You’ve worked hard. You’ve done the marketing, run the ads, given away some free stuff. As such, you’ve landed some customers. But don’t settle into the hammock just yet. This is no time to breathe easy, friend.
Because now it’s essential you keep them coming back.
Building Brand Loyalty Takes Work
And even more so with the presence of the all-encompassing gigantic discount mall called the internet.
Yep. Your customers might love your stellar product or service. But what can you do to keep them from wandering to the internet to find a similar product at a cheaper price, in a different color, with faster shipping?
Here are some tried and true ways to build brand loyalty.
1. Maintain High Quality
If your customers are loving on the quality of your product, then don’t change it for something more inexpensive. Sure, they may experience the thrill of finding a comparable product at a cheaper price. But when the quality is lacking, that thrill is soon gone.
And then they’ll come back to you.
2. Engage, Engage, Engage
Do you know what brand recall is? (Hint - It’s not when they pull your brand from the shelves because of a salmonella scare.)
This term refers to your customers’ ability to see your message and immediately identify your product or service with your brand name.
And this is done by keeping them engaged.
No one wants to be merely an order number.
Building your brand means building momentum through communication. Let your customers know about new and exciting developments and offerings. Keep them abreast of “what’s next.” Ask their opinions:
- How was your experience?
- Were you satisfied with customer service?
- Did the product or service meet your expectations?
Let them know that you’re listening and that you care about their experiences and/or concerns.
You can also proactively engage with your website customers through a live chat platform. This provides a personalized reply to their queries with almost no waiting time. A big plus in this “just add water and stir” world of instant gratification.
3. Remain Relevant
What’s your competition up to these days?
If you just shrugged and said, “Dunno,” then get out there and take a look. Monitoring the competition is how you stay up-to-date with the current trends in your industry. And to stay relevant, your marketing and communications strategy should reflect this.
Otherwise you can expect about as much success from those efforts as selling yoga pants in a coal mine.
4. Give Them Incentives
Another reason to stay vigilant of your competition is so you can provide incentives for consumers to return to your company instead of going to them.
This can be achieved through insider discounts, special status, gifts with a purchase or complimentary shipping, for example. Anything to create added value and a sense of privilege. People love to feel special and to belong.
It could even be something as simple as a loyalty reward card. After all, what’s in YOUR wallet? We’re guessing at least a couple of those cards.
5. Provide the Luxury of Choice
“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”
Obviously this worked for Henry Ford. But unless you’re selling something so rare and unique that it can’t be found anywhere else in the world, it isn’t gonna work for you.
These are fiercely competitive times.
So even if you don’t have the funds from the get-go, once your product gains popularity, consider creating variations to suit different tastes. Yeah, we’re talking about different colors, styles and sizes. But we’re also talking about offering a choice when it comes to shipping and payment methods too.
6. Say Thank You!
You probably heard this from your parents or caregivers a lot.
And regardless of all the other things they said that may have led you astray, turns out this one was valuable advice.
In an effort to remain all business, companies often forget toextend a simple thank you for their customers’ business. So wish your customers a happy birthday, some jolly holidays and a rocking new year. And thank them for their patronage.
Customers in every industry - from florists to toy-makers to steel-workers - appreciate this extra human element. Even if they pretend they're not the mushy type.
Brand Loyalty Means Going the Extra Mile
Does your first repeat purchase mean anything to you? What about the third transaction? The fourth?
(Your answer should be yes.)
Customer loyalty is invaluable. So exceed expectations. Do what it takes (within reason, of course) to make your customers feel valued. Because they are.
And if you do, they’ll return the favor.