Increasing Brand Loyalty
What brand loyalty strategy can a small business use to attract and retain new customers?
To help small businesses attract and retain new customers, we asked marketing professionals and business leaders for their insights. From prioritizing excellent customer service to utilizing unlocked features, small businesses can use several brand loyalty strategies.
Here are fourteen brand loyalty strategies for small businesses:
- Prioritize Excellent Customer Service
- Create Valuable Online Resources
- Provide a Memorable First Experience
- Uphold a Commitment to Good Corporate Citizenship
- Encourage User-Generated Content
- Include Discounts for Signing up for Your Newsletter
- Use Referral Programs
- Establish an Online Community
- Partner with a Micro-Influencer
- Offer a Perk-Filled Subscription Service
- Create an Epic Loyalty Program
- Include a Freebie
- Collect Feedback and Act on Them
- Utilize Unlocking Features
Prioritize Excellent Customer Service
Providing excellent customer service is a brand loyalty strategy you should implement if you don’t already. Especially regarding dentures, if there is an issue or concern, it has to be addressed quickly.
Since this is about a quality of life issue, our patients deserve more. We earn our patients’ trust with timely responses and actions to ensure their satisfaction and comfort, and that leads them to recommend us to others.
-Henry Babichenko, European Denture Center
Create Valuable Online Resources
When you know your audience and the people you serve well, you understand their needs in a way that encourages long-lasting client relationships and loyalty. As a child-placing agency, we provide comprehensive online resources for pregnant women who are considering adoption as well as families who are hoping to adopt. In our case, we offer detailed information about the adoption process and support for each individual as their needs are different. By focusing on providing valuable resources that truly help your clients or the people you serve, you can nurture strong, loyal relationships.
-Kenna Hamm, Texas Adoption Center
Make a Memorable First Experience
To earn brand loyalty, it's important that you provide your customers with a memorable first experience with your brand. We all know that a happy customer is the best customer; so be sure to provide hands-on customer support to make their experience with your brand positive. Send personalized “thank you” notes that show your appreciation for their business, then follow up with them to ensure they’re satisfied with your service or product. Even if they’re not, by providing them exceptional customer support and listening to their feedback, they could very well want to return in the future to give you a second chance.
-Greg Gillman, MuteSix
Uphold a Commitment to Good Corporate Citizenship
Today’s consumers are savvier and more discerning than at any previous time in history. Companies are expected to make and uphold commitments as good corporate citizens. The loyalty strategy that has the longest shelf life and the farthest-reaching impact is through social impact programming and responsible business leadership. By focusing efforts on altruistic actions, collaborative approaches, and the general betterment of society, companies can gain brand loyalty that can last a lifetime. Those businesses that continue these efforts as a central tenant to their culture reap the biggest benefits vs. those that attempt to leverage corporate responsibility as a strategy for short-term gains.
- Tyler Butler, 11Eleven Consulting
Encourage User-Generated Content
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter provide a great way for you to encourage customer interactions through user-generated content (UGC). When you receive a new customer review, create a post or engaging story on your social media highlighting your new customer to make them feel like part of your business and putting them in the spotlight!
- Amit Raj, The Links Guy
Include Discounts for Signing up for Your Newsletter
One way to attract and retain new customers is by offering a discount once they sign up for a newsletter. The discount will encourage customers to place their first order, and your weekly or monthly newsletter will keep your business fresh on the customer’s mind. Provide business updates, upcoming sales, and new products in your newsletter that keeps your customer base engaged and informed without feeling irritated by too much information or too many emails.
- Than Merrill, FortuneBuilders
Use Referral Programs
Small businesses can use referral programs to increase their customer loyalty by providing a small incentive for referrals. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool, and a referral program helps you scale it up.
- Wesley Jacobs, Apollo Medical Travel LLC
Establish an Online Community
Creating an exclusive online community is a brand loyalty strategy that can attract and retain new customers.
Doing so through communication platforms, like Viber or social media, could provide customers with a go-to portal to learn more about your products and services and get first dibs on the latest offerings or promos before anyone else does.
Creating informative content and exciting campaigns and contests fosters a community where customers can continuously interact with the brand.
Likewise, customers can engage with others for recommendations and support whenever necessary.
- Michelle Ebbin, JettProof
Partner With a Micro-Influencer
Partnering with a micro-influencer and using them as a brand ambassador is the best way to attract and retain new customers. Influencers can reach a larger target audience than a brand normally can, even when you boost posts and focus on a certain type of consumer. Influencers can sell your product in a unique and creative way that will catch the attention of others, and show potential customers that they're passionate about the brand. When working with an influencer, offer a loyalty discount to attract new customers as well, specifically for this demographic. This shows followers that their business is valued and appreciated and can result in returning customers in the future.
- Lance Herrington, UNICO Nutrition
Offer a Perk-Filled Subscription Service
By offering your customers the option of a monthly subscription to your product, you're not only attracting new customers, but you're retaining them as well. You're creating a consistent revenue stream and increasing your ROI. Make sure your subscribers are receiving perks as well. We personally offer free shipping, 15% off on every order, and we allow our customers to cancel at any time, which makes it risk-free. By incentivizing your subscription service, new customers are more likely to give you a try, which in turn will strengthen your brand loyalty.
- Melanie Bedwell, Olipop
Create an Epic Loyalty Program
No one likes those loyalty programs that aren't even worth signing up for. You know, the ones where after spending upwards of $300 you get a measly 10% off coupon. Create a loyalty or rewards program that actually rewards customers for consistently shopping at your business. In my opinion, vouchers for every # dollars spent is an effective method for loyalty programs as long as the balance is there. Customers will look forward to getting to the threshold of another reward.
- Sophia Orlando, Markitors
Include a Freebie
While it may seem counterintuitive to give away something for free, countless studies have shown the ROI is there.
Giving a consumer something risk-free, nothing out of pocket is a sure-fire way to get their foot in the door to see what you're all about. It's a relatively small customer acquisition cost to drive traffic and in return, you can gain brand loyalty for years to come.
- Alexa Reynoso, Mosaic North America
Collect Feedback and Act on Them
Focusing your branding loyalty strategy on customer feedback is critical in attracting and retaining customers. Acting on the feedback takes the initiative a step further.
Customers are more inclined to transact with small businesses that value their feedback. By showing that their suggestions are accepted and applied to improve the business structure and services, you gain their trust and loyalty in the process.
Without these consumer insights, quality customer experience may fail to translate in the sales journey.
- Arthur Iinuma, ISBX
Utilize Unlocking Features
One effective strategy is to incorporate an “unlocking” feature. You provide a coupon upon which first-time customers can tick off their first purchase at a certain amount. You can further unlock the coupon for every purchase until you have accumulated enough and win a certain offer of a discount or a freebie item. This method highly encourages future purchases and is very successful in tracking sales.
- Kathryn McDavid, Editor's Pick
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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.