The Ultimate Guide to Building Brand Loyalty That Lasts
Customer loyalty is essential if you want your brand to succeed. While you should always try to attract new customers, it is even more important to keep your existing customers coming back.
It's actually quite simple when you think about it. Loyal customers that trust your brand are more likely to spend more money with you and spread positive messages about you.
Below, we'll go into detail about how you can build brand loyalty, retain customers, and why this is important.
- Understanding Brand Loyalty
- Building Brand Loyalty
- Strategies for Increasing Brand Loyalty
- Retaining Brand Loyalty
- Successful Brand Loyalty Examples
- Challenges and Pitfalls to Avoid
Brand loyalty boils down to how likely customers are to keep purchasing from your brand. But, it is a little more complicated than that. Some consumers may purchase from a brand if they offer products that are cheaper, or if it is more convenient to support them.
Real brand loyalty is when customers will go out of their way to purchase products from a particular brand. Consumers are usually loyal to brands if they offer products and services with unmatched quality, have stellar customer service, and have values that consumers can identify with.
The best ways to start building brand loyalty are by:
- Focusing on your customer service: Customers want to feel like they are being taken seriously, and that they are being heard.
- Personalizing the customer experience: Customers like to deal with real people, and feel that they are appreciated. Using personal messages will help with this.
- Leveraging positive customer feedback: Customers like to know what other people are saying about your brand, and it's great if you can show them positive feedback.
One of the best strategies you can use to increase brand loyalty is by offering a loyalty program to your customers. This will keep them coming back, so they can take advantage of these rewards.
Once your business has built strong brand loyalty, you will have to work to retain it, because if you start slacking your customers will take notice. You can do this by being consistent with the way you deal with customers. You can also do this using content marketing.
Some companies with great brand loyalty include Sephora, Barnes & Noble, and Starbucks. Their customers are loyal to these brands, as they all offer great rewards programs, and have created great images for their brands.
Finally, you should avoid guessing what your customers will like, don't make promises your brand can't keep, and be consistent with everything your brand does.
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Understanding Brand Loyalty
Brand loyalty refers to how likely customers are to continue buying from a particular brand. But, this isn't entirely true, as if customers purchase more than one product or service from your brand, it doesn't always mean they are loyal customers.
Sometimes your offering is a little cheaper, or it might be more convenient for a customer to choose your brand over a competing brand. True brand loyalty is when customers have positive feelings about a particular brand and will choose it over another brand at nearly all costs.
This customer loyalty doesn't just come out of thin air. Brand loyalty is driven by a few factors that all relate to customer satisfaction including:
- Offering the best products or services in your niche.
- Providing stellar customer service.
- Having brand values that customers can identify with.
Building Brand Loyalty
Now that you know what it is, you might be wondering how to create brand loyalty. There are actually a few methods you can implement if you want to build brand loyalty.
Focus on your customer service
Your brand can offer the best product quality around, but if your customer service is not up to scratch, your customers won't come back. Interacting positively with customers when they have a query or problem can be the difference between gaining loyal customers, and losing new customers.
People talk, and your customers do, too. And whether they have a positive or negative experience with your brand, they are likely to tell others about it. So, it is in the best interests of your business to ensure they have a positive experience.
To improve the customer service of your brand, you can:
- Respond to all customer communications: Your customers want to know they are being heard. This is why you should always try to respond to your customers when possible, regardless of what they are saying or asking about.
- Take customer feedback: Your customers are the ones that actually use your products or services. They know what they want, and they will tell you about it. You should listen to them, and try to implement the changes they want to see if you want to improve customer retention.
- Be aware of your customer's needs: You're the expert in your niche, so you should also try to predict what your customers will want before they ask for it as well. For example, if you own an online clothing store, you should offer a returns policy. Your customers will want to be able to exchange clothing that doesn't fit them without any hassles.
Display positive customer feedback
The internet and social media have made it easy for consumers to look up reviews about products and services they want to buy. While this can highlight any bad interactions with your customers, you can also use this to your advantage.
When customers leave good reviews, and provide your business with positive feedback, you should show this off. These days consumers want to know that other people like your products and services before they make a purchase.
This is why you should make sure that positive feedback is visible to anyone that searches your brand. Customers also feel good about themselves when their feedback is acknowledged, and will likely appreciate you highlighting their feedback.
Get personal with your customers
When customers have a problem or a query, they want to deal with a real person. They want to know that there are real people behind your brand who will respond to them personally if they have something to say.
There are many other ways you can get personal with your customers as well. You can send personalized thank you emails after they purchase a product or service, and ask them to provide feedback on their experience. You can even get marketing tools to do this for you automatically.
This will show your customers that you care about them, and how they feel about your business.
