A quick guide to loyalty marketing, company branding and building your base

The retail and hospitality sectors have by far been the hardest hit in the lockdown, but with restrictions lifting and storefronts reopening, now’s the time to act. Here are a few ways you can encourage your consumers to return, and some tips to help with your customer retention strategies.

  • Why is branding important and how you can adapt
  • Customer loyalty programs and ideas
  • Competitions and conversations in the online world

So, grab your laptop and let’s get ready to retain business…

Why is branding important and how you can adapt

Effective corporate branding is the key to customer awareness and retention. It’s how they recognise you, how you set yourself apart from your competitors and how you share your values. Yes, an active and effective brand does a lot, and it’s more than just your logo and packaging.

Ways you can reinforce your brand:

  • Share your brand values online and instore to give like-minded customers the chance to see what you stand for
  • Be active and engaged on social media around your ideals and purpose
  • Generate relevant and useful content for your customers
  • Embed your values in all your activities

You need to take every opportunity to cultivate a positive impression with your customers. This will build brand loyalty which is easier to maintain than customer loyalty so long as your products, behaviour and service remain at a level they’re used to.

However, customer loyalty in invaluable when you’re trying to gain new audiences and retain their patronage. And it’s easy to build, but less easy to sustain. Costs fluctuate, prices change, so we often need to think of other ways to keep our customers loyal and happy. Let’s look at a few loyalty marketing methods you can adopt in your customer retention strategies

What is the difference between brand loyalty and customer loyalty?

However, customer loyalty in invaluable when you’re trying to gain new audiences and retain their patronage. And it’s easy to build, but less easy to sustain. Costs fluctuate, prices change, so we often need to think of other ways to keep our customers loyal and happy. Let’s look at a few loyalty marketing methods you can adopt in your customer retention strategies

Customer loyalty programs and ideas

Loyalty schemes are invaluable for customer retention – research shows that 52% will join a loyalty program if offered. Even in the most competitive retail sectors, such as supermarkets and restaurants, Clubcards, points schemes and stamps systems really do make a difference. 

These kinds of loyalty programs aren’t reserved for big corporations either. You can find small business and other handmade business loyalty schemes if you look around in coffee shops, independent restaurants and hospitality shops too. 

These are relatively straightforward to set up, but you should make sure it benefits you as well as your customers. Don’t overpromise or offer more than you can afford to. There are some excellent tips on designing a loyalty program for customer retention out there, but in a nutshell:

  1. Think about your customers – their behaviour, their purchases, etc.
  2. Assess your customer loyalty and satisfaction levels for later comparison through surveys, online comments and purchases.
  3. Set some achievable goals, eg. Increasing sales by 10%. CRM software could help here.
  4. Set and stick to your budget.
  5. Choose your scheme and rewards – make them varied and customisable if you can.
  6. Share it. Spread it. Market it.

Once it’s been in place for a while, it’s important to compare the before and after figures. This way you can see if it’s working or not, and you’ll be able to reassess if needed. Here are a few scheme ideas you could explore:

Customer cards: Potentially the most affordable option is to purchase a customised loyalty stamp and some branded loyalty cards. Every purchase gets a stamp resulting in a final free item once the card is complete. If you want a more premium feel, you could go for a branded embossing press instead of a stamp.

Preferred customer clubs: Once a customer signs up, they will receive exclusive emails offers and promotions. These are relatively affordable to produce and email automation tools like Mailchimp will make it streamlined and scheduled. You could also use this club to offer free trials of your products.

Referral programs: offering unique referral links and rewarding customers for being advocates for you is a great way to both retain and build your customer base.

Competitions and conversations in the online world

Another way you can increase both brand and customer loyalty is through competitions and engaging in online conversations.

Competitions on your website are a useful and easy way you can find new customers. And cross-promoting on social media only amplifies that. Moreover, it allows your existing audience to be advocates for you, thereby increasing the likelihood of you gaining new fans. The important thing to remember with competitions is that you want the entrant to engage with your brand. ‘Like and Share’ comps are all well and good for widening your reach, but why not direct them to your website or have them submit photos or links to their most-wished-for products instead? Make them put in a bit of effort, actually look at your website, and you may gain more customers than you expected.

Online conversations are super-effective no matter what you do, especially during this pandemic. It’s a way you can reach out and connect with customers, like-minded people and your partner businesses safely from home. More and more, people are preferring to contact companies over social media or live chat for queries and complaints. Research shows that 70% of consumers prefer to contact customer services via messaging as opposed to by phone. 

Taking part in online interactions gives you the chance to react quickly and retain a customer’s good favour. It can also help to reinforce your beliefs as a company, much like when all the tea brands came out in #Solidaritea with #BlackLivesMatter in response to a customer comment.

We know it’s been a rough six months, but there are things you can do and customers you can retain if you take a few simple steps. So, check your company branding, purchase that loyalty stamp and get involved online to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic whatever way you can.

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.