The state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations.
Brand loyalty is the key to long-term growth and success for any business – it’s everything. But it can also be one of the most difficult assets for some to attain. Have you ever loved a product so much it’s the only one of its kind you’ll use? Like when you’ve finally found that perfect eyeliner that’s easy to apply, doesn’t smudge and will seemingly last through the apocalypse… you tell everyone about it and it takes a lot to make you want to try any other eyeliner! In fact, you almost feel like you’re ‘cheating’ on the product if you use something else. This is the mark of true success in the achievement of brand loyalty. Read on to learn how to create this feeling with your own customers.
Why is Brand Loyalty Important?
“Don’t I just want to acquire as many customers as possible?” You might ask this question when considering how much effort and money to put behind the customer service department of your company. Yes, customer acquisition is very important – without it you won’t have a customer base to work with. But making those customers actually stick around for the long haul is what will also make your brand stick around for the long haul.
Acquiring new customers is expensive – the strategizing and marketing alone is enough to make your wallet want to disappear. Thankfully, it costs significantly less to retain good customers than it does to attract them in the first place. What’s more, the concept is simple: develop customer loyalty, they create the acquisition for you and increased profits will follow.
The research backs it up:
- Customers who buy once have a 27% chance of making a second purchase; land that second sale and you’re likely creating a long-term fan.
- 25% to 40% of the total revenues of the most stable businesses come from returning customers.
- Businesses with 40% repeat customers generate nearly 50% more revenue than similar businesses with only a 10% repeat customers.
Identify The Specific Factors Which Create Retention
The requirements and expectations of your current and targeted customers are unique to your own brand, products and services. Recognizing precisely what these are should be the first step in developing your strategy to create customer loyalty.
Here are the top two factors you’ll want to tackle moving forward:
Determine the Type of Customer You Want
Don’t try to please everyone, you can’t, and you don’t want to. This will cause you to lose your uniqueness within your industry, making you one of a million, instead of one in a million. Make sense?
Figuring out precisely who to target comes from developing a deep understanding of what type of customer is valuable to you. Be specific. Generally, a significant portion of your business profit will come from a chosen few types of customers. Determine who these people are, what is important to them, and why they are using your product. These people represent your brand, and you’ll want to keep them and find more just like them, so understanding them should be ‘Priority A’.
Exceed Customer Expectations
Now that you’ve figured out precisely who to target, it’s time to determine what their expectations are, and the values from which those expectations stem from. Once you know this you can then create a strategy to not only meet, but exceed these expectations. A fundamental mistake many brands make is simply giving a customer what they think they want. In fact, what a customer expects from a product is the bare minimum of what you can provide. And the bare minimum doesn’t foster customer loyalty. Be creative and surprise your customers with something more, something that will inspire them to tell everyone they know.
4 Key Ways to Establish Long-Term Customers
The role of emotion in decision-making cannot be ignored. Have you ever been in a disagreement with a family member, friend, spouse, or peer, when you’ve had indisputable facts and logic to back up your angle, but they still just won’t budge? Even though it makes no sense at all?!? (#Frustrating!) This is because human decisions are not logical, they are emotional. When it comes to even the simplest decisions, such as choosing which outfit to wear or what food to eat, it all boils down to how it makes us feel.
This is no different when it comes to potential customers. Whether or not they choose to buy your product, tell anyone about it, or buy from you ever again is going to depend on how your product, or your brand (a.k.a. YOU) makes them feel. So, based on what you know of your target audience and their expectations, pick specific emotions to touch on their values. When you do so, you’ll be well on your way to snagging a long-term loyal customer, and the rest will fall into place.
Engage With Them
Get personal. Establishing relationships with your customers through social media engagement is an easy and effective way to encourage brand loyalty. A couple of easy ways you can do this are simply responding to mentions of your brand, and giving recognition to those who represent your brand well.
When someone mentions your product or brand online, don’t ignore it. Reach back out to them. Respond personally to their tweets and comments; encourage their input; thank them if they’ve shared a blog or other post of yours. It’s simple: have fun with customer interactions, be authentic and be transparent – make them feel special. Here are a couple of great examples:
Whole Foods Market:
Solve a problem
This again comes down to understanding your customers. Figure out what their common daily struggles are, then build a vision for them and their problem. Propose your brand or product as a solution that make their life easier every day. This will result in your customers not only relying on your product or service, but it’s what makes you irreplaceable. That feeling is what lands you those long-term, dedicated customers.
Surprise Them (Pleasantly)
If you want to create a business that lasts, your job is to generate positive experiences that will excite and inspire your customers. The element of surprise is a great emotion to tap into, and it’s also a great way to exceed customer expectations. I recently ordered some clothing online from a new brand I was interested in trying. When I received my order, not only did I get the items I purchased, but I was pleasantly surprised with a few additional free items. Nothing expensive – a pair of cheap sunglasses and a light travel bag – but it really made me feel like my purchase was appreciated. Of course, I immediately told a couple of my best friends, and even sent them a selfie of my new stuff.
Brainstorm some ways you can pleasantly surprise your customers today. Start small if you need to. Here are some more great examples of ways you can give your customers something they didn’t expect, or didn’t know they wanted.
Profitable, successful business that last are built on a foundation of repeat customers. Understanding how to attain and retain loyal customers is one of the most vital aspects of any business. Figure out their needs, wants, expectations and values to create a basis for strategizing how you are going to acquire these types of customers.
Need help with customer acquisition and retention? Our experts are here to help. Thrive Internet Marketing is a full-service digital marketing agency built on a foundation of using relationships to create lasting results. We are passionate about using the power of the Internet to grow any business. Contact us today for a free consultation.