For a marketer, brand loyalty is hugely important. That can’t be stated enough. It’s one thing to attract new customers to your business or product, but keeping the same customers and allowing them to provide word-of-mouth marketing for you is what will separate your business from your competition and give you long-term success. That’s right – you can actually get your loyal customers to advertise for you with the right strategies in place.
In addition to the longevity of your business, as little as a 2% increase in customer retention can lower your marketing costs by up to 10%. Imagine what putting more of your focus on retention could do for your budget.
Unfortunately, far too many marketers make the common mistake of not fully understanding their target audience. Again, it’s one thing to try to get new customers. But, your target audience should also consist of the people who are already loyal to your product, or people who have purchased from you in the past but are still on the fence about whether to commit to your brand or not.
So, what can your marketing team do to increase brand loyalty, build customer retention, and boost the long-term success of your brand? Let’s take a look at three different strategies you can put into place.
1. Apply Marketing Psychology Strategies
Branding has more to do with psychology than most people realize. To keep this concept simple, try to think of a time when you, personally, felt a specific way about a brand. Maybe you were at a fast-food chain restaurant and they got your order wrong, or the food was cold when you received it. You could’ve gone to another location, ordered the same thing, and had a great experience. But, because of that one bad experience, it likely changed the way you felt about that chain for a long time. Maybe you didn’t go there again for years. Maybe you speak negatively about it to others.
Think about that when it comes to your own brand and people’s experiences. If someone has had a negative experience, it’s your job as a marketer to follow the seven steps to changing behavior, which include:
- Interrupting the pattern (the way the customer sees you)
- Creating comfort
- Leading their imagination
- Shifting their feeling
- Satisfying the critical mind
- Taking actions
- Changing the associations
You can, indeed, “win back” customers and convince people to spread the good word about your business, but it’s about tapping into their minds to do so.
Even if people have had a good experience with your brand, psychology techniques can help to bring them back more often.
Everything from the colors of your logo to the words you use in your campaigns can influence people in different ways. Take a look at Starbucks. Their green logo boasts their commitment to fair trade coffee and social responsibility across the globe. The Starbucks rewards program has over 16 billion members, and those members contribute about 40% of all transactions. There are plenty of tools you can, including Adobe Spark and Adobe Color, use to boost your visual marketing and further tap into the psychology of marketing with the imagery you choose to represent your business.
2. Respond to Reviews – Even Negative Ones
It’s not uncommon to receive negative reviews from time to time, despite your best efforts. It happens to every business. What makes a difference is how you handle those reviews. Ignoring them won’t make them go away, and if you don’t respond to them, it will let other potential customers and even your loyal customers know that you aren’t putting in the effort to make changes or make things right.
More often than not, a negative review can be turned around with a simple response from you. It’s usually about a customer who didn’t have a positive experience. Even responding and apologizing is a good place to start. If you can go one step further to rectify the situation, that’s even better.
When you do respond to a review (and you should do so as quickly as possible), it’s important to apologize the correct way. Even if you feel you didn’t do anything wrong or the customer’s complaint is unreasonable, the right kind of apology is necessary. Listen to what the review is really saying, acknowledge it publicly and take responsibility, and offer explanations as to what may have happened. Keep in mind, there’s a difference between explaining and excusing yourself.
Finally, tell the customer what you’re willing to do to make the situation right for them. Give them options for what you can provide and put them back in the driver’s seat to make that decision.
The more communicative you are when it comes to negative reviews, the better. If you show you care, even someone who wrote a negative review may be more likely to buy from you again, because they know you value them. They also might be more inclined to tell their friends and family about your business and how you handled the issue.
A Nielsen report found that 92% of consumers are more likely to trust the opinions of friends and family members about a business, rather than viewing traditional advertising. So, showing you care about the people who are reviewing your company is a great place to encourage word-of-mouth advertising. While a negative review might seem bad for business on the surface, you can actually turn it around into something that will boost your business and attract more customers to see what you have to offer.
3. Create a Welcoming Website
Your website goes hand-in-hand with user experience. It’s often the first impression someone will have of you when they haven’t yet been to your business. A positive user experience on your website can sometimes be enough to turn someone from a potential customer into a loyal one.
If your website is difficult to navigate, cluttered, or hard to understand, people aren’t going to stick around to look at it. In fact, they’ll probably click away in a matter of seconds and go to a competitor’s site that is more user-friendly. Invest in user experience (UX) by either having someone knowledgable on your staff create a killer website or hiring a third party to do it. When you do choose to invest in your UX, 15.8% of customers are more likely to stay with your brand.
A user-friendly website should be accessible to all people, even those who aren’t in your target demographic. It should also load quickly, or people will click away. Perhaps most importantly, it needs to be mobile-friendly. About 72% of people will only use their phones to get on the Internet by the year 2025. So, if your site looks great on a desktop but scattered and impossible to navigate on a smartphone, you’ve got a big problem when it comes to UX.
Not sure what customers are looking for in a website? Do some research on your own by visiting competitors’ websites. What do you like, what don’t you like? What would turn you away as a customer? Then, compare those characteristics to your own site to determine where you can make improvements. You can also ask friends, family, and even employees to look at your website and make suggestions. Investing enough time and money into your website to create a positive user experience will be worth it when it comes to bringing customers back again and again.
Bonus – Stay Social!
It’s worth mentioning that another great way to encourage loyalty is to get social. Make sure your business is on every social media platform that makes sense. About 74% of Facebook users in the U.S. get on the site at least once a day. Every time they do, it’s an opportunity for you to connect. Facebook allows you to look at the analytics of who is stopping by your page, who’s having conversations, and who’s “liking” you. You can use those numbers to focus on your target audience and bring back people for more.
If someone has a question on Facebook, answer it. If they leave a positive comment, respond. People are more likely to stick with your company if they sense the humanity in what you’re doing. It makes them feel as though they can develop a relationship with the “humanness” of your business, rather than just a company trying to make money.
You can reach different demographics on different social platforms, so don’t limit yourself to just Facebook. Twitter, Instagram, and even Snapchat are all great ways to connect with different generations and to market yourself in a variety of clever and creative ways.
Brand loyalty is essential for longevity and overall success. It requires so much more than just throwing advertisements at your customers and constantly trying to target new audiences. Instead, much of your time, money, and focus should be on strengthening the relationships you already have with people who have been supporting you all along. When you do that, they’ll become advertisers and advocates for you, making your job easier in the long run, and making your business more successful.
Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer that lives in the Northwest region of the United States. She has a particular interest in covering topics related to good health, balanced life, and better living through technology. When not writing, her free time is spent reading and researching to learn more about her cultural and environmental surroundings.