A loyalty program can cement customers to your side and keep them returning over and over again.
Most famous for his salivating dogs, psychologist Ivan Pavlov had the right idea—if you want a behavior to persist, you have to reward it. It’s a powerful lesson that small business owners should use in their worlds. How so? A loyalty program can cement customers to your side and keep them returning over and over again. People like to be rewarded for their loyalty. “The reward doesn’t have to be huge, but it should show that you acknowledge and appreciate their business.
Please understand there’s no loyalty program in the world that will keep customers coming back in the face of rude or inept customer service, poor product quality or bad outcomes. That being said (and assuming you have an expert handle on those aspects of your business), implementing an effective loyalty program can provide a welcome boost to your bottom line.
A successful loyalty program should be:
- Straightforward for customers, the business owner, and staff.
- Meaningful to customers, not just any old value-add.
- Easily obtainable, with few hoops to jump through.
- Built on clear, and very specific, goals for the business.
There are oodles of loyalty program software options on the market. And these might be a good way to go for some small businesses but can prove expensive if just starting out. There’s nothing wrong with taking an old-school stamp or punch-card approach, which many small businesses still utilize. The stamp program is designed to encourage repeat visits, make sure the program is uncomplicated (for every $100 spent, $10 is taken off the next purchase), and easy for customers to remember and for the staff to track.
Before launching a program, a bit of homework is required, such as taking a look at customer traffic and inventory trends and identifying the behavior you want to encourage. We recommend figuring out how you’re going to track the behavior or purchases, the reward increments, and what you’ll reward.
There are also a few things to avoid, stay away from tiered programs, such as: spend $50 and you get ABC or spend $100 and you get XYZ. These can be too complicated and time-consuming to manage. Also, avoid an expiration date on your reward—remember the goal is to build retention, and the last thing you want to do is disappoint a customer. Points that expire are bad. You’re forcing the customer to purchase when they may not need to because if they don’t, they end up losing their points and starting over again. These kinds of programs can backfire. They end up annoying people and making them less loyal instead.
Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.
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