The statisticians and marketing psychologists agree, it’s much easier to sell to a familiar customer as opposed to someone entirely new. Naturally, there are many obvious reasons this is true; for starters, those you’ve already dealt with before have no doubts about your ability to deliver (a product or service). Likewise, a regular customer is probably already anticipating doing business with you again, assuming they enjoyed their previous experience. Yes, there are plenty of reasons as to why it’s easier to market to those you’ve already dealt with before, but that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t still exert a bit of extra effort.
In a nutshell, customer loyalty programs seek to capitalize on, or rather help retain your recurrent consumer base percentages. Needless to say, this type of approach is more or less required if one wants to maintain steady growth while building a business from the ground up. Through the implementation of various customer loyalty program strategies it is possible to not only sustain development, but also dramatically increase the overall potential for profits as well. Let’s explore some of the better ways to achieve your goals with some fairly simple strategies…
Consider a tiered approach where your loyalty program is concerned. For the average person, a lack of immediate rewards often greatly decreases their drive to participate. In other words, offer participating customers a small up-front reward for their participation, while at the same time, dangling an even better one in from of them (which can only be attained through increased involvement in the program). This not only gives the customer something to look forward to, it also reinforces the notion that ‘moving to another brand means that they will lose their accumulated rewards opportunity’.
Seek out other companies that you might be able to partner up with for your loyalty program. Virtually everyone is familiar with the concept of strategic partnerships; however they’re usually formed out of a necessity or desire to bring a new product/service to the market. Well, alliances can also help build your customer loyalty program, you just have to find other businesses (perhaps locally) that not only believe in what you’re doing, but also work in an area that’s comparable or complimentary to your own. Remember, whenever real incentives are used to lure customers in, your goal is simply to provide real value while at the same time seeking to make up any minor losses you might incur through a greatly increased volume of customers. Likewise, if you are able to maintain a large percentage of consumers during one of these ‘growth spurts’, then you’re one step closer to building a bigger, better business.
When all else fails, resort to gamification. One of the more recent ‘hot trends’ in business is the concept of gamification. Basically, customers (and/or employees) are engaged via gaming to participate more fully in a rewards program; likewise, this might very well create more of a psychological drive for achievement in some people. Arguably, the most impressive, useful, accessible and perhaps popular form of gamification is that which can be deployed via social media websites. Think about it, with the large number of gamification tools that are already available via sites like Facebook, bringing in new loyal customers has never been easier or cheaper. To put it simply, this is a tool that more businesses need to become aware of. What’s really great about this approach is that you are able to not only gain direct access to your customer’s contact information, but also to their interests. Armed with specific knowledge of what your customers like, it might be possible to make even more targeted attempts to refine your reward program(s).
Explore the interests of your customers in greater detail. If, for example, you operate a sandwich shop that specializes in healthy ingredients, it’s highly likely that many of your clientele have an interest in fitness. In this type of situation, it would be beneficial to work out a cooperative plan with some local gyms or fitness trainers. Moreover, it would be incredibly easy to implement and organize some type of program or joint activity between the two businesses via social media sites. Additionally, it should be noted that these types of joint activities don’t always have to be ‘for-profit’, you can actually build an impressive consumer base from simply participating in some local or regional non-for-profit activities. The bottom line is that people tend to be impressed by a business’ ability and willingness to help out with a good cause, which they’ll hopefully remember the next time they require services similar to those which you provide.
Can customer loyalty programs boost value? Certainly they can, however, if you want to extract the maximum amount of value that’s possible from your loyalty / rewards program you might need to get creative and explore your (technological) options.