A brand that inspires customer loyalty enjoys repeat sales, referrals, and some degree of protection from market vagaries – therefore has a higher potential for growth.
Any entrepreneur worth his salt will admit that inspiring customer loyalty is the cornerstone of building a profitable and sustainable business. Loyal customers outperform much larger shopping segments across all retail metrics. In fact, according to Adobe’s Digital Index, 40% of e-commerce revenue is generated by only 8% of repeat customers. And, revenue by 1 repeat purchaser often matches revenue by 5 to 7 new customers. But, most importantly, loyal customers become important in helping your business survive in times of slow economic growth.
As you can clearly see whether you are a startup entrepreneur or a veteran business owner, this is one area that you can not ignore anymore. So, here are three online strategies that will position your business and brand to inspire customer connection and loyalty –
1. Create a customer loyalty program
Customer loyalty programs are an excellent option for continuous brand engagement and trust building. The reward could be as simple as a discount code, free samples, or redeemable vouchers or points, but it will have a huge psychological impact and encourage them to engage consistently with your content. These loyalty programs can also incorporate real-life rewards like, invites to company/industry events and privileged access to company facilities. Using rewards like the opportunity to provide inputs into product designs/features will go a long way in turning your relationship from transactional to emotional.
How to get started on such a reward program?
One of the biggest advantages of online consumer loyalty programs is that you are not limited to rewarding only the final sale. You can install reward options for all kinds of engagement like creating an account, installing your app, sharing a product on their social media, writing a review or referring a friend. It is also a good idea to have escalating rewards for different tiers of customers so that the customers on the lower rungs are motivated to buy your products and customers on the top tiers enjoy the feeling of exclusivity. Make sure that you create these different levels of rewards not solely based on the volume of sales but also on the frequency of purchase, tastes/preferences, mode of payment etc.
p.s. – Add an explainer page or video that walks the potential customers through your rewards program to your website for improving registrations.
- Build an exclusive online community –
Dedicated brand community platforms like CommunityZapp are one of the best ways of creating opportunities for deep and authentic engagement with your consumers. These communities are ideal for driving conversion, market research, market testing, and creating an interactive space for high-value repeat customers. Most importantly, as these communities can be highly customized and offer greater control over content/conditions, you can ensure better quality control and avoid the trolls.
How to leverage your brand community for inspiring customer loyalty?
On your brand community, you can use the discussion boards and polls to gauge their preferences and feedback on your products and services. The Q&A section on the platform can be used to connect your consumers with your team (designers, developers, marketing, finance etc.) and give them an opportunity to understand and connect with your company more intimately. The private messaging feature can be used for both troubleshooting and to give city or interest specific offers for selected customers. Apart from your own brand community, you can leverage other communities on the platform for customer outreach and market research. For instance, if you are a tech company, you can use the deep search features of the platform to find people who are interested in your category of products on the tech enthusiasts community.
- Create an email newsletter –
An email newsletter is one of the best ways of integrating your brand communications from different channels in a highly personal manner. Email also gives you an opportunity to put a human face to your commercial establishment and make it more relatable to your consumers. Additionally, you can automate most of the processes including personalization and engagement tracking – thus making the customers feel appreciated with minimal strain on your resources.
What do you need to do in your email newsletter?
The focus of your email newsletter should be on creating a feeling of exclusivity and emotional engagement. Your email subscribers should be offered discounts, free-gifts, loyalty rewards and preview options for sales that are not available to the general public. You can also share exclusive content and tips that are not restricted to your products. For example, if you are a manufacturer of musical instruments, you can share info about upcoming concerts or if you are a fashion brand, you can suggest budget-friendly alternatives to celebrity style and so on. Make sure that you have adequate data protection tools in place and do not carpet bomb your customer’s inbox to enjoy their confidence.
p.s. – Don’t forget to add an email subscription pop up on your website and link on your social media in order to get maximum traction.
Small business owners who are often time and resource-starved can lose sight of the bigger picture and connect with their customer only at the point of sale. This approach affects not only the sales and profitability of your product but also your brand value and loyalty in the mind of the customer. Having a loyal customer base either through your website, social media, or community platforms delivers several long-term benefits like – better conversion rates, higher ROI, and lower levels of transaction fiction.
So, don’t take a firefighter’s approach to customer relations – take the first step towards building a strong and inspired customer base for your business right now by creating an exclusive brand community on CommunityZapp.