the reward.
  • If you’re going with a manual stamp program, use a customised loyalty stamp and card to reinforce your branding.

Top Tip #3: Go the whole nine yards with company branding

As we said, it’s not enough to get them to enter the competition, you should try to drive engagement with your brand and products too. But why is branding important? Especially with loyalty marketing?

The fact is, your company branding is what will become most memorable in the long term. Product ranges come and go, staff members change, but your logo is the one thing that remains the same. Encouraging engagement with your brand and reinforcing your brand values will help your customers trust you – to know what you stand for and what they can expect.

This brand awareness feeds into your customer retention strategies and improves your market share. You’ll find some great information and high-profile examples here, but at the end of the day, brand recognition and customer loyalty go hand-in-hand.

Ways you can encourage brand awareness:

Be upfront about your brand values and identity – have dedicated areas on your website, feature it in your physical locations and be ready to talk about it face-to-face. This will make it easier for customers to feel aligned with you and more likely to engage with you if you have the same ideals.

  • Treat customers as individuals – personalisation in your communications is huge. Even if it’s just putting their name on their loyalty card or using their name in emails – they’re more likely to feel valued and engaged with your brand.
  • Testimonials, reviews and success stories work – this is a great one for building trust. Customers like to see when other users have had a good experience. It gives them hope.
  • Have excellent customer service – this one is simple but hugely effective. Did you know that it’s estimated that customers tell around nine people about a positive experience, but tell roughly 16 people about a negative one?

Loyalty stamps and programs, customer retention strategies and corporate branding are all well and good, but at the end of the day, being human is the best thing you can do. Just listen, interact and connect with your customers. Let them know there’s a face behind the brand and that someone is there listening and ready to respond. These three tips will certainly help you find and retain customers, but it’s your hard work that will make it happen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.