About 77% of brands could disappear tomorrow and consumers wouldn’t care—at least according to one report by Havas that studied consumers’ emotional connections to brands.
Are you one of them?
Customer loyalty is crucial for business success. Yet too often companies neglect the customers they already have in favor of going after new buyers.
The result: higher customer churn, lower return on investment (ROI), and—you guessed it—more consumers who care less about you than you do about them.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
A strong customer retention program can help you build emotional connections with your customers that will have them coming back time and time again.
Use the following 5 marketing tactics to create loyal customers and a healthier bottom line.
1. Build a community
The first step to building a loyal online community is to engage your current followers. To do this, you need to know who they are and where they are.
Identify your target audience personas and where they prefer to communicate. Then engage with them on those channels.
What does engagement look like?
Here are a few ways you can connect with your customers directly:
- Reply to comments and messages.
- Host Instagram or Facebook live events.
- Create polls or surveys.
- Host a competition.
It may sound obvious, but simply interacting through comments and messages on social media is an important way to build a rapport with your customer base.
Directly communicating with your customers helps create a sense of connection while making it easier for people to find answers and solve problems. Plus, interacting on social media gives you a chance to humanize your brand through more casual interactions.
As you build your community, consider hosting a livestream event or a competition (e.g., incentivize your followers to share your page in exchange for being entered into a prize drawing).
Pro tip: Check your internet speed prior to any live stream to make sure you have the bandwidth to handle it.
Competitions, surveys, and livestreams are all great ways to encourage interaction and engagement with your brand.
2. Ask for feedback (and listen!)
Direct customer insights are invaluable. Criticism can be hard to take but asking for feedback is one of the best ways to build consumer trust in your brand.
Make feedback a regular part of your customer transactions. Ask for a review after a customer makes a purchase. Survey your customer base periodically to learn what they like and don’t like about your products, services, or customer experience.
Just be sure to act on the feedback and make positive changes to your business as a result.
When you do institute a change in response to customer feedback, let your customers know.
When customers see that their input is important to you, they will feel valued and validated—and will be more likely to stick with you (and tell their friends)!
3. Provide social proof
Social proof is the idea that people will adopt the beliefs or actions of a group of people they trust, like reading and believing online reviews. When brands harness the power of social proof in their marketing, customers respond.
In fact, nearly 95% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase.
Here are a few ways you can use social proof in your marketing:
- Highlight testimonials on your website or marketing materials.
- Share endorsements from celebrities or influencers.
- List certifications or awards.
Highlighting positive reviews and testimonials on your website can increase conversion by as much as 270%. Not bad for such a simple solution.
4. Personalize your interactions
Customer loyalty is built on relationships. While quality and price are important factors in determining whether a customer will buy or continue to buy from you, a personal connection can tip the scales in your favor.
According to Monetate’s 2019 Personalization Development Study, 93% of companies with an advanced personalization strategy experienced revenue growth last year.
So how can you add that personal touch to your interactions?
- Use customers’ names in emails and other interactions. You can collect their email and contact information using list building tools.
- Build and automate lead-nurturing campaigns based on how the customer interacts with your brand.
- Engage with customers through their preferred devices, in their most-used channels, and even during their most-active times of day.
- Create persona-driven content that caters to and anticipates specific customer wants and needs.
- Respond to customers personally through social media, email, etc.
With so many ways to interact and engage with your customers, brainstorm avenues that fit your specific business model and audience.
In determining where to shop, 79% of consumers said personalized service is an important factor.
By prioritizing personalization in your marketing strategy, you can help your customers feel seen and heard.
5. Reward loyalty
Finally, reward your customers for their loyalty. Customer loyalty programs aren’t new, but they’re still one of the most effective tools in your marketing arsenal.
A report by Bond Brand Loyalty found that 62% of Gen Z and 67% percent of young millennials are highly influenced by loyalty programs.
So, what are some of the best ways to reward your customers?
- Host a giveaway.
- Offer loyalty-based discounts.
- Send surprise deals or discounts.
- Gamify the experience.
A 2019 HelloWorld report found that customers love surprises and instant gratification. While traditional “spend and earn” programs remain popular, customers want to receive their rewards more quickly and they want to be rewarded for more than just purchases.
Look for ways to reward your customers beyond the traditional mold. Creativity and novelty can make the experience more fun and fresh for your consumers.
Plus, by interacting with your customers in new ways, you have the chance to connect more often and build more authentic connections in the process.
Use the tips above to freshen up your marketing strategy and start building a loyal customer base that can help you work smarter, not harder. What are other methods you use to drive customer loyalty?
Victoria Schmid enjoys writing about technology for the “everyday” person. She is a specialist in consumer technology and internet culture. She has a background in broadcast journalism.