Most small business owners think they do not need a loyalty program.
They often say things like,
“We do not have the budget”
“We can’t do this, it’s too difficult”
“We’re only a small business. Not sure if this is something we need”
Small or big business, the goal is the same: to get more customers and make more money.
To get new customers, you’d invest in some form of marketing and advertising.
To convert those new customers into recurring customers, you’ll need a customer loyalty program to give them a smooth customer experience.
This study found that increasing your customer retention by 5% can boost your revenue up to 95%.
It’s not about the loyalty program, it’s about customer retention
The main reason why most businesses invest in a loyalty program is to retain their customers. Not just to shower customers with points and make them feel good, although that is part of the strategy.
Customer retention is extremely important because it is guaranteed income for your business.
Recurring customers are already familiar with your service and product – and they are more likely to spend more money with you.
New customers can and should be turned into recurring customers. In order to do that, you need to be on your game, providing them with the best customer experience, and sending them personalised promotions.
Having more loyal and committed customers leads to consistent growth and revenue for your business. It will also be easier for you to estimate your quarterly revenue and work your way up from there.
So, does your small business need a loyalty program?
Yes. Here are a few advantages of having a loyalty program for small businesses:
You get to save money
Yes, you do. Isn’t that great news?
Like we mentioned above, the cost of retaining customers is less than acquiring a new customer.
Investing in a customer loyalty program means you will be cultivating a base of recurring customers for your business.
By having a steady stream of returning customers, you can save money on advertising and trying to acquire new customers.
You get free marketing
Having a strong base of loyal customers who are big fans of your products and services is the best that could happen to you.
Customers love making recommendations to their friends, family, and even strangers! That is why sites like Google Review and Yelp are so popular among internet users.
Your loyal customers will do all the free marketing for you by posting on social media and leaving wonderful reviews for you on the internet – provided that your services are impeccable, of course.
Again, this means you can cut down on your marketing cost and invest more time and money in improving your products and services.
You’ll increase your revenue
If you use a simple yet powerful customer experience management app like Eber, you will have access to all the data about your customers’ spending behaviour and other useful information like their birthdays.
This means you can send out personalised messages like birthday promotions to your customers. You can also let them know about any new product, services, or promotions that you’re running.
This will encourage customers to come back to your store and shop – and thus boost your revenue.
Easier to manage
As a small business, it is easier to manage your pool of customers and shower them with personalised deals. You also have a chance of fostering a closer relationship with your customers.
Customers who have an emotional connection to your brand are more likely to return and shop with you.
Here are some simple loyalty program ideas for your small business:
Throw in freebies
Throwing in freebies is one of the best ways to get customers coming back.
However, beware that this strategy might make customers might expect a free gift every time they visit your store.
This is a better option to foster loyalty with your customers.
If you know of a particular customer who keeps coming back to you, surprise them with a loyalty discount on their next cup of coffee. Or throw in a free haircut with that hair treatment. They will be dying to tell all their friends about it!
Social media discounts
Foster loyalty and increase your social media likes at the same time. Get customers to like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter – and take a couple of dollars off their bill.
You can’t say no to birthdays – that’s the ultimate, golden rule.
As soon as you find out that it’s your customers birthday, do something nice for them.
Throw in a cake or a cup of coffee. Give them 50% off their bill. Upgrade their room to a suite. The possibilities are endless!
Partner with other businesses
Look around your area and scout for similar small businesses. Come up with an agreement where both of you can benefit from each other and expand your customer base.
For example, if you own a backpackers’ hostel, you can partner with a nearby diner or bar.
Your customers can get discounts when they dine at your partner restaurant.
Patrons at the restaurant can be entitled to special promotions if they decide to stay at your hostel.