The repeat customer is the lifeblood to a great many businesses. Before making marketing decisions, it is important to consider that it typically costs at least five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to cater to one you already have. Current customers also spend nearly 70% more on purchases than new ones do.
Let’s take a look at how we can make these people feel special, valued and rewarded for their loyalty in ways that will ensure they return.
It is important to craft a rewards program that works specifically with the way you run your business and reflects how you interact with your customers. Your imagination is your only limitation in devising this program, and the more ways you can creatively connect with your customers, the better.
Put yourself in their shoes and really think about what would be important to them in a rewards experience. Focus on simplicity, value and fun, taking into account their shopping habits as you ask yourself these questions:
- How frequently do your customers make purchases?
- How easy is your program to use and understand?
- What is the value of your rewards and benefits, and what kind of purchasing power do they grant your customers?
- Can you integrate social media or mobile accessibility as a component of your program?
- How is this rewards program memorable, enjoyable and unique?
Answering these questions should give you a very good idea of what rewards format would work best for your business. Systems that enable customers to accrue points with every purchase or dollar amount spent, in addition to tiered membership programs offering new benefits at each level reached, are popular and can be effective, but are not your only option. Really understanding your customer’s values and preferred purchasing process can lead you in the right direction. Perhaps a non-monetary program based on your customer’s interests, or a coalition program combining your service with those of another company’s, or even making your rewards program a game of chance, are options to be enjoyed by your loyal patrons.
A great way to jumpstart a rewards program is to offer a big bonus at the beginning leading to a larger payoff further down the road. This form of artificial advancement serves a few different purposes.
Initially, it makes it easier for customers to see the value they will be receiving in exchange for providing their contact information. It also acts as a surprisingly powerful psychological motivator. It seems that the closer we are to reaching a goal, the more likely we are to seeing that goal through to its completion. This can be a powerful tool used in the process of attracting repeat customers.
An occasional time sensitive offer can be used to create a sense of urgency and draw repeat customers back to your business for a good deal. This type of marketing has a proven track record of effectiveness, but be mindful of not over-saturating your customers with deal after deal.
Your loyal customers are a tremendous resource of information. Obtain as much feedback as you can from them and let them help you shape their rewards experience. Be timely when it comes to showing your appreciation for a purchase and be sure to offer special benefits when they refer friends and family to your business.
What customers really want is to feel recognized and cherished. The more you can create personalized and customized experiences, the more you create a human connection to your brand. Coupling an effective rewards program alongside great customer service can really make a difference in developing happy and loyal customers.
What is the best rewards program you have been enrolled in?
How often do you decline to sign up for a rewards program and for what reason do you make that decision?
About the Author
Diana Gomez is the Marketing Coordinator at Lyoness America, where she is instrumental in the implementation of marketing and social media strategies for USA and Canada. Lyoness is an international shopping community and loyalty rewards program, where businesses and consumers benefit with free membership and money back with every purchase. Check out Lyoness on Twitter.