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A brand needs to constantly attract new sales and bring in revenue to remain in business. There are two ways to accomplish this: attract new customers or sell to your existing customer base.
The second option is much easier as well as cost-friendly. Your existing customers are already familiar with your brand, have first-hand experience purchasing from your brand and can be marketed to with almost zero incurred costs through social media and email.
An existing customer base will always be more responsive to offers and likely to be repeat buyers when they feel a connection with a brand. It happens in every industry. Take the footwear industry, for example. There are diehard Nike customers that wouldn’t even think of purchasing sneakers from any other brand.
Related: The Psychology of Brand Loyalty: 5 Key Takeaways
The same applies to automobile manufacturers, apparel, even health and beauty brands. A loyal customer base can help elevate your brand to the next level. Here are five simple ways to help create more loyal customers.
1. Create an online community
Building an online community for your customers to interact with each other as well as your brand further fuels the loyalty aspect. Also, with most sales occurring online today, it creates a very seamless bridge from community interaction to purchase conversion.
Use your community as a gathering spot for news, updates, access to sales and drops before the general public and more. You can build an online community as an extension and feature of your website, accessed when members log into their accounts, or host it on a third-party platform like Facebook, creating a private group.
As your community grows, so does the impact on your brand. Create a hashtag for your community members and watch how many will start to use it organically across social media. This also leads to natural discovery by new customers who then also become community members.
2. Have a high-quality product or service
You could have the largest marketing budget, an army full of celebrity influencers and a well-designed plan, but if your product or service is subpar, you will never build a loyal customer base. Consumers can spot a cash grab a mile away and have no problem voicing their displeasure on social media.
Take pride in your service or product and ensure it’s the highest quality before expecting your customer base to roll over and love your brand and become a loyal advocate and supporter. A smart brand will know its customers’ needs, wants, desires and expectations — and deliver on all of those.
When you put quality before anything else, your customers will never have a reason to go elsewhere. A great service or product is the foundation for any brand’s success.
3. Take your customer service to the next level
Want your customers to be loyal? Then ensure they have a pleasant experience with your brand after the sale. Customer service comes at a cost — having chat reps available 24/7 online, social-media managers checking tags, mentions and DMs for customer-service issues, phone operators, support-ticket staff and more.
But when you offer reliable customer service, it has a positive impact on creating a loyal customer base. Have you ever reached out to a company and your phone call was rerouted to several different reps, none of whom could resolve your issue? It’s very frustrating and makes you never want to engage with the brand again.
Invest in your customer service and watch how much of a return it generates. Any brand that has plans to be around for a long time needs to invest heavily in the support — speed and quality — offered to its customers.
Related: 4 Strategies That Drive Brand Loyalty
4. Be transparent and raw on social media
Consumers are naturally attracted to and loyal to brands that are real and raw — brands that show emotion as well as a human side to them, beyond just the corporate logo. Social media gives you a platform to leverage and allows your customers to see the other side — beyond the advertisements.
Use social media to host Q&As and live streams with different employees and staff members. Take your followers on behind-the-scenes tours of your manufacturing facility, warehouse and offices.
The more “real” your brand appears on social media, the stronger that connection becomes, which directly translates to customer loyalty. When consumers feel connected beyond the sale, they are going to continue to support the brand to maintain that feeling of being involved and deeply rooted in the brand’s activities.
5. Launch a customer-loyalty program
Want more loyal customers? Reward their loyalty with a rewards program. This can be a points system that can be redeemed for store credit, discounts or free products. Many businesses balk at the idea because they associate it with a hard cost. Sure, it comes with an expense, but it’s far less than your brand would spend attracting a new customer.
There are so many out-of-the-box options for Shopify and WordPress — apps and plugins you can install and have set up within minutes, allowing you to create a customer-loyalty program that matches your website’s branding and works behind the scenes to reward and build loyalty.
Loyalty programs are especially helpful for brands that have a premium-priced product. Offering a slight discount to loyalty-program members can push more to select your brand over a lower cost option because they are receiving a special discount.
Related: 5 Cues on Brand Loyalty You Can Take From Chick-fil-A