There is no one-size-fits-all formula for building customer loyalty. Every brand has a different product and a unique clientele, and these factors will influence how to build customer loyalty for your business. Although every business is unique, every entrepreneur should know some common principles — especially when cultivating an online customer base.
1. Know Who Your Customers Are
Before you can effectively market to prospective customers — and develop loyalty from them — you need to know exactly who they are. When marketing, it’s often better to identify an underserved niche instead of casting a too-wide net.
To determine your niche, you should conduct market research and consider who may benefit from your product or service. With this information, you can develop a profile of your ideal customer, outlining their age, gender, occupation, and income level.
2. Create a Loyalty Program for Your Customers
Once you’ve identified your target demographic, you can incentivize repeat business by establishing a loyalty program. Suppose you’re wondering how to build a customer loyalty program. In that case, you can start by considering what kind of rewards would motivate your customers — for example, do your clients want to receive discounts on future orders, or would they rather get perks like free items?
Your loyalty program should revolve around whatever reward you choose. You can market the program by reminding customers that they’re getting closer to the reward every time they purchase. Incentivizing purchases is thus the key to effectively building a customer loyalty program. Still, it’s important to note that genuine loyalty is based on the relationship you have with customers.
3. Create a Referral Program
In addition to garnering the loyalty of current customers, you want to expand your business and reach new customers. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by creating a referral program for existing clientele to encourage their friends to buy. Referral programs offer incentives — such as the discounts mentioned above or free perks — when a customer refers a friend to your business.
To set up a referral program, you can allow customers to complete a form that asks if a friend referred them. This is easy to do on your website if you run an eCommerce business. On your order page, when customers are checking out, include a field that asks them to list the name of anybody who referred them.
4. Play on Your Values & Strengths
Customer loyalty isn’t just about incentivizing repeat business. It’s also about aligning your brand with the values of your core demographic. For example, many consumers place a premium on sustainability and deliberately buy from brands that maintain this value. You need to figure out what kind of ideas are the most important to your customers.
Transforming brand values into customer loyalty is then a matter of marketing. With the proper branding and language, you can demonstrate to consumers that your company cares about the same things they do. Customers who feel validated by a brand will likely become loyal to it.
5. Encourage Feedback from Customers
It’s important to remember that revenue isn’t the only resource that your customers can offer. Your clients are also a wealth of information; you can access this information by requesting feedback. Traditional methods of doing this — such as comment cards — can’t exactly be used online. Most customers will be willing to log online to provide feedback.
You should create a website to solicit customer feedback and offer an incentive if they complete the survey. This provides you with helpful insights, but it also reinforces the customer’s value to your brand — and thus cultivates a sense of loyalty.
6. Use Social Media to Engage with Customers
Social media is another effective avenue for gathering feedback and engaging with clients more meaningfully. Social media allows brands to build marketing campaigns, solicit engagement, and form customer relationships. The latter is crucial as relationships are at the core of genuine customer loyalty.
Social media is ideal for this purpose because it creates a two-way street between brands and their target demographic. In addition to publishing content that invites customer engagement, brands can engage with the content that customers post, thus facilitating a more authentic relationship. Companies can also use social media to launch customer loyalty or referral programs. Reaching a wider audience with these announcements can amplify the impact.
Build your brand’s loyalty with customers through strategic moves and value-based marketing. When you identify your niche, you’ll see the business thrive.