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Ever been caught in the middle of a heated argument about which is better between Target and Walmart? What about Coke vs. Pepsi? Brand loyalty, much like devotion to your favorite sports teams, runs deep. How can a small business achieve the same kind of loyalty? We have helped small and mid-sized companies create dedicated loyalty programs to gather a long line of raving fans. Read on for our best ideas.
Often, business owners are so concerned about growing their brand that they focus their attention solely on new customer acquisition. But, leaving out current customers is a poor tactic for your business and your growth.
According to Forbes, it costs 5 times more to attract a new customer than keeping your current ones. Furthermore, repeat customers do not need as many marketing messages to convince them to choose your brand. They have already used your services or products, meaning they can decide for themselves if they want to repeat.
HubSpot caught on to the importance of recognizing customers as the most significant drivers for more customers. So much so that a couple of years back, they replaced their well-known marketing funnel for the flywheel model, stating that “The ‘delight’ stage powers the ‘attract’ stage of the inbound methodology, because, of course, how you treat your customers affects what prospects hear about you.”
So, how do you ensure you’re delighting some of your most powerful lead generators? Lucky for you, we have outlined the six ways to create raving fans out of your current clientele.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is assuming that your customers are here for a long time. Your customers are yours to lose. A simple way to combat this is to create dedicated points of feedback. At PHOS, we love to survey our clients at different points of our engagement to create a continued conversation about our partnership, allowing them to share feedback and thoughts.
A Net Promoter Score is a metric that determines how loyal your customers are. Asking questions like, “How much do you trust us when it comes to *insert solution your brand provides* on a scale from 1-10.” You can also weave in questions specific to your industry and product lineup. Checking in routinely and offering a space to share feedback makes the customer feel heard and allows you to fine-tune your business.
Another simple way to increase loyalty is to create an online community for your customers to interact with each other. Facebook groups allow conversation around your products and services to spark naturally, with little effort from you. Note, it’s essential to mitigate any conversations involving a poor experience, so if you plan on creating an online community, set aside dedicated time to engage with this group.
This is also a space where you can share resources and even troubleshooting tips with your current customer base. It provides a free value-add that your customers may not have expected.
Many companies have adopted a rewards program to incentivize their current customers. This system takes more time and may require a third-party program to facilitate the record-keeping, but essentially the more you spend or schedule with a business, the closer you are to redeeming points for a prize. For many retail businesses, a punch card to note how many visits or the amount they spend can be an easy way to track. Or, you can get really crafty with redeemable points for prizes. Notable examples include Starbucks and Sephora.
With this point-based reward system, you can cash them in from discounts or free products, depending on the points you have. For a home-service provider, you could offer customers a free product or cleaning service after three appointments.
Stemming off of the point-based system, you could go the mission-based route and offer points redemption in exchange for a donation to an organization close to your business’s mission. Customers would earn points and then get the option to choose which organization to support. Subaru does an excellent job at this, allowing their customers to select a non-profit organization to donate to with each new car purchased. This not only rewards your customers but shows your heart and mission.
Two is better than one, right? The same can be said for your added benefits. With a partnership program, you choose to partner with organizations in your community to offer discounts or add-ons to your customers, making sense for businesses with related products or services. For example, if you own an auto repair shop, you could partner with a local car wash business to offer discounted detailing services after someone comes in for a routine service appointment. Or, if you are in the medical field, you could offer a discounted membership rate to a local gym. The opportunities are endless!
Finally, this last initiative is less of a program structure and more of intentional practice. Brands that honor their most loyal fans on social media prosper because they recognize and reward those that consistently post about them. When you acknowledge raving fans on social media and share their posts or highlight them, it encourages them to keep it up. Not only is this a great way to garner user-generated content, but it is word-of-mouth online. The best way to monitor and track is by:
The good news is that there are so many options for you to choose from when rewarding your current customers. The downside is that you may not know which is right for you. Consider the following reminders when creating your system.
Discounts are great but require you to spend more money. The best rewards are the ones that come along with the purchases that your customers already make. Anyone can reduce a rate, but it is time to think outside the box. Be generous with your current customers because it will save you more money in the long run.
Working with you should not be a chore, and neither should your rewards be. Making your customer loyalty initiatives fun will make sure your customers want to continue coming back. We recommend gamifying your rewards. Maybe offer badges or superlatives for your most loyal customers and share those stories on social media, which also helps future customer acquisition.
Once your program is in place, do not sit back and let it just run. Consistently seek out new ways to increase engagement or add unique benefits based on the season or environment. Not only should you be tracking how often someone purchases, but you can reward those that are consistently engaging with your emails and social media posts. Send out surveys to collect feedback.
Lastly, whatever the scale of your loyalty program is, you should remember that it should be intentional each time someone interacts with your brand. Reward someone each year that they are your customer on the day they enrolled. Send them a gift on their birthday. These simple ways show that you see them more than a transaction because they are worth more than that.
As you focus on growing your business, do not forget to delight your current customers. Every organization should work on both these strategies with their digital marketing. At PHOS, we know how critical new and existing customers are to reaching your goals.
Connect with us, and we’ll help you identify opportunities to capture both.