Loyalty programs can be a winning proposition for both small businesses and their customers when they’re set up correctly. Many small businesses feel that they can’t compete with bigger companies when it comes to loyalty programs, but that’s simply not true. A good loyalty program simply takes a bit of creativity, care, and technology.
Make it easy to sign up
A loyalty program for your business shouldn’t be complicated for you or your customers. Don’t ask for more information than you need, and don’t make your customers sign up for a special account if you can avoid it. I prefer to ask for emails only and to email out special perks to these customers. While this is extremely basic marketing, if it’s executed right, it’s effective with little headaches on your end.
Offer something right away for signing up
Customers aren’t motivated to sign up for a loyalty program if the rewards are far off. Offer something in exchange for your customer opting in, and make it as good as you can without jeopardizing future sales. Of course, your loyalty reward should be related to your business or service and should showcase what you do. Realtors may want to offer a free market analysis or ebook about selling your house. A local sandwich shop may want to offer a free sandwich, no strings attached.
Give a surprise right away
This is possibly my best secret for loyalty programs: you need to over-deliver right away, starting with your first communication with the customer. The surprise doesn’t have to be big, but it should be a little extra something included with the freebie you’re giving away. In the realtor example, you could include a free, high quality grocery bag mailed to the customer’s house. (These are in high demand in areas like mine where plastic grocery bags have been banned.) The sandwich shop could do something as simple as give away a free fountain drink with that free sandwich.
Continue to give freebies periodically – good ones!
One of the best loyalty programs I belong to is for the chain restaurant Noodles & Co. They send me regular coupons, which are nice, but sometimes they send me an email for free meals for two at one of their locations. Every time I get an email like that, it blows me away, and there’s no way I’m ever unsubscribing from the Noodles loyalty program. Be generous with your best customers, and they’ll reward you with continued loyalty.
Have I shown you how easy it is to run an effective loyalty program for your small business? If you want to get started, we can help you build an effective email and / or web based loyalty program. There’s no better way to reach your best customers for practically no cost.
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