Driving Repeat Business: How to Build Customer Loyalty That Lasts

Creating a customer loyalty program that drives real results isn’t as complicated as you might think. Read on to learn about customer loyalty drivers and programs that work.

Loyalty card for coffee shop

Customer loyalty programs are critical for achieving exponential growth in your business. Loyalty programs are designed to create a loyal customer base by providing incentives and rewards for repeat purchases. The idea is that rewarded customers become loyal, lifelong customers and valuable resources for your business. Leveraging your business’s current customer base will always be cheaper than generating new customers and loyalty programs help maintain this healthy retention!

When creating a loyalty program, it’s essential to understand what elements drive customer loyalty to ensure the success of your business’s program.

Here are a few loyalty drivers to consider when building your business’s loyalty marketing strategy:

  • Exceptional customer experience
  • Compelling marketing
  • Brand connection
  • Consistency in product quality and service
  • Competitive pricing
  • Making your customers feel known
  • Welcome and encourage customer feedback

Before we dive into some of these key drivers, let’s take a look at customer loyalty programs and loyalty marketing in general.

What is a customer loyalty program?

A customer loyalty program is a system that rewards repeat customers for their business. Examples of loyalty programs are:

  • Customer referral programs
  • Rewards points for purchases
  • Freebies with accrued points, on a birthday, or a holiday
  • Exclusive bonuses and perks for members
  • Store credit cards with built in discounts
  • Combining coupon and discount power

These kinds of loyalty programs reward customers for repeat purchases, which creates a sense of appreciation and recognition for their loyalty. This appreciation makes customers feel valued, which, in turn, strengthens their connection to the brand. Furthermore, the rewards themselves incentivize customers to continue making purchases, thereby increasing customer retention rates.

A few brands with impactful loyalty marketing strategies are Starbucks, Target and Costco. With the Starbucks app, customers are encouraged to carry a balance in the Starbucks app and pay with the app when they order. When a customer pays with the app, they rack up “stars” (reward points) to use towards discounts on future drinks. On certain days, Starbucks will increase the amount of stars customers can get per purchase, thereby increasing sales with the promise of future discounts. Target offers their own credit card which gives cardholders a 5% discount on every purchase. Costco created a membership subscription plan that includes access to their discounted gas stations.

These are only a few brands that offer customers perks for shopping with them. It’s important to get creative with your business’s loyalty program and design something that works both for your business model and your customers.

What drives customer loyalty?

While loyalty programs can help generate and keep lifelong customers, it’s important to encourage customer loyalty at every touchpoint along your business’s sales funnel. This marketing strategy is called loyalty marketing.

Loyalty marketing has several key drivers that are crucial to get right. Here are some of the most impactful strategies to implement right away:

1. Create an exceptional customer experience that fosters brand connection

One of the key drivers of customer loyalty and effective loyalty marketing strategies is the overall customer experience. Consumers are more likely to remain loyal to a brand that provides an exceptional customer experience consistently. Therefore, it's important to ensure that your customer service is top-notch, and every interaction at every touchpoint within your business’s sales funnel is positive. This includes everything from responding to customer inquiries, to being available for phone calls or online chats, to promptly resolving issues, creating an engaging and supportive social media presence, and offering easy returns.

Regularly auditing your customers’ experience will help prevent bottlenecks, website bounces, abandoned carts, unsubscribes and will show your customers that your business is committed to improving their experience with your brand.

When a customer has consistent, positive interactions with a business, it becomes much easier for them to feel connected to the brand and to choose their products again and again.

2. Develop compelling marketing strategies

Another factor that drives customer loyalty is the perceived value of your products or services. Consumers are more likely to remain loyal to a brand if they believe they're getting a good deal or value for their money. Therefore, it's essential to price your products or services competitively and provide high-quality goods or services.

If your business is competitive in value and pricing, but the marketing doesn’t showcase that, customers will likely choose your business’s competition. Creating compelling digital marketing strategies that make it easy for customers to see themselves buying from your business or working with you will not only generate new customers, but will also increase retention.

3. Make your customers feel known by welcoming their feedback

Creating products and developing marketing strategies that directly solve your ideal customer’s problems is the best way to make your customers feel known. Additionally, truly valuing their feedback and using it to improve will speak volumes to your ideal audience. Even the simple act of responding professionally to a negative review let’s new customers know that your business takes all types of feedback seriously.

Make it a habit to ask for customer feedback about every aspect of your business. Asking for reviews via email blasts, social media posts, phone call surveys and website forms reassures your customers that their feedback matters to your business and, consequently, that they matter to your business.

Final Thoughts

In summary, customer loyalty is a crucial aspect of any business, and customer loyalty programs are an excellent way to foster that loyalty. To create an effective program, you must focus on creating an exceptional customer experience, providing perceived value, engaging with customers, and offering rewards that incentivize repeat purchases. By doing so, you'll create a loyal customer base that will continue to support your brand for years to come.

Loyalty marketing and digital marketing go hand in hand. RevLocal handles all things digital marketing for small businesses and franchise businesses. To learn more about what we offer, contact us for a free consultation!

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