In today’s competitive market, companies are working hard to build brand loyalty. Traditional loyalty marketing strategies based on a simple “points for purchase” model can be expanded to retain customers and stand out from competitors. If you are looking for inspiration, here are several actionable ways—through loyalty programs and beyond—that you can inspire customer loyalty.
Customers love surprises, so offering a few points as a surprise can help them feel more affection toward your brand. All people love surprises, and once they are given something, humans have a tendency to give back. In 1974, a sociologist named Philip Kunz sent out 600 Christmas cards to complete strangers. As a result, Kunz received hundreds of handwritten replies, some several pages long. This experiment helped confirm the rule of reciprocation wherein people tend to give what they get. By awarding surprise points to your customers, you are encouraging them to reciprocate the action with future purchases.
Modern consumers—especially millennials—have a passion for social issues and are more willing to back a brand that takes similar views. In fact, 89% of consumers say that they are loyal to brands that share their values. If your company is passionate about volunteering or helping the environment, your customers should know about your efforts. Many successful companies hold charity fundraisers for efforts to protect endangered species or cure disease. If you don’t have a cause, consider reaching out to your employees to learn what they are passionate about.
A note of caution: Before taking a stance, however, make sure that you do your research and gauge your consumer base. When Kat Von D announced that she would not be vaccinating her child, she gained the support of anti-vaxxers but also lost consumers who did not agree with that point of view. The backlash from the announcement is ongoing, and there is speculation that the stance will have a negative effect on the brand.
The best loyalty programs add a gamification aspect by including tiers in their rewards program. Everyone loves a good game, which means that your customers will stay involved and engaged simply because they want to play. You can name your tiers based on your brand’s niche and allow customers to level up. The more interactive the game, the more your customers will respond. For instance, when Niantic launched Pokémon Go in 2016, millions of people all over the world found themselves outdoors looking for Pokémon and interacting with the game.
No amount of loyalty marketing can replace excellent customer service. Make sure that your employees are educated about how to handle difficult customers and how to solve a variety of problems. As discussed earlier, people have a tendency to give what they get, and customers who are treated well are simply more likely to stay with your brand.
Loyal customers who love your brand are more likely to have something nice to say. Adding testimonials or positive reviews to your site can help newer consumers feel at ease about your brand while also strengthening engagement. Even a negative rating, when handled well, can result in a new loyal customer. Consumers look at how your company responds to a negative review, which gives you the opportunity to show off your stellar customer service skills and problem-solving skills.
Every business and brand has pain points or aspects where they can be doing a better job. Take some time to analyze the inner workings of your business and figure out what you can do to improve. Better yet, consider asking your customers for suggestions. You’ll not only appeal to your consumers’ egos by asking them for their contribution but also find smaller pain points that are a bigger problem for consumers.
Thanking your customers not only shows good manners but also makes your brand stand out from the rest. A simple “thank you” email will leave your consumers with a positive impression whether they have just signed up for your loyalty rewards program or purchased their tenth product.
Consumers want a more personalized experience from brands, and now, thanks to modern technology, brands can deliver. Using your customer’s name in your emails and alluding to recently purchased products will not only make your customers feel special but will increase the likelihood that they will respond to the email’s content. This will also amplify the power of your emails by segmenting your customer base to target each group of consumers for various promotions and marketing campaigns.
While some of these strategies may seem complex, implementing them may be as simple as updating your loyalty marketing solution platform. Annex Cloud’s customer loyalty software can take your program to the next level.