This time of year, there are always new lists showcasing what’s going to be hot in the new year. But much like we’ve all reflected on our own lives this past year, we wanted to look to 2016 for some inspiration on top loyalty trends that are still producing results today.
These three loyalty trends are proven to stand the test of time and continue to increase engagement and retention.
Your Customers are Your Best Marketers – and Not Just Through Word of Mouth
With review sites, local recommendations and social networks at everyone’s fingertips, it’s no surprise that using your customers as a marketing tool can help expand your prospects.
Whether your customers are sharing their experiences with you on social media, through public or private reviews (such as with Listen360) or referring their friends online, incentivizing and encouraging your customers to spread the word about your business – and rewarding them for doing so – helps to increase your current customer loyalty while also growing your business organically.
How can you do this? Think about hosting a contest in your business, with a prize going to whoever brings in the most friends during the month of January. You can keep track of referrals manually or use an automated rewards program to help make the process easier.
Gamification Makes Loyalty and Engagement Easy – and Enjoyable
Your customers have been playing games their whole lives – oftentimes, even when they don’t realize it. By using the principles of gamification in loyalty programs (and in your business in general), you create a fun experience both inside your business and when your customers are engaged with you outside of your business.
Try gamifying your customer’s engagement with you by offering points or discounts to those that complete certain actions, whether that’s coming into your business or checking in to Facebook each time they visit. This can be done easily and automatically with a points-based loyalty program.
You could also further gamify your customers actions by giving extra points or prizes for those customers that complete actions several times or during specific times of day. For example, you can offer double points to those that come in during your slow hours, or 50 extra points to your customers that make it into your business more than five times in a month.
In the end, both your business and your customer benefit from their actions – and your customer has fun in the process.
Customer Loyalty is About Changing Behaviors
2016 made it clear that creating customer loyalty is all about changing behaviors and making your business a habit for your customers.
To do so, you need to make your loyalty program a key component of your business’s strategy. You can tie it into other aspects of your business, such as your point-of-sale system, your marketing and your social media. You can also place emphasis on certain behaviors that your think will benefit your business (and your customers) the most.
For example, if you own a gym, the act of your customers coming into your gym multiple times a week helps to build loyalty. Once they’re in your gym, you can incentivize them further by offering points for spending money at your juice bar or merch shop, or for bringing their friends along to try out your machines. Either way, getting them through the door more often will give them more opportunities to complete those actions that are beneficial to your business, while also helping them build a habit of coming to the gym regularly.
Ultimately, loyalty is a win-win solution for both your customer and your business. Keep these aspects of loyalty in mind when building out your business strategy for the new year.