Whilst acquiring new customers and getting your brand’s name out there is very important, many businesses get so wrapped up in how many new customers they’ve landed, that they fail to pay attention to their existing ones.
Maintaining a balance between new customer acquisition and customer retention is key, as loyal customers who come back to purchase again and again are integral to building your brand, spreading the word about your products and ultimately, keeping you in business.
In this post we explain the ways in which brands can build customer loyalty, and avoid neglecting repeat customers to create a community of brand advocates.
Why is customer loyalty important?
Repeat customers spend up to 67% more than new customers. It can also be 10 times more expensive to attract new customers than to keep the ones already buying from you. Customer loyalty therefore boosts profits and fuels sustainable growth. Happy customers are likely to recommend your business to friends, leave online reviews and engage with your brand online. There aren’t many aspects of your business that won’t benefit in some way from customer retention.
How to build customer loyalty
There are numerous ways a business can build and maintain customer loyalty.
Improve user experience
No matter how great your products or services are, there’s nothing more off-putting than bad user experience. In this day and age, many of your customers will be interacting with your brand through your website, and they want an easy, hassle-free experience. A lengthy checkout process, broken product links and slow loading times will lead to many abandoned baskets and your profits will suffer. Investing time and money into website development will pay off in the long run.
It’s true that customers don’t want to feel harassed by brands, but you also don’t want them to forget about you. It’s all about striking the balance when it comes to marketing communications. How often you should send marketing emails or publish social media posts will depend on your brand and will likely change from month to month depending on what you have going on at the time. For example, you may send much more frequent emails in November due to Black Friday. But always bear in mind that your customers are inundated with digital content on a daily basis, so make sure your content stands out. Test different email frequencies and create a schedule from your findings to hit that sweet spot between overbearing and forgettable.
Coffee shops have been using reward schemes to drive repeat sales for years, but most businesses can implement some sort of reward program. Most loyalty programs have gone digital, meaning ecommerce stores can get involved too. The simplest way to implement this type of scheme is via an app that customers can download onto their smartphone or tablet. There are many businesses doing this well, for example premium jewellery brand Swarovski, who offer points (referred to as “Sparkly Rewards”) for performing certain actions, from making a purchase to referring friends.
Offer exclusive perks
A similar concept to a rewards program, without asking for the commitment of downloading and regularly using an app. Customers who have already purchased from you will likely have opted into marketing emails, especially if you offer some kind of incentive for doing so. You therefore have a list of customers who are already somewhat engaged that you can interact with, and send exclusive perks to such as discount codes, secret sales or free shipping that new customers cannot access.
Seek out feedback
Whilst you may think asking customers to leave a review is an inconvenience to them, it actually shows them that you value their opinions and want to take their feedback on board. If they really don’t want to provide feedback, then they can simply choose not to. Sending a link to your Trustpilot (or review site of choice) page via email is a simple way to show customers you care about their experience with your business and gain valuable insight at the same time.
Stay true to your brand
We’ve talked about the importance of consistent branding and identity many times, as it really can play a big part in the success of your business. Many consumers nowadays, especially those belonging to Gen Z, want to know what your brand stands for and to see you demonstrate how you remain true to its values. Ensuring your tone of voice, language and visual assets remain consistent across all marketing channels helps to ensure the customer experience is consistently positive, too.
In short – give them a reason to come back.
How to avoid neglecting repeat customers
The simplest way to ensure you aren’t neglecting regular customers is to have a clear marketing strategy and content plan, and always factor them into it. Email marketing is the perfect channel to reach your repeat customers as CRM tools allow you to segment your audience into distinct categories, for example customers who made a purchase within the last three months or have made a minimum number of purchases within the past year.