Ask any retailer who has learned the hard way and they'll tell you, getting customers into a store is one thing, but retaining them is quite another.
Earning customer loyalty should be a priority for start-ups and small businesses, but oftentimes smaller companies pour all of their efforts and budgets into customer acquisition marketing. Without a solid customer retention strategy in place, these businesses run a very high risk of losing customers.
Even if you've invested in a customer loyalty rewards program because you heard it's the best way to retain customers, unless you implement calculated marketing strategies that are designed to boost loyalty engagement, the risk of your customers losing interest and vanishing will remain present.
In order to avoid that, we've put together a list of 4 loyalty marketing ideas to help small businesses attract and retain customers, and grow within their respective industries.
1. GAMIFIED SHOPPING EXPERIENCES
What is gamification? Gamification might not be a term you've encountered much, but it derives from the word "game". Simply put, gamifying means turning a non-game activity, task, or chore into a game. When a small business "gamifies" their loyalty program, it causes the participating members to feel like they're playing—and winning!—a fun game.
Winning can become rewarding in and of itself, but the benefits go beyond feel-good emotions. Every time loyalty members engage with the gamified program, they rack up rewards points, as well. Gamification can also be used to motivate customers to participate in surveys that help retailers gain valuable market insights into what their customers really want in addition to their spending habits.
The best part about gamified rewards programs is that the winning program members can't help but tell their friends and family about how fun it is to shop, earn, and redeem, otherwise known as free word-of-mouth marketing.
2. IN-STORE GIFTS & FREE OFFERS FOR VIP LOYALTY MEMBERS
Who doesn't want VIP treatment? Of all the different loyalty program types, VIP club programs have the power to quickly boost customer engagement. Consumers love receiving the royal treatment when they enter a store and purchase their favorite products, using custom discounts and experiencing perks that other shoppers don't have access to.
When implementing a VIP benefits program as part of your loyalty platform, make sure the benefits of joining are clear to your customers. You can even incentivize sign-ups by offering thoughtful gifts and fun freebies. Create an exclusive community for members who want access to the biggest discounts and best deals, and be sure that participants are always aware of the next product or service reward that's within their reach.
Structuring the rewards around exclusive items is a great way to attract and keep customers who will be loyal to your business and brand.
3. NO OBLIGATION TRIALS & FREE UPGRADES
This loyalty marketing idea is ideal for B2B businesses that want to get the word out about their brands, but it also works wonders for B2C technology and software startups who want to reach a wide audience and retain loyal customers fast.
Offering no obligation trials for software products, cloud-based subscription services, and other digital technologies is a highly effective way to quickly attract interested consumers. This marketing method is so effective, in fact, that large scale businesses and enterprises usually offer free trials and upgrades of select products, which ultimately serves as a lead generator.
New customers that sign up for their free trials convert to loyal, paying customers who purchase the company's other products and software solutions. Offering free software upgrades can have the same positive effect on consumers, and help to quickly turn first-time shoppers into lifelong loyalty members.
4. LOYALTY REWARDS PROGRAM CRM & AUTOMATION
By far, the best loyalty marketing strategy you can implement is an automated one that analyzes the customer data from your loyalty rewards program and tailors automated marketing campaigns to segmented customer groups. All rewards programs use CRM to collect this valuable customer data.
Generally speaking, CRM technology assists sales teams as they manage relationships with their customers in order to nurture those relationships, generate sales, and grow their companies. When used in the context of marketing specific rewards, CRM and automation can do the lion's share of the retention work for you.
Marketing automation empowers you to launch personalized, cross-channel campaigns from your loyalty program straight to your loyalty members. By integrating your loyalty CRM with automated marketing, your promotions will generate sales and make your customers feel special.
If you really want to nurture loyalty, don't skip the basics:
Choosing the right loyalty rewards solution can support small business growth. The Loyal~n~Save digital rewards platform has been specifically designed with small businesses in mind. If you're looking for a customer loyalty rewards program that offers a gamified rewards experience and plenty of gifts, free offers, and VIP perks, then look no further than Loyal~n~Save!
This article was written by Loyal-n-Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.