When a lead makes the conversion to a customer, you feel a sense of joy and pride. When that person comes back for more, the feeling is indescribable.
The problem for most brands is building up a successful relationship that automatically brings those individuals back repeatedly.
Learning how to create customer loyalty isn’t nearly as difficult as it may seem, especially when you take the time to break it down to your individual platforms.
Why you need to create customer loyalty programs
A customer loyalty program is a program that encourages your customers to interact and purchase from your brand.
While they’re often used to try and attract new customers, customer loyalty programs are an outstanding tool to help retain current customers and encourage brand advocacy.
When asked, 58.7% of consumers stated that the presence of a loyalty program encouraged them to continue doing business with many brands.
Now, there are several obvious reasons why customer loyalty programs benefit your customers. However, have you ever wondered how they’d benefit your brand, aside from helping your customer retention rates?
Customer loyalty boosts company growth.
From a consumer’s point of view, going through the efforts to create a customer loyalty program is for the customer’s benefit, which is absolutely true.
The idea behind these types of programs is to create a positive customer experience and encourage people to keep spending. The more customers spend, the more the brand can grow financially.
Businesses that prioritize customer service and an excellent customer experience often see an increase in their revenue. Oftentimes, that increase is between 4-8% higher than others in the brand’s particular market.
Customers build your brand reputation.
Brand reputation is everything and, to build a positive reputation, you need loyal customers who are willing to advocate for your brand.
Eighty-two percent of consumers read online reviews, and approximately 76% of consumers state that they trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation from their family members or friends.
When it comes to getting these positive reviews, it’s vital to create a trusting relationship between you and your current customers, and one of the best ways to do so is through a customer loyalty program. When utilized right, your customers will keep coming back for more, and the better their experience, the more likely they’ll advocate for your brand.
Loyalty programs can significantly increase sales
Most brands create customer loyalty programs that help customers save money on their favorite products or services. However, when utilized right, these programs can help your brand significantly increase sales. Your current customers are likely to spend 67% more, on average, than those who are new to your brand.
When asked, 95% of companies who had a customer loyalty program reported that their loyal members spent more than those who weren’t a part of their program. In that same study, 60% of companies stated that loyal customers spent 2-3 times more than non-members, and another 23% reported that their loyal customers spend 4 times more than those not participating in their loyalty program.
Popular customer loyalty programs worth considering
Before you can start learning how to use email to create customer loyalty, you’ll want first to consider what type of loyalty program you’re going to offer your customer.
There are dozens of different programs that you can utilize to create a loyal customer. Not sure where to start? Below are three of the most common customer loyalty programs brands currently utilize.
1. VIP programs
VIP programs are some of the most versatile customer loyalty programs a brand can use, as there are virtually no limitations when it comes to designing your program. In most cases, these programs simply include signing up for an “exclusive” email list that gives them early access to special deals, product releases, and invitations to special events.
In the example below, the brand is sharing exclusive coupon codes with its VIP members to encourage them to make a purchase. They also include several product recommendations with these members to further encourage them to visit the website and use their coupon code to make a purchase.
2. Ambassador programs
Ambassador programs take VIP to a whole new level. Instead of simply including subscribers in a segmented emailing list with perks and exclusives, an ambassador program incentivizes customers to be brand advocates.
These programs encourage customers to show off their merch, advocate for the brand, and its overall mission to help bring in more potential leads.
Instead of paying these individuals for their work, brand ambassadors get perks such as extremely discounted (and sometimes free) products, special coupon codes to share with their friends and followers, and exclusive access to brand staff, events, and new releases.
For example, Just Strong is a female-owned brand that encourages the support of females looking to better themselves through fitness. Those who become brand ambassadors get a variety of perks, including:
- Discounted products
- Invitations to brand events
- Access to an exclusive Facebook community and more
Source: Just Strong
3. Referral programs
Finally, when creating customer loyalty, one of the most popular programs is the referral program. These programs encourage current customers to invite their friends and family (and even social media followers) to try the brand and/or service.
In exchange, for every referral who makes a purchase or signs up for the brand’s email list, the original customer earns so many points. These points can often be redeemed for free products or money off a purchase.
Watch the quick video below to learn how referral emails can improve your business:
The cosmetic brand Urban Decay utilizes a referral program as part of their VIP membership to encourage customers to refer their friends, family, and social media followers to make a purchase. We really liked this example because they not only allow you to share via social media, but allow you to share a special link via email, so that anyone you want to reach out to can have access to your referral code.
Urban Decay members earn points for each person that they successfully refer. They can later use these accumulated points to take money off a future purchase.
Source: Urban Decay
How to use email to create customer loyalty
Now that you understand some of the benefits of creating customer loyalty programs, you may be wondering how you can use email to create customer loyalty, since email marketing is the king of ROI.
There are plenty of different ways to utilize email marketing to encourage customer loyalty. We’ve touched on a few ways to encourage customer loyalty through your customer loyalty program. Now, how do you translate that into your email marketing efforts? What if you don’t have a customer loyalty program or your current subscribers haven’t taken advantage of your program?
Fortunately, there are several other ways to create customer loyalty through email marketing.
Looking for loyal customers? Then you need to make sure you’re paying special attention to each of your email subscribers. The best way to do that, aside from an email preference center, is through sending out periodic surveys and feedback emails.
If you want to encourage your customers and subscribers to advocate for your brand, reaching out to them to get their opinions is a great way to get the ball rolling. While most customers have no problem writing a bad review or complaining about a bad experience, they may need a little encouragement to leave positive feedback.
Even if they didn’t have a positive experience, knowing that you’ve reached out to get their honest opinion looks good on your part.
Source: Really Good Email
Data-based emails are emails sent out automatically based on a user’s specific data, such as their join date or birthday. When trying to create loyal customers, you must do your part to single them out and show them that you’re paying special attention to them and their activities. Another excellent example of data-based emails that encourage loyal customers is milestone emails.
Recognizing your customers individually is a great way to build strong relationships, and those relationships often evolve into happy, loyal customers.
Source: Really Good Emails
Another excellent way to build loyal customers is to include them in your brand as often as you can. This means going beyond the traditional inventory updates and product launch announcements. This means giving your customers a behind-the-scenes look into your staff, their activity, and any other brand news that isn’t shared with the “general public.”
A great example of this can be seen in the example below from the team management brand Asana. Although they’re promoting their brand, they’re doing it by showcasing how their team uses their product behind the scenes.
Source: Really Good Emails
When it comes to learning how to use email to create customer loyalty, there are several different methods you could try utilizing, including:
- Surveys/Feedback emails
- Data-based emails
- Brand updates
Looking for more information on customer loyalty programs? Be sure to check out our list of 5 customer loyalty program ideas for email marketers.