7 Ways to Reward Customer Loyalty (and Why You Should)

Customer loyalty is going to be one of the biggest factors for your business’s success. In today’s era of online business, your customers will have dozens of alternatives to your business, so it’s imperative that you offer them something your competitors simply can’t. On top of that, customer retention is far less expensive than customer acquisition.

Rewarding and encouraging customer loyalty takes an investment—of both time and money—but it’s practically necessary if you want a leg up on the competition, and a chance to keep your best customers coming back for more.

Customer loyalty

Strategies for Improving Customer Loyalty

So what steps can you take to improve customer loyalty?

  1. Discounts and reduced prices. First, you could offer discounts and reduced prices, which will incentivize further purchases. The most straightforward way to do this is to distribute a promotion code, or an exclusive email that links to a discount. But you can also get creative with your offers; for example, King Price Insurance is known to offer gradually reducing rates for their car insurance customers for as long as they’re customers.

  2. Extra perks. You could also offer extra perks to your customers, based on how long they’ve been a customer, or how many purchases they’ve made. For example, Starbucks’ Rewards program offers their members the ability to pay via their phone, free in-store refills, and others incentives. Get creative here to distinguish yourself from your competitors.

  3. Insider info. You could also encourage customer loyalty by giving your most loyal customers access to insider information. For example, you could have an exclusive list of email subscribers who get free premium content, like eBooks or industry whitepapers. Alternatively, you could give your loyal customers advanced announcements about new products or services, long before the general public finds out.

  4. Freebies and giveaways. You could go the simple route, and offer a straightforward freebie or giveaway to your customers. For example, you might give a customer a free tote bag or similar promotional product when they spend $50 or more, or enter each customer into a giveaway for a lucrative item for every $10 they spend with you. The hotter the prize is, the more people will be willing to shop with you.

  5. Reciprocal discounts. If you feel like collaborating with another business, you could offer reciprocal discounts, improving the loyalty of customers for both stores. For example, if you run a health supplement store, you might offer discounts to the local gym, and the gym may give out coupons to their members for your supplements. AAA memberships are a great example of this, but the possibilities are endless.

  6. Sneak peeks and trials. For fans who love your new products and services, you could offer sneak peeks, free trials, or beta tests of your newest offers. This is one reason why comic conventions always release the newest movie trailers to the fans willing to wait in line and pay for entry; it’s a way to reward their most ravenous fans. The only caveat here is this strategy works best for brands that already have an interested fanbase.

  7. Special events and outings. You could also have special events and outings for your most loyal customers. For example, if you have a customer who spends an excessive amount of money with you, you could take them out to dinner as a thank-you. Or if you have lots of valuable customers, you could throw a customer appreciation party, complete with food and drinks to celebrate their loyalty.

act of kindness
Image Credit: Brandon Warren/Flickr

The Foundation

These extra benefits and perks are nice, but if you want to maximize your chances of earning loyal customers, you should also have a strong foundation in place, which includes:

  • Consistent, recognizable branding. You need a consistent brand in place before you start building brand loyalty. These are the characteristics and standards that customers will use to recognize your company, and distinguish it from those of your competitors.

  • High-quality products and services. You should also have high-quality products and services in place. Otherwise, customers won’t be incentivized to keep shopping with you, no matter how good the perks are otherwise.

  • Memorable personal interactions. The best way to make customers feel at home in your store and loyal to your brand is to give them more valuable personal interactions. Train your staff to be extra friendly, and go out of your way to get to know the people who frequent your store most often.

Any business can improve their customer loyalty with a few simple changes, and a handful of extra perks. Invest the time and money it takes to build this foundation; even a handful of loyal customers will make that investment worth it.