The sales volume of any business is determined by the number of consumers. For this reason, each company develops different methods to attract the target audience and improve customer loyalty.
Recently, for marketing strategy specialists, customer loyalty has been a higher priority than attracting a new one, mainly because the cost of retaining existing customers is lower than that of attracting new ones.
But for this method to generate maximum profit, it must be developed and implemented competently.
What is the purpose of customer loyalty
Why build customer loyalty:
- Returning customers are more willing to try your new services;
- Returning customers provide a positive reputation;
- Returning customers ensure the proper functioning of word of mouth;
- Returning customers tend to spend more
Customer loyalty is an attitude of trust and warmth towards the organization. It is necessary to emphasize the importance of the positive experience of the buyer. If following the acquisition of goods and the interaction with the seller (specialist), the customer has a positive experience, there is a good chance that he will return again.
Research in this area has shown that if a consumer is satisfied with the quality of a product or service, he will most likely respond favourably to another offer from that same company. In addition, the introduction of special “privileged” loyalty programs, which allow you to use the organization’s services on the most favourable terms, also encourages regular customers to cooperate with you.
If the consumer is satisfied with the image of the brand, the company mission and its social activity, an emotional connection is formed. They will even agree to pay a little more to feel part of the company and provide support.
This type of loyalty is based on mutually beneficial conditions of cooperation between the company and its customers. In other words, they make some sort of agreement. The more goods purchased by the buyer, the higher the discount.
The vast majority of programs adhere to this principle, where the main condition is a high degree of customer satisfaction. In case the consumer is not satisfied with the good or service, the bonuses and discounts on them will often no longer work.
Nowadays, a special place is given to material incentives for customers. In this loyalty program, the emphasis is placed on the individual’s preferences, which are formed according to the consumer’s consumption model. Typically, these algorithms are based on the following fundamental principles:
- The loyalty program is designed to encourage regular customers. Most of the budget is for their material incentives. The main objective of the program is to increase the number of regular customers and the level of consumption of the product with minimal investment.
- The strategy is designed so that the participant must generate more income than the customer who does not participate. If this does not happen, the strategy won’t be providing the desired effect.
- Don’t offer the same bonuses as the customer will become complacent. The loyalty program should be consistent with changes in consumer behaviour.
Rational loyalty is distinguished by favourable conditions for customers and for the company itself. The encouragement is not limited to the material aspect in the form of discounts and various bonuses. This strategy also uses a system of exclusive offers, additional functionalities and special conditions that perfectly motivate purchasing.
Under this type of loyalty, we understand the affection of the customer for a given brand. Apple, Starbucks and IKEA are vivid examples that demonstrate active consumer engagement and create armies of fans of their products around the world.
Of course, not all companies are able to create such enthusiasm, but this is not mandatory. The emotional loyalty of customers forms the buyer’s subconscious feelings and reactions. Now the market is saturated with offers. The client will prefer the company which will give them positive emotions and a pleasant surprise.
Therefore, to attract as many consumers as possible, the company should know the answers to the following questions:
- How much does the customer value our products?
- What will trigger positive emotions in consumers?
- What factors contribute to improving customer experience?
Emotional loyalty is formed due to:
- The reputation and image of the brand, the worldview and the particular value system that customers are willing to share. The consumer who purchases a product thus accepts the principles stated by the company. And whatever the reputation of the organization. The most important thing is the message to the target audience.
- The company’s goal should be to focus on these product characteristics in the process of interacting with customers. Communication with consumers needs to be planned and established properly. You will then be able to clearly determine what specifically attracts them to this product.
- Positive and critical recommendations from acquaintances and friends. Thanks to knowledge recommendations, positive brand reputation begins to form.
How is it possible to increase customer loyalty?
- material incentives for customers (reduction and bonus programs, special offers and promotions);
- communication with customers – meetings, sending various notifications containing useful information by email or SMS;
- additional motivation – exclusive offers for regular customers in the form of VIP services, gifts, free probes.
How to Create a Loyalty Program for Regular Customers
Step 1. Set the objective of the loyalty program
The following series of tasks in this system can be distinguished:
- Attract new customers
- Retain regular customers
- Thwart the efforts of competing companies to attract the target audience
You should focus on one goal. Reaching two or more at the same time is quite problematic and, as a rule, even unpromising.
Step 2. Identification of the key factor of the loyalty policy
This moment is determined by the characteristics of the business and the market situation. The key factor should be unique and serve as the basis for creating a customer loyalty program. So, at this point, you determine how you are going to create a customer relationship (the reason why your customers buy products or services over and over). What could it be:
- The special attitude towards loyal customers?
- The unique services available exclusively to regular customers?
- The special prices for loyal customers only?
Step 3. Assessment of the level of economic feasibility
There are many examples of companies having miscalculated their economic parameters and has had to declare bankruptcy as a result.
Step 4. Choose the main tool for customer loyalty strategy
You can use:
- A fixed discount – a personalized card or a certificate to highlight a certain category of consumers (silver, gold, and platinum).
- Gradual discount scale. As a rule, the amount of the discount depends directly on the number of goods purchased. This card encourages the customer to buy a more expensive product in order to obtain a good discount.
- Cumulative bonus and discount system. The main idea of this system is to encourage not each transaction individually, but the purchase history as a whole.
Step 5. Analysis of the loyalty program results
In order to properly assess the effectiveness of this system, it is necessary to conduct a consumer survey.
Maintain customer loyalty with financial instruments
- Discount program. New buyers are attracted by a 40 to 50% discount, while 10 to 15% is enough to maintain confidence.
- Exclusive loyalty program. This system is used as a reward for the most loyal customers – those who spend several times more than others on purchases in your business.
- Birthday bonus. As a general rule, the action is valid three days before and after this day (this must be reminded to the buyer). The consumer is always happy to receive a free service or product. But, as practice shows, in this case, the gift is the motivation to visit the company and the customer, among other things, requests additional services.
Maintain customer loyalty using service tools
- Customer service. The most effective loyalty tool is the timely dissemination of important information to consumers. The company should communicate with the public at least once every two weeks.
- Various events for the target audience (eg conferences, meetings). In this case, the company organizes seminars for regular customers, after sending out individual invitations. During this event, customers receive information about new products and services.
- Communication with the manager of the company. Additional consultations and contacts with the manager effectively influence the maintenance of customer loyalty.
In order to execute these marketing techniques, you will need a marketing budget. If you’re in need of additional funds, a business loan could form as a solution to your problems. Speak to one of our representatives to receive an outcome in a matter of hours.
Raunak Pandey is the founder of Maiden Stride, a leading digital marketing company that provides world-class search engine marketing services and website & application development.