With external factors everywhere impacting people’s buying decisions, it is more important than ever to retain customers, cater to repeat shoppers, and build loyalty.
The options for consumers are endless – they can shop on websites, on social media, on apps on their phone, through games, through marketplaces, and of course, in stores. And with this abundance of options comes a lack of brand loyalty too. If a customer can find a similar item that costs less, or gets shipped quicker, or in a different color, with a few simple clicks of a button – off they go taking their hard earned cash elsewhere. This is where loyalty is of utmost importance.
Studies have shown that the probability of selling something to a prospective customer is only about 5-20%, while the probability of selling something to an existing customer is 60-70%.
Let’s look at four strategies and creative ways entrepreneurs have built customer loyalty.
Also called engagement marketing, experiential marketing immerses customers into a product or brand creating emotional connections.
Create experiences for customers, and make it fun and engaging. There will always be another sale to shop, or another contest that consumers can enter. But with experiential marketing, they will either experience it now, or they will miss out – which drives them to take action.
“Our loyalty program includes working with other businesses to put the QR code for their Alexa voice skill or Instagram on display in their brick and mortar store. Then we create a scavenger hunt where local clients go to each store and enable the QR codes. Each client receives a gift from each store and a grand prize for enabling all the QR codes on their list. This reinforces buying local within our community particularly through the pandemic,” shares Chithra Durgam, Founder of Aesthetic Dental, a company providing dental services.
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Partnering With Other Businesses
The competition isn’t always “on the other side” – quite often your competitors can be the perfect partners to help cross promote and build clientele simultaneously.
“Build alliances with five or more other companies who share a similar mission. We’re stronger together, and are united in our passion to provide women with options to navigate her menopausal journey. Only 5% of Femtech startups are focused on menopausal women, which we viewed as a ripe opportunity to partner. Women aren’t homogenous – and since there are 34 symptoms of menopause, we recognized that although our product addresses two of the most common symptoms (hot flashes and night sweats) – women deserve access to resources for holistic wellness. This strategy has enabled our Facebook community to grow 10x within the past few months. We’ve formed a collective of over 420,000 women globally,” says Markea Dickinson, Co-founder and COO of Thermaband, a personal-comfort device for menopausal women.
Building A Community
“We built customer loyalty through giving women in our community a seat at the (virtual) table in design discussions. The majority of products we consider “feminine” were actually built by men – like pads, tampons, and even birth control. We built a sustainable process for amplifying women’s voices not only in our Facebook group, but also through inviting a select group to our engineering and design calls. This has informed our iterative product development process, and has contributed to stickiness with our customer base since there’s a sense of pride in knowing that ‘made by us, for us’ is not just a marketing slogan, it permeates our business,” adds Dickinson.
Adding value and expert advice can help grow a community. That is exactly what Hannah Kowalski did. “We have an exclusive Facebook group for customers, with over 35,000 members, to ask questions, get advice, tips and tricks from other members and our team of experts. The engagement is beyond what we can achieve in any other channels. 80% of members are active in the group,” says Kowalski, Co-Founder of Konscious Keto, a health tech brand.
“Our certified coaches and moderators answer and motivate our members on a daily basis and this type of interaction creates a warm safe space for customers to share their experience and get direct feedback from our in-house experts about the keto lifestyle. It creates human connections that people enjoy and always come back to for support and gain a sense of belonging, which drives loyalty and retention,” she adds.
Engaging Consumers In Creative Ways
55.3% of consumers stay loyal to a brand because they love the product.
“In order to engage customers to interact with our brand, we allow them to co-design a product with us and have it named after them. We’re a new brand so we’re still trying this out, but it is a fun way to create a connection between our artisans and our loyal customers, and it doesn’t take much work on the customer side. They can say something as simple as ‘a pocket with a smiling sun’ or fully design the whole thing,” says Sydney Sherman Arenas, CEO of Montie & Joie, an ethical fashion and home goods brand.
Providing unique experiences or one-of-a-kind product is a great way to build loyalty. These are the experiences that will be memorable, make a strong emotional connection, encourage sharing on social media, and will keep customers coming back time and time again.