How to Create a Customer Loyalty Program That Really Works
Posted by Brooke Tajer
27 December, 2016
In business, loyal customers are worth a lot, and it pays to keep them happy. Estimates say it can cost five to 10 times more to attract a new customer than it does to sell to those you already have. Not only that, but existing customers spend more than new customers.
Establishing and keeping loyal customers, however, takes a lot more than luck. Beyond providing impressive products, impeccable service and customer engagement efforts, customer loyalty plans can go a long way to both keep loyal customers and develop new ones. Here’s how to create one that works for your small business.
Keep It Simple.
Whether you use points, dollars or some other method of tracking spending, keep it simple and consistent. They should know that if they make X purchases or spend X dollars, they will receive a discount or some reward.
Make the Rewards Count
The reward has to be something useful to the customer. It can be free merchandise, a discount or other incentive, but it should be attractive to nearly all of your customers — not just a certain segment.
Mix things up a bit from time to time by offering special deals. Perhaps one month you offer double points, or if you typically give a discount at a certain level, consider adding a gift on top of it during a seasonal time. Other small touches like sending special savings or rewards during a customer’s birthday month can go a long way toward making them feel valued as well.
While you could do it the old-fashioned way with a punch card or stamps, those leave your business open to fraud, and they’re pretty cumbersome. Fortunately, there are plenty of inexpensive solutions that will automate a loyalty program for your small business (e.g. Belly and LevelUp).
While you’re rewarding customers, they’re also rewarding you if you collect information from them such as their email address and cell phone numbers for future marketing efforts.
Make sure your customers know that your loyalty program exists and what it entails. Include signage in your business, and promote it on your blog, social media pages, receipts and in newsletters and other marketing materials. If you’re going to the time and expense of setting it up, you want to make sure people know about it and use it.