As we have outlined on this blog in the past, customer loyalty programs are not only within reach of small businesses, they are a natural fit. Long before the introduction of points cards or buyers clubs, proprietors at small mom-and-pop stores learned that there was no better way to ensure continued business than to reward regular customers with an offer or a little something extra from time to time.
The thing that made this kind of loyalty marketing possible was the face-to-face buying experience. Seeing and speaking with customers on a regular basis made it easy to learn their preferences, gauge their interest in other products and know when the time was right for an offer or an upsell.
As we run modern-day customer loyalty programs, finding a replacement for this direct feedback is one of the biggest challenges we face. A telling example of this comes from a recent blog post that outlined three tips for loyalty marketing. The post made some great suggestions which could be summed up as: don’t over communicate, don’t under communicate, and don’t miscommunicate. However, the whole foundation of the post – the thing that gives rise to the advice – is the fact that we have lost that direct opportunity to know our customers and what their preferences are.
There is no easy answer to this challenge, but for small businesses, there are a few steps we can take to know our customers better in the modern marketplace. The first of these is to make more of an effort to measure and analyze the results of our loyalty program communications. Whether we do this via QR codes to track direct mail responses, or by reviewing our email marketing data, marketing metrics offer a pathway to better understanding our customers.
One of the other tools at our disposal is a digital survey. These are quite easy to set up and can be run in conjunction with a QR code campaign to gather much-needed insights.
Whatever method we use, it certainly pays to know our customers, just as it always has.
Get helpful tips for starting your own loyalty program in our free guide, How to Set Up a Customer Loyalty Program: Tips for Small Business Owners, or watch a recorded webinar: How To Get Started With Your Own Customer Loyalty Program.
What about you? How do you reward your regular customers? Do you have any kind of formal or informal loyalty program in place? Please share your experiences below.