Most companies I work with spend a great deal of effort, time, resources and budget acquiring leads. Some of the companies I work with also spend a great deal of effort, time, resources and budget nurturing leads. Few of the companies I work with, however, give much thought to retaining customers. What happens to all those customers you’ve worked so hard to gain, and how can you not only retain them, but also earn more business from them? Loyalty programs.
Manta’s and BIA/Kelsey’s joint report “Achieving Big Customer Loyalty in a Small Business World” reveals that for early adopters who already have a customer loyalty program in place, 64 percent of them report it’s been effective, meaning it makes more money than costs to maintain it.
Here are some ideas/tips for starting a customer loyalty program:
- Build: Create a simple “sign-up for offers/rewards” program. Ask customers to share their mail and email addresses and add them to an opt-in email list. In exchange, you’ll promise to send them regular communications and special offers only available to loyalty members. Direct mail and email campaigns that target loyalty members can be a great source of revenue.
- Distinguish: Distribute loyalty cards to track and manage customer behavior such as number of customer visits to your store, average spend and more. You’ll develop a CRM database that will allow you to send targeted direct mail and email campaigns to members.
- Integrate: Develop a landing page where customers can sign up for the loyalty program. You can direct customers to the landing page in store and/or through a direct mail campaign. Your landing page should offer social media integration to make it easy for customers to share the program with friends and even earn points for likes, shares and online reviews.
- Communicate: Whatever method you choose for a loyalty program, make sure you communicate regularly with your members. Segment them out in your direct marketing efforts and communicate with them often. Share news of upcoming loyalty incentives or events and don’t forget birthdays by offering something unique to members during their birthday month.
The fact is, even if you don’t have a customer loyalty program in place, someone else does. That means your customers are potentially someone else’s prospects, and with the right program in place, those other companies have a better shot at keeping your customers for a long time.