Reward loyaltyIn the quest to use big data and analytics to narrow down new target audiences, many businesses are forgetting what they already have: loyal customers. In this article, learn why repeat consumers are one of your most important assets, and how you can continue to capture their attention with targeted marketing campaigns.
Repeat Customers Key, But Declining
According to a recent Forbes article, there’s a two-fold reason that your business should be focusing efforts on building a solid base of loyal customers. Monetarily, it’s a sound idea to hold onto customers you’ve already got, since you’ll spend more on marketing with a large net to get new customers than you’ll spend on incentives for old ones to come back.
More than that, though, is the current trend towards community-building as a marketing strategy. In today’s age of social networking, the businesses that succeed are the ones who can engage with loyal customers. Says the marketing expert in the Forbes article, customer satisfaction is highly linked to a sense of meaningful connection and community. It follows from there that the customers who are going to spend the most on your product or service are ones who continue to be involved with your business through social engagement.
Unfortunately, although that connection is a big part of customer satisfaction, customer loyalty is actually declining in recent years. This slideshow documents a number of products where sales of generic brands have outstripped those of name brands, illustrating that in these uncertain economic times, customers are looking for a way to save a few bucks rather than sticking to brands they really love. This means that it’s more important than ever to appeal to your loyal customers and ensure that they won’t pick a competitor over your business.
What You Can Do
Luckily, there are a couple of astute moves that you can make to focus your efforts on maintaining a strong, loyal customer base. These are a few suggestions that we’ve compiled, which businesses in any industry can use to not only find new customers, but also strengthen ties with the ones they already have.
- Create a strong brand identity. This article from the Huffington Post has a number of great tips for building a unique identity, especially through social media. The author recommends that businesses focus on a particular niche, create a unique voice, and produce high quality, shareable content that differentiates you from your competitors and shows why your product or service is worth being loyal to.
- Give immediate incentives. While many businesses have loyalty programs that reward repeat customers, most involve building up a significant amount of points, dollars spent, or number of visits before customers accrue any real results. Immediate perks for pledging to become a loyal customer emphasizes the fact that your business will treat returnees well, and starts customers off with a highly positive experience.
- Get personal. AdAge offers the interesting point that words like “client” alienate you from your customers and keeps you from really engaging with them. Instead, get to know names and faces, and you’ll be better able to make the people who make your business possible feel welcomed, important, and part of a community.
The exact shape of your loyalty program or special treatment of loyal customers will, of course, depend on your industry and business model. But it’s clearly important – just think about how you feel when someone at a business you frequent recognizes you or remembers specific requests from the past. You’re probably more likely to return or even tell others you know about the great service, right? So, when you’re thinking about which audience to target in your next marketing campaign, don’t forget about the demographic who will keep supporting your business if you give them the incentive to do so: your loyal customers.
Does your business provide special incentives for repeat customers? How do you treat them differently from first-time buyers?
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