In a recent survey of small businesses by Stomach, 70% of the revenues of the small businesses surveyed came from loyal customers and not New those. Even if you are selling something that people only need once (coffins, maybe?), There is still the power of referral that you can capitalize on. So how do you keep customers coming back or how do you encourage them to recommend other people to you?

One of the most popular ways to do this is through a formalized program. From the book Marketing metrics: the definitive guide to measuring marketing performance, it is 50% easier to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one, much less expensive too (around 5 to 10 times less). Your existing customers already know, love and trust you. You just need to give them reason to think about you before they go anywhere else.

Many business owners think their product or service is so great that they don’t need to implement any loyalty program. Providing great service will help you make a good impression, but like any relationship, you need to continually invest in it. After all, buying something for your partner on Valentine’s Day doesn’t give you a Get Out of Jail Free Card for the rest of the year and this nobody adores you. You have to prove yourself to your customers over and over again.

Loyalty and sponsorship programs take many forms including apps, punch cards, gift cards for referrals and discounts for return business. A customer retention strategy, such as a loyalty or referral program, can help you stay in the minds of customers, keep them coming back on their purchases, and make them enjoy doing business with your company. business.

These programs are extremely important to your bottom line, yet many companies do them wrong. According to the survey of customer loyalty for the 2015 Conference, US households belong to approximately 29 loyalty programs. However, they are only active (earning or redeeming at least one per year) in only 12 of them. If you are planning to implement one and don’t want to waste the money on your time and effort, you need to make sure that your customers take advantage of your business for their loyalty. Here’s what you need to remember:

Facilitate participation

According to statistics from Bain and Co. published in Harvard Management Update, 80% of companies surveyed thought they were providing superior Customer service. It turns out that only 8% of their customers think the same. It’s a big difference. Don’t let the ego and the belief that everyone is happy with your service and product keep you from becoming your customers’ ideal.

Loyalty and referral programs make your customers feel good about doing business with you. They encourage and reward repeat buying behaviors and focus on the customer, or at least that’s what they see. Take a look at the 7-Eleven loyalty app. It works the same as a punch card. For each drink purchased, you receive a stamp. Drinks cost very little there and it only takes 7 to get a free purchase. They also offer special discounts and freebies at different times of the year, encouraging shoppers to purchase other items. The app’s OCR code is scanned at checkout and the bonus is immediately applied. There are no obstacles that make it difficult to be rewarded. This type of customer benefit makes 7-Eleven stand out among a multitude of options.

Bring them satisfaction

Yes, loyalty programs are free for loyal customers, but they can be much more. Give your best customers the chance to take advantage of advanced versions, discounts, coupons, and information that others aren’t aware of. This not only saves them money; it gives them the impression of being part of an elite group. While they may not have the initial investment in your business, customers are the silent partner in your business success. Why not make them feel that way?

Improve sales with referral discounts

If you’re selling to other businesses, the referral discounts aren’t always so appealing because the makers are spending someone else’s money and not theirs. While employees want to stay on budget, they may not shop like they would with their own money. However, SizzleIt, a video production company, has offered significant discounts to its marketing and advertising clients to refer them to other project managers in their agency. It made the client look good as he was passing information for a company he had worked with successfully, he got a big discount for it, and SizzleIt had confidence in the “new” client because he was already working with another one. part of the business. Everyone benefited from it.

Remember that offering a loyalty or sponsorship program is not a guarantee of success. You want to make sure that whatever program you put together inspires people to continue the relationship they have with you and gives them something they value in return. After all, you don’t want to be another plastic card falling out of a keychain without anyone noticing.

This press release was produced by the Charlotte Region Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.


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