By Brian Meert
Acquiring new customers is a must in growing your business, but it’s also equally important to build a rapport with your current customers. It’s not enough to be the chosen brand for a one-time purchase—you need to become the go-to brand for their desired products or services.
How do you become the chosen brand? Let’s explore the ways you can cultivate loyalty with your customers.
1. Establish a unique brand
It’s difficult to become customers’ go-to if you don’t have a strong, unique brand identity. You must separate yourself from your competitors and improve brand “stickiness” with your target audience. Otherwise, people will forget about you as time passes. However, if you have a distinct brand identity, customers will likely remember you and return to you for your products or services.
To create a strong brand identity, define your company values and mission, ensuring they are in line with the values of your target demographic. Incorporate your values into your visual assets, such as your logo or newsletters, creating a visual presence that will make your brand memorable. Also, create a unique brand voice that you will use to communicate with customers, whether that’s through social media posts, or press releases.
2. Create valuable, high-quality products
A report by Yotpo on the state of customer loyalty, shows that 55.3% of U.S. internet users cite high-quality products as the most important factor in deciding whether to be loyal to a brand. For 51.3% of U.S. internet users, low-quality products are the primary reason to drop a brand. For this reason, it’s important to sell high-quality products—that’s what will get people to come back to you.
Of course, you can’t sell one high-quality product and expect customers to pledge their loyalty. According to the same study, for 37% of U.S. internet users, it takes more than five purchases to decide whether they want to be loyal to a brand. Meanwhile, 12% say it takes only two purchases. When you provide high-quality products, customers will have more confidence in your brand.
3. Provide excellent customer service
Citing again the same study, 7.1% of U.S. internet users say excellent customer service contributes to brand loyalty. That’s not surprising. Customers are unlikely to return to a brand if they had a difficult or unpleasant experience. However, they are likely to return to a brand if customer service was able to meet their needs or solve their problems.
There are many ways to deliver excellent customer service. For example, if customers need to return a product either because it was defective or it didn’t arrive in the mail, provide a full refund, offer a free exchange, or ship a brand new product for free.
4. Provide a personalized experience
Personalization helps customers feel special. They’re not just one-in-a-million money-making machines. They’re people. Contrary to common belief, personalization isn’t simply addressing customers by their names in every email it’s also about tailoring the entire brand experience to their needs and desires.
For example, if you know that a portion of your customers are eager to purchase the release of your new lipstick line, send email updates to only that portion of your audience, not to the audience that are more interested in your line of perfumes. Of course, creating a personalized experience requires collecting customer data. Make sure to abide my local regulations in the handling of their data.
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5. Be ethical
It’s important to run your business ethically. How can consumers expect to trust a brand that has no moral compass? Consumers admire brands that have ethical standards, that place people before profit. Promote the ways that you are helping the community. Show how you’re treating your employees as human beings, not as money-making machines.
Again, refer back to your company values. Does your company value sustainability? Does it value employee safety over profit? Make these known across social media, advertisements, your website, and newsletters.
6. Be diverse and inclusive
There’s one generation that’s gaining buying power: Gen Z. According to Pew Research Center, this generation is the most racially and ethnically diverse. For this reason, it’s important to focus on diversity and inclusivity.
To foster loyalty with Gen Z, your communications should feature diversity and inclusivity. For example, feature more people of different ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, or sizes in your ads and social media posts. When your brand shows diversity and inclusivity, this generation will be more responsive and more loyal.
7. Provide convenience
It’s important to ensure customers can purchase your products or services in the easiest way possible. The faster they can get their products, the better. There are many ways to provide convenience. You can offer expedited shipping. You can offer live chat services in addition to phone or email support. If you want to appeal to a technologically adept audience, you can even offer mobile payments.
If customers remember their interaction with your brand to be a pleasant one, they will be more inclined to purchase from you again.
Cultivating customer loyalty takes time. Some customers are more difficult to win over than others. Be steadfast in your strategy, put your customers first, and everything will fall into place.
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