Do Your Customers Deserve a Reward?
To get the most out of our customers, sometimes it's best for us to give something back. Ask yourself; do your customers deserve a reward?
Small businesses love their customers.
We love when they first come through the door, curious and eager. We love it even more when they engage us, ask questions and show genuine interest in what we have to offer. And sure, it's nice when they decide to buy; however, it's even nicer when they decide to come back for more.
Effectively establishing a base of passionate, returning customers is one of the most difficult yet rewarding (in more ways than one) goals for a small business to achieve. In the face of big box stores with lower prices and seemingly unlimited marketing budgets, attracting a dedicated customer base in today's economy is no easy task. Having a rabid base of customers and fans is one of the strongest weapons in an SMB's arsenal and can ensure their long-term survival in a cutthroat economy.
While it's not easy, it can be done. Sometimes creating that passion requires businesses to give something back to the customers that give so much to them.
There are steps just about any business can take to ramp up customer loyalty. Do you have a strategy in place?
Starting a Customer Reward Program
You're probably familiar with the concept of a customer reward or loyalty program; chances are you're already part of one as a customer. Whether you've seen them in action or partake yourself, consider such a program for your own business. While establishing such a program may seem like more trouble than its worth, such programs are proven to have legs once they hit the ground running. Furthermore, many loyalty programs require minimal effort on the part of the business, granted they carry out a proper strategy.
The SBA suggests a number of strategies for establishing a customer loyalty program. Some of the most effective and easiest programs to manage are those in which customers opt-in. Whether you reward your customers with something like a punch-card or email deals, you need to make the specifics of your program clear and ensure that it requires as little as possible on the part of the customer. In the midst of so much spam, it's easy for users to be extremely hesitant to opt-in to just about anything. Reward programs are meant to build trust, not take it away.
Offer Something of Value. No, Really.
Many businesses pat themselves on the back for offering rewards and deals to their customers. Take into consideration, however, whether or not your deal really turns heads. Is 10% off a product that isn't selling so well going to catch anyone's eye? Consider the importance of word of mouth and determine a deal that will get people talking. Whether that includes a buy-one-get-one deal or half-off for members or followers, you should consider deals that are good enough to draw new users into your funnel. In addition to members-only discounts or deals, consider free trials or sample products as well. As always, be genuine with your approach, prices and deals; nobody likes to be tricked.
Personalize Your Program
Regardless of how you decide to reward your customers, be sure to personalize your program. Let your users know that you and your company are trying to help. Put a personal touch on your deals and target them accordingly; prove that you're more than spam. Targeted deals can be a powerful tool for repeat customers. For example, it would make sense for a pet store to give continuous discounts or rewards towards buying multiple bags of a specialty-brand of dog food. If a user is going to be relying on a product on a long-term basis, sweeten the deal for them. This will make them want to stick with you rather than stray to another store. Remember that personality goes a long way; keep this in mind when drawing out your deals.
Both creativity and personality set businesses apart from their competition. For this reason, your business needs to offer a reason for customers to come through your doors and show them that you want them to come back. Rewards can help build that loyalty, which will in turn create repeat business.
The Bottom Line
To get the most out of your customers, you have to show them that you really care. Build loyalty by giving back to the customers that give so much to you and your small business. What are you doing to reward your customers?