Customer loyalty marketing places a focus on retaining customers rather than simply acquiring new ones. Many companies suffer from a missed opportunity as they cast the net wider and wider, hoping to grow revenue with new leads, rather than continuing to nurture existing customers who are already familiar with the brand. That’s where loyalty marketing comes in.
Let’s start with a definition…
What is customer loyalty and why is it important?
Loyalty marketing is a strategy that continues to engage past customers in order to turn them into repeat customers. This is a financially smart move since, according to Forrester research, acquiring a new customer is 5X more expensive than selling to a current one.
It makes sense; with existing customers, you can skip through the top phases of the sales funnel. Unlike potential customers, they’re already aware of your brand and have interest in your product or service. Instead, you can skip ahead to enticing them with some type of incentive to buy from you again, cross-sell, or upsell them to another product. These customers can also become a great resource in telling others about your brand.
Previous customers are also more likely than cold leads to convert and make another purchase. You can save both time and money in your marketing campaigns by focusing at least some of your efforts on building a loyal customer base with contact information and data you already have. Creating specialized offers, rewards programs, and push campaigns while executing stellar customer service are all effective tactics that grow a loyal customer base.
Let’s talk about the loyalty loop
Before you launch a loyalty campaign targeting previous customers, it’s important to understand the average train of thought an individual goes through after making a purchase. Known as the loyalty loop, this process helps you create a buyer persona for existing customers in your database. The loyalty loop describes how individuals evaluate their purchasing decisions, which forms a basis for purchasing decisions in the future.
There are six phases of the loyalty loop:
- Considering: This early stage of the loop involves a previous customer thinking about all the brands they know of who can provide the product or service they’re looking for.
- Evaluating: With a few brands in mind, the customer now evaluates their options by researching online and reaching out to family and friends for opinions.
- Buying: Here the customer chooses a brand and makes the purchase.
- Enjoying: In this stage, the customer ideally enjoys the purchase, whether through the ease of the purchasing experience, the excellent customer service, the product itself, or a combination of all these variables.
- Advocating: With enough of a positive experience, the customer could now become a brand advocate. This involves actions like recommending your brand to family and friends, posting on social media, and submitting a positive online review.
- Bonding: The final stage involves creating a lasting connection between your brand and loyal customers.
Understanding each of these stages allows you to create a comprehensive loyal marketing strategy that deepens the brand’s relationship with existing customers.
How to use email marketing in your customer loyalty efforts
Launching a successful loyalty marketing strategy is easy because you likely already have the customer’s data. That makes it simple to craft a plan and deliver your message directly into their inbox. There are a variety of different email campaigns you can use to segment past customers and automate your nurturing program. All email examples below are courtesy of Really Good Emails.
Engaging customers right off the bat is the best way to lay a strong foundation that encourages them to make future purchases. Check out the great welcome email example above from subscription-based language learning software, Babble. The email invites the reader to get involved with Babble in a few different ways. A series of welcome emails can also be automated to send in intervals following a purchase. Immediately thank them for their purchase and invite them to join your loyalty/rewards programs (more on that in a minute).
It’s also smart to follow up about the purchase itself. Invite them to resources that are relevant to utilizing your product or service. You can also ask them to take a feedback survey and/or leave a public review, like this example from Vuori does. Other personalized recommendations based on their purchase history can also be sent.
Even if you haven’t reached out to past customers in a long time, you can create a campaign to re-engage them with the brand. Offer a high-value incentive, such as a discount or value-driven lead magnet download to spark renewed interest. This example offers readers free shipping as an incentive to come back and make another purchase.
Abandoned cart emails
Whenever a potential customer adds an item to their cart without completing the purchase, you can set a trigger for a follow-up email that encourages them to check out. It’s even more effective if you have a rewards program to remind them of the extra benefits associated with hitting the buy button.
Email rewards campaigns
Round out your loyalty marketing campaigns with a variety of special offers. These can include things like a referral bonus, discounts/promo code, or early access to a deal. Just make sure it’s relevant to your customer’s needs. Also consider creating an exclusive offer just for current customers, such as a VIP program or a paid loyalty program that includes perks like ongoing discounts or freebies. This example from Southwest Airlines offers a discount on rewards travel, encouraging readers to act on their loyalty account.
While these five campaigns may seem like a lot to get in motion, it’s actually easy to automate all of these campaigns with the right audience segmentation tool like MessageGears.
The role of SMS in your customer loyalty program
Just like email campaigns, you can also use SMS marketing to engage customers and initiate repeat purchases and referrals. Consumers are relying on their smartphones more than ever, making it easy to connect through texts.
If you already have a loyalty program, promote the benefits to your SMS list; and conversely, promote your text message features to your email list. Accruing points or discounts can quickly boost engagement and sales.
As you grow your SMS list, there are several effective loyalty marketing strategies to encourage purchases and grow sales.
Send loyalty program updates
Whenever a customer accrues new points, send an automated text letting them know that their purchase resulted in accruing new points.
Give loyalty balance reminders
Set a reminder to send a balance alert on a regular basis if the customer hasn’t made a recent purchase.
Offer double or triple points
Create a marketing campaign during which points are worth double or triple their value on any purchase made during that day or week.
Create a VIP tier system
Boost personalization by creating a tiered system with different levels. This makes people feel more exclusive as they earn more points and gain access to better offers.
Allow points to expire
There’s no better motivator to make a purchase than the risk of losing rewards points! Set the expiration details in your loyalty program’s terms and conditions, then send reminders out before a customer’s points are set to expire.
How push notifications keep your customers engaged
Push notifications send your customers alerts from your mobile app. They’re another helpful tool in boosting engagement and encouraging sales. Even if your company’s app isn’t open on your customer’s phone, they can receive a personalized message from your brand as long as they’ve enabled push notifications. Copy is key, since the amount of text is often limited in a push notification.
So how do you interact with customers via push notifications? You can send them updates anytime new content is published on your website or social media platforms. You can also notify them about rewards, sales, and other offers as they occur.
Here are some more update ideas to consider with examples included above:
- Haven’t visited your website recently
- Abandoned cart
- Price drop on previously purchased products
- Product launch
Push notifications can quickly boost sales by regularly reminding customers in a way that feels completely personalized, despite being an automated process.
Let’s see how they work together
Creating cross-channel experiences is simple with MessageGears. After customizing your choice(s) of SMS, Push, and Email templates with our easy to use Drag-and-Drop UI, you can create a campaign in seconds.
Before launching the campaign, users have the ability to choose any variation of Push, SMS, or Email channels to send the campaign to.
There are plenty of personalization capabilities that MessageGears has to offer, so the possibilities are endless!
For those serious about loyalty, partner with a robust customer engagement tool
MessageGears is the only customer engagement platform that connects directly to your data, wherever it lives. With MessageGears you can take advantage of all the data you have, live and in real time, for personalizing the campaigns they send.
In addition, because we are an open-source platform, there is no defined schema to limit how you use your data.
You’ll be able to build out your audiences for cross-channel marketing campaigns using your existing set up and reap the benefits of a more holistic customer experience.