Loyalty is Key: Nine Surefire Ways to Keep Customers Coming Back
Most businesses know that retaining a customer is much easier—and cheaper—than acquiring a new one, and the numbers don’t lie.
According to Business Wire, a satisfied customer will share their brand experience with at least 11 people. The same study states that 70% of customers would spend more to do business with a company that delivers top-notch service.
Additionally, Mintel’s Global Consumer Trends Report for 2021 says that today’s consumers prefer brands that support causes they believe in—and many will boycott brands they see as unethical.
No matter how big or small your company is, the key to achieving customer loyalty is clear. If you take care of your customers, stay true to your vision, and connect with them on an emotional level, it can be a match made in heaven.
So, how do you build loyalty and keep your customers coming back? Well, we have a few ideas.
Read on for nine great loyalty program ideas that enhance your brand and speak to your audience in ways they will love.
9 Ways to Boost Customer Loyalty for the Win
From custom printed products to members-only events, driving loyalty and encouraging word of mouth is key to success.
Groucho Marx famously once said, “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.” Fortunately for businesses today, most people don’t feel the same. In fact, according to the Bond Loyalty Report, 71% of consumers who are part of membership programs say it is a meaningful part of their relationships with brands.
The nice thing is, memberships come in many different forms and can be structured in a number of ways - from on-site premiums and VIP service to monthly subscriptions, the options are limitless.
Little Beast Brewing, for example, offers members-only beers in their subscription boxes—small-batch, one-off brews that you won’t see anywhere else.
Mumm Napa on the other hand, provides its members free VIP tastings, deep discounts, plus a first crack at new releases.
Memberships offer exclusivity, access, and prestige, encouraging loyalty by making your customers feel special.
Digitally-managed membership programs also support a high level of personalization, which speaks to the customer’s individual preferences, creating an emotional bond with the brand. According to McKinsey, personalized membership programs boost sales by 15-20% and customer satisfaction by 20%.
Memberships take effort but it is a surefire way to keep your customers coming back.
2. Mug Clubs
If you run a restaurant or bar, mug clubs are a great way to encourage loyalty at the on-premise level.
Here’s how it works: customers purchase a mug for a yearly fee and enjoy discounts on select products, exclusive invites, members-only parties, free swag, or whatever makes sense for the brand or location.
The type of mug club membership you choose to run will depend on what you want to accomplish. For example, your mug club might be challenge-based, where if the member tries a certain number of beers over a period of time, they win a prize, free swag, or recognition.
Or, you could go the value route and offer a free beer once a week, like they do at Richmond Republic Draught House in San Francisco. At $250 a year, the cost of entry is higher than your average mug club, but if you’re a true craft beer aficionado and take full advantage of your membership perks, the cost represents pretty amazing value.
Racking up points on a loyalty card is a great way to keep customers coming back. Assign points to specific products, bonus points for reorders, or allow members to do a meet and taste with the people responsible for making their favorite products.
Loyalty card ideas might include frequent buyer programs, where the 10th purchase is free (or they get something extra); referral rewards; buy-one-get-one; or bonus points programs where featured products are worth more points on certain days.
Tiered loyalty programs encourage customers to buy more for more substantial perks. With Expedia’s loyalty program, for example, the more you travel, the deeper the discounts, free nights, or upgrades you’ll receive.
Sephora’s tiered loyalty card program gives customers the option to spend their points on products while shopping or choose premium rewards from their Rewards Bazaar. How well does it work? According to their case study, the program boasts 17 million members in North America alone, with these members responsible for 80% of company sales.
In the spirit of friendly competition, why not gamify your loyalty program? If you’ve got a particularly extensive selection, incentivize the exploration by offering premiums or free stuff once they’ve purchased X number of products, cocktails, beers, etc. Go a step further and offer a “grand prize” for whoever hits the threshold first!
Other ways you can gamify the loyalty experience include prize wheels, rewards calendars, social media contests, and daily prizes that qualify for a grand prize. You can even gather insights from your participants through quizzes and polls. It’s a great way to learn about what your customers want and get them engaged.
5. Custom Printed Products
Custom printed products are popular, especially practical items like keychains, bottle openers, coasters, fridge magnets, license plates, or water bottles. Custom branded items with your logo and message are cool; plus, you’ll be on their mind every time they use them.
And while glassware is in short supply of late, there are lots of other options for businesses looking to brand up their audience. Cool designs or slogans on branded t-shirts are a hot commodity for many brands.
Take Halfway Crooks for example. Their merch, branded with funny, off-beat, beer-centric slogans, runs the gamut from hoodies and shirts to hats and even onesies for the future beer drinkers in the family. With simple, impactful slogans like “Lager Lager Lager Lager,” their branded products have become a cult must-have for beer drinkers everywhere.
6. Free Swag
Everybody loves free stuff. Plus, if they already love your product, they’ll be proud to be a brand advocate – wearing your shirts, hats, and whatever else you have to offer. Don’t be afraid to attach free items to causes you care about, too.
For example, earlier this year, Samuel Adams and Budweiser both offered free stuff to people who could prove they’d gotten vaccinated against COVID-19.
7. Birthday Clubs
Nothing says “you matter” more than being remembered on your birthday! Birthday clubs help your loyal customers celebrate; what you offer is up to you.
At Denny’s, for example, you can get a free Grand Slam breakfast on your birthday, while Starbucks offers its members a free beverage of their choice.
If you’re a restaurant, a free appetizer, dessert, or menu item of their choice always brings them in. For tasting rooms, extend the invite to four of their closest friends and make it a party.
The options for birthdays are endless and can be as simple or as extravagant as you want.
8. Members Only Events
Exclusive experiences are often just as meaningful—and coveted—as the product itself. Offering entry to members-only events is a way to reward your customers with something unique and solidify your brand’s place in their hearts.
Whether you do this as a yearly gala or as a monthly “meeting,” like The Exchange Brewery’s Growler Club, think about what you can do to dial up the wow factor. Tours, classes, tastings, pairings, or “meet the maker” events invite engagement and keep them coming back.
9. Walk the Talk
Today’s consumers choose brands based on their values. According to a global study, consumers are 4 times more likely to purchase from companies that have a strong purpose.
And it’s not just the causes you get behind or how well you reward your customers; it’s also about how you staff your company (diversity and inclusion, hello!) and how you treat your employees. You need to make a strong statement of principles and stand behind them.
Listen to what’s being said, engage with your audience, and you’ll know what matters to them.
Are you looking for ways to help drive loyalty among your customers? Stomp has a huge selection of printable products. We can’t wait to see your brand in the wild!
- Marketing Team