Brand Loyalty 101: Turning Customers Into a Lifelong Community
We all have that one brand that successfully has, in a way, stolen our hearts.
Brand loyalty is when a customer chooses your product/company over any of your competition, every single time. It’s when customers don’t need to be marketed or persuaded to make the purchase; they will always choose a certain brand regardless of other brand’s services or prices, even if they are cheaper. These companies have formed trust with their customers that runs deeper than reasons like pricing and they typically dominate their corner of the industry.
It’s important to make the distinction between customer loyalty and brand loyalty. While the former is all about prices and services, brand loyalty has more to do with people’s perception of your business and emotions associated with it. And in 2021, a lot of newer companies are lacking brand loyalty because shoppers are have easy access to compare aspects like pricing and reviews online.
Building brand loyalty is no easy feat, and in today’s blog, we’re going to break down the best strategies for building brand loyalty and turning your customers into soldiers for your business.
Be Engaging and Do It Consistently
It’s vital that you’re engaging with your customers through every channel of marketing. This includes but is not limited to emails, social media, and SMS. Customers are people, and people innately respond to connection.
Being available to connect with your customers across all channels helps personify your brand. It builds trust and lets your customers know that you and your business can be relied on. Listening is half the battle. To really show your customers that you’re hearing them you need to enact change based on what they have to say.
Now with that said, we can’t stress enough how important it is to be consistent with your communications in order to build a high level of brand loyalty. It doesn’t matter if you’re communicating to people from all channels if you’re not consistent with it.
Customers notice inconsistencies and view it as a sign of what it is – someone being unorganized and unprofessional. By maintaining a strong brand voice and outlook, customers will grow to accept that tone as who your company is and subconsciously remember. Apple is a phenomenal example of a brand that is consistently communicating across all channels with their customers, and their brand loyalty is among the highest in the world.
Reward Your Customers
People like to be cared about. When your brand rewards customers for their loyalty, they feel cared about, and in return show even more loyalty. This a cycle that becomes stronger and stronger every time a customer redeems a reward.
Take Starbucks. A brand that offers a common product at a more expensive price but has retained a ton of brand loyalty. Part of why they’re so great at this is because of the way they have “gamified” their rewards program in a way that makes customers excited to use it.
Take some time to download the Starbucks rewards app as well as some other companies’ apps that dominate their industry (McDonalds, Nike, etc.) and see how seamless and creative they’ve made it to get rewards back. Use them for inspiration and try to replicate their success on your website or through a company app as a way to build more brand loyalty.
Another great way to reward your customers is in unexpected ways. Sending them a small gift or even just a message on their birthday, or during the holidays shows that you’re thinking about them. People love to be delightfully surprised, especially when it’s from someone they wouldn’t expect it from.
Building Trust and a Community Takes Time
The best of the best didn’t do it overnight. All the brands we’ve mentioned so far have taken decades to build the loyalty they have with their customers. So if you don’t get what you want right away, it’s okay. You’re in this for the long haul and building brand loyalty is one of the things that take the longest.
A good place to get started is by building yourself up as an authority on trust. You need to position yourself as an expert in your field for customers to trust you. This requires taking reputation management very seriously and being dynamic in terms of tweaking your tone in order to earn trust from your customers.
Reviews are really important in 2021. Responding to bad reviews can be difficult, but it is important. When you respond to poor reviews it shows your customers that you care about what they have to say and will respond in a matter that remedies their issues.
It’s within our nature to show loyalty to our communities. Use this trait of human psychology to build more loyalty and trust in your company. Create online communities either on your website or even through social media with a simple hashtag. It will serve as a place for your customers to communicate with each other as well as you.
Share and Celebrate Your Customers
There’s no one customers believe more than other customers. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth. A good way to highlight and share this with your customers is by creating a testimonial page on your site.
A testimonial page is where people can see the best experiences that other people had with your brand. It differs from a review section, because you have the option to select and highlight the testimonials that you want shared. When customers see this, they can subconsciously think “if they had a great time with that business, then I will too.”
Word of mouth to this day is still the most reliable form of marketing. If you celebrate your customers by rewarding them or sharing their experiences, there’s a chance they’ll tell their friends and family about your business. So never doubt what you’re doing just because you can’t see results like word of mouth – those results will be seen in your sales.
Working with Influencers
You can build up your brand loyalty by leveraging relationships with people who have already built loyalty with their customers or fan base. Whether that is partnering with another brand or with influencers, it’s a great way to get new people to trust you.
Take the “average influencer” for example. They have tens of thousands (sometimes millions) of followers who already respect their opinion and trust them. If that person touts your brand, there’s thousands of people who will see it and at least be interested in trusting your company or learning more about it.
It’s important to remember that building brand loyalty isn’t something that you do overnight. Keep working hard on it and don’t lose patience if you don’t see it right away. In the long run, you’ll be very happy when you have a dedicated group of customers who stand by your brand regardless of what other brands in a similar category have to offer them.
As always, feel free to reach out to us directly with any questions. Also, stay tuned as we’ll have other helpful blogs coming out shortly.