Loyalty and advocacy are among the most important program areas for brands– and top of mind for many marketers in 2019 and the future. You’ve heard the old adage: “20% of customers are responsible for 80% of sales.” Loyal customers are the key to your business growth. And loyalty programs are critical to keeping consumers happy. You can’t afford to frustrate or annoy your customers. But with so many loyalty and rewards programs out there vying for consumers’ attention and money, and so many loyalty emails sent every day, it’s easy for them to get overwhelmed. On average, consumers in the U.S. belong to 13.4 loyalty programs but are typically active in only 6.7 programs.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Customer Loyalty Can Be Fleeting

How do you make your loyalty program stand out from the rest, as one your customers will love to be part of? It’s not easy. Consumers are pickier and choosier than ever. If they get frustrated or they don’t like something, they’re out of here. They’ll cancel, opt-out, or leap to another brand (your competitor) in a heartbeat.  

The reality is, most consumers would prefer not to change. They like to do business with brands they already know and trust. In fact, 77 percent of consumers reported maintaining relationships with specific brands for over ten years. But it takes hard work and creativity with your marketing programs to establish those kinds of bonds and to maintain that kind of long-term connection. 

Real-World Examples: Brands that Have Stepped Up Their Customer Loyalty Game  

It’s interesting and insightful to look at what other successful, up-and-coming brands are doing around advocacy and loyalty marketing: 

  • Uber: While the popular ridesharing service launched its official rewards program just last fall, offering riders traditional things like credits and perks that come with elite status, they really got a lot of attention early on with their rating system. Uber rates both drivers and users, in an effort to help keep the experience safe, comfortable and enjoyable for both parties; a service which has been a customer favorite.

  • Subscription box services (like Dollar Shave Club or FabFitFun): Many of these popular services have moved to distinguish their brands by offering more curated, personalized or customized experiences to appeal to customers in a stronger way.

  • Challengers to big beauty brands like Ulta and Sephora (think: Birchbox, Ipsy, Glossier) are providing more specialized interactions and choices (i.e., makeup for different genders and skin tones).  

Tips for Effective Loyalty

Your existing consumers are your profit center. They expect you to provide a better experience, especially when they offer their data. It’s critical to keep them happy and avoid churn, by repeatedly earning their trust through innovative marketing programs like those mentioned above. Here are a few tips for creating and sustaining effective loyalty: 

  • Make everything easy and convenient: It should be simple for your existing customers to interact with you and to purchase across channels, with repurchase email reminders, website personalization, auto-delivery options, and no-hassle returns. Look for ways to always be improving the post-purchase experience.

  • Use their data to get personal: Utilize the valuable information that your loyal consumers have shared with you, to offer authentic product recommendations and personalized messages at just the right time, when they can have the most impact. Use the data in your customer data platform (CDP) – both purchase history and real-time situational data – to pepper every interaction on every touchpoint with personal relevance. 

  • Look past rewards points: It’s not all about discounts and monetary incentives. Sure, those things are important. But when you only focus on those things, you risk creating high-churn buyers. Consider how to reward your loyal customers with offers that prioritize long-term, non-monetary benefits over instant gratification (recommendations, invites to special events, first access to new products, etc.).

  • Focus on the customer journey: Know where each one of your customers is in their lifecycle – and determine where you can add the most value at this point in the process, or this particular buying stage. Meet them where they are, with thoughtful personalization and timely omnichannel communications. 

Looking for more tips and best marketing practices to improve customer loyalty? Listen in on the webinar we hosted earlier in September on this important subject and learn what it takes to build lasting customer relationships. Our Selligent Marketing Cloud experts have worked with clients like Allstate, Walmart, ASDA, ING, ODEON and Wayfair. They’ll share some real-world examples and best practices from brands and answer any questions you may have. 

Stay one step ahead of your customers’ expectations and find new ways to constantly surprise anddelight them, to win when it comes to loyalty!

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Customer Loyalty in 2019 and Beyond

Loyalty is among the most important program areas for brands. Watch this on-demand webinar with Selligent Marketing Cloud and Deluxe Corporation that offers an overview of loyalty programs, the latest best practices from brands, and executional tips for B2C loyalty success.

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