Strategies for Increasing Brand Loyalty
Once you have used the methods above to build strong brand loyalty, there are also other strategies you can use to further improve on it.
A loyalty program is a great way to increase customer loyalty. They show your customers that you are willing to reward them if they continue supporting your business. Your business is also spoiled for choice when it comes to the types of programs it can offer.
Rewards based on total purchases
These rewards programs are common and can be quite effective. Basically, you reward customers after they make a certain number of purchases at your brand.
These programs are often used by local coffee shops and car washes that offer you either a free coffee or car wash, once you have made the required purchases. These rewards programs encourage customers to keep coming back, so they can finally be rewarded for supporting your business.
Rewards based on total spending
If you want your customers to spend more with your brand, then this loyalty program will be perfect for your business. These programs offer customers rewards when they spend a certain amount of money.
This can encourage your customers to purchase an extra product that they normally wouldn't to receive these rewards.
Upfront paid rewards programs
This rewards program model is very clever, as it encourages to pay upfront to get access to rewards that will benefit them in the future.
An example of one of these programs would be Uber Pass. Uber Pass requires customers to pay a monthly fee to get discounts on both rides and food deliveries.
Consumers that use Uber often buy into this program, as it allows them to save money later on. This benefits Uber hugely, as it gets revenue from customers' monthly subscriptions, alongside the revenue it brings in from rides and food deliveries.
Retaining Brand Loyalty
Brand loyalty is by no means a one-and-done process. Once you earn a customer's loyalty, you will need to work to keep it. You can do this by following the methods in the sections above, but you need to be consistent about it. If you start becoming lazy with your customer service, your customers will notice, and they won't take kindly to it.
Interestingly, you can also retain brand loyalty through the content your business puts out.
Retaining brand loyalty through content
You are likely an expert in the niche your business operates in, and you should share this knowledge with your customers. By consistently posting high-quality content relating to your brand, you can gain the trust of your customers.
Regularly posting content means that your customers will regularly view your website to see what you have created. This content doesn't even need to be limited to blogs and newsletters. You can even create videos, podcasts, product demonstrations, and how-to guides.
Social media is another excellent marketing tool you can use to retain brand loyalty. By posting on social media, you can allow your customers to interact with your business and each other. In turn, you can also interact with them by replying to interesting comments, and having your say.
Successful Brand Loyalty Examples
There are many popular brands that have die-hard fans that are incredibly loyal. Below, we will provide some examples and explain why.
The coffee that Starbucks sells is expensive, yet the company does not struggle with repeat business. This is mainly because of the image Starbucks has created, but it also offers a great rewards program.
Customers can use the Starbucks mobile app to purchase coffee, and when they do they earn points in the form of stars. They can then use these stars to get rewards like discounts and free refills on filter coffee.
Sephora also has some great brand loyalty, as it has one of the most popular loyalty programs around. Sephora's Beauty Insider program works on a traditional points-based system that rewards customers for the amount they spend.
These points translate to store credit that customers can use to purchase products. However, by spending more, customers also get access to rewards like free shipping, and extra discounts.
These rewards ensure that many customers stay loyal to Sephora, and only purchase personal care and beauty products from them.
Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble takes a similar approach to Uber, as the loyalty program it offers is paid. Customers need to pay $25 each year to become VIP members, and in return, they receive free shipping, birthday discounts, early access to products, and 40% off of hardcover bestsellers in-store.
This program is offered at a relatively low cost but offers some great benefits. By buying into this program, customers are encouraged to only purchase books from Barnes & Noble so they can take advantage of the rewards program.
Challenges and Pitfalls to Avoid
While your marketing team is likely very skilled, they won't know what your customers want unless they actually ask them.
You can use things like surveys to generate accurate brand loyalty statistics to determine whether your customers are returning or not. You can also use these surveys to figure out why some of your customers aren't returning.
Be real with your customers
Your brand should never make promises that it can't keep. Consumers are incredibly discerning these days, and any mistakes you make will be highlighted by them.
This can damage your brand, and severely affect brand loyalty. This is why your brand should never overpromise and underdeliver.
Your brand should always strive to be as consistent as possible in every way. All customers should be treated equally when they have problems or queries, as once again, people talk and social media is a powerful tool.
Why is brand loyalty important?
Strong brand loyalty means higher profits as returning customers are generally willing to spend more when they trust your brand. Good brand loyalty also means better brand recognition; if customers love your brand they will tell others about it.
Finally, brand loyalty is important as it can protect your brand from changing market conditions. For example, when a new competitor with lower prices enters your niche.
How do you create an effective rewards program?
To create an effective rewards program, you need to set a goal for customers to achieve, decide how they will reach this goal, and market the program as a major benefit.