With loyal customers, you don’t need to build trust or try to ‘sell’. They’ve already spent their money with you, so the hard work has already been done. You just need to find ways to keep them coming back.
While even just knowing a customer’s name or having some friendly conversations with them can build a sense of loyalty, a little more effort can go a long way to creating a valuable customer for life.
Rewarding repeat purchases
Loyalty programs can be a great way to reward loyal customers. The most common loyalty program is the use of a loyalty card. These are often branded and about the same size as a business card or credit card, so they fit into a wallet or purse.
The way these programs work is that customers are given a free purchase or a bonus once they reach a certain milestone of purchases.
There are also a whole range of digital loyalty cards available too, which can be easily rebranded and repurposed for your business. Customers can then access their ‘digital cards’ on their smartphones.
Digital loyalty programs have the advantage of allowing you to capture additional data about your customers, like how often they are purchasing and when. This helps you get a clearer picture of the lifetime value of a customer and can give you insights to refine your program based on time of day or day or the week.
These types of loyalty programs are simple and effective, and work well for regular purchases or repeat services. They also don’t require much in the way of ongoing effort or maintenance on your part.
Keen to create your own loyalty program?
Staying in touch
Regular communication with existing customers can really help build loyalty and keep you ‘top of mind’ for any and all future purchases. And one of the best ways of communication is via email.
When a customer makes a purchase with you, it’s always a good idea to get their email address (and get advice on how to maintain this database securely in accordance with privacy and other legal obligations). You might need to offer an incentive to get it though, as email SPAM has made people less inclined to give their email addresses out. So you may need to offer an instant discount or with-purchase bonus in exchange for their details.
Once you have their email address, you can then start to target them with regular and personalised communications and special offers to encourage repeat purchase. But avoid sending emails out too often and without any perceived ‘value’ in them as you’ll quickly get unsubscribed.
A ‘refer a friend’ campaign is a great way to create active promoters out of your regular, loyal customers.
Having customers spend with you regularly means that they obviously like what you do or offer, so they’ll be far more inclined to recommend you. They may already be doing this, but often, they may need an incentive.
If you do have the email address of your customers, send an email out offering a special bonus for any customers who refer new business your way. This encourages them to recruit their family and friends and by doing so, both parties can get rewarded.
Surprising and delighting
We all love getting a nice surprise out of the blue and your customers will love it too. So, cost permitting, why not surprise your customers with something special from time to time?
You might find out their date of birth and send them a gift. Even just sending an email or message on or just before their birthday letting them know about a special offer or a little bonus they can get for their birthday could be a thoughtful idea. It is best to familiarise yourself with legal obligations to understand how to use customers’ personal information and seek professional advice if required.
If you don’t know their birthday, then send something out when it’s your birthday and let them know that you want to celebrate your milestone with your most loyal customers.
Even invites to ‘VIP events’ can make your customers feel like you genuinely care about them. You could invite them to product launches or give them exclusive access to a sale event.
All these things can put a big smile on your customer’s face and put you top of their loyalty list.