Most marketers will tell you: customer loyalty is critical. Not only does it lead to increased brand growth, but when it comes to enabling 1:1 personalization, it’s a marketing game-changer.
What’s more, loyalty programs allow marketers to use loyalty-specific marketing tactics that can increase customer engagement and extend customer lifecycle. That’s why loyalty tech solutions were a top investment for marketers in 2019, according to data from eMarketer.
However, in spite of the proven benefits of loyalty programs, many brands are still hesitant to launch one of their own. Why?
They fear a loyalty “program” will be too challenging to create, and they don’t know how to get started.
All marketers want loyal customers, but most hesitate when it comes to starting their own customer loyalty program.
Five Ways to Create Customer Loyalty
Many of the assumed challenges related to customer loyalty programs are either misconceptions, or they are challenges that can be quite easily solved with the right approach and strategy. As with any new endeavor, perhaps the biggest challenge marketers face when it comes to customer loyalty is simply getting started.
If you’re in need of guidance as you consider ways to drive customer loyalty for your brand, it may help to think in terms of steps. To begin, use the following infographic as a roadmap:
1. Get Organizational Buy-In
The way that you create and drive loyalty can positively impact the entire organization, from finance all the way to your IT department.
Win the support of the entire organization, especially those in the C-suite, so that you’ll have the resources you need upfront to develop inspiring, loyalty-building incentives that attract and retain customers.
2. Be Clear with Your Objectives
To successful drive customer loyalty, you need to have a clear objective. What are you looking to do with loyalty?
- Reduce discount-based incentives?
- Drive repeat purchases?
- Attract and retain more customers?
- Better identify customers engaging with your brand?
Determine your goals early on and align them with the needs of your business, along with measurable KPIs, so you can track the results of any loyalty initiatives you launch.
3. Decide What Makes Loyalty to Your Brand Worthwhile
How do you anticipate customers will relate to your brand? How will you earn their loyalty? Generally, there are three loyalty-based relationships:
- Convenience — Will customers stick with your brand because it’s the most convenient? Easiest to access? Least amount of friction when making a purchase?
- Transactional — Will your brand offer customers value strictly through transaction-based rewards? Most points-per-purchase? The most bang for their buck?
- Emotional — Will you earn your customer’s loyalty because of the experiences you provide them? Because of how you make them feel?
4. Create Connections, Not Just Incentives
If you connect with a customer on an emotional level, they’ll be loyal to your brand forever. Consider incentives that go beyond discounts and actually excite and inspire your members.
- Members-only product offers
- Exclusive pre-sale access
- VIP customer care
- Birthday gifts for members
5. Fully Integrate Loyalty into Your Customer Engagement Platform
Instead of relying on an external, third-party loyalty program, choose an option that is fully integrated with your customer engagement platform. This allows you to easily connect with the customer data you already have, and quickly drive loyalty using your current marketing use cases, without extra effort or operational overhead.
Start Building Trusted, Loyal and Lasting Customer Relationships
Customer loyalty is important, and it is a high priority for all marketers. We all want loyal customers. But many marketers are worried about the difficulty in implementing a loyalty program that will help build that base of loyal customers (and keep them coming back).
The good news is, a loyalty program doesn’t have to be complex or cumbersome. It doesn’t require a huge IT investment. And it doesn’t even require a large team of people to manage.
For example, with the Emarsys Loyalty solution, your customer behavior data and offline and online purchase histories are automatically integrated into the customer engagement platform (which also accelerates your time to value). The exclusive ready-made portal, Loyalty Wallet, can be switched on with minimal IT involvement, allowing you to integrate a loyalty program into your website within a day. And there’s no need to totally overhaul your current marketing — this works with the marketing efforts you already have in play.
If you’re interested in building loyal and lasting customer relationships but aren’t sure where to begin — or if you feel inundated with all the assumed complexities involved — save yourself the stress and keep it simple. Use these 5 steps to creating brand-boosting customer loyalty as a guide to help you get started.