Create Loyalty Programs to Create Loyal Customers

So let talk’s talk about loyalty programs. The point of a loyalty program is to make regular customers even better customers by offering them rewards for their repeat business. A loyalty program can include point systems or it can simply involve giving regular customers special treatment. Now, Loyalty programs are different from bounce backs, which we’ll discuss is a moment, but the main goal here is to get customers to come back, loyalty programs focus on strengthening the bond with repeat customers in order to increase your sales and improve reputation through word-of-mouth.

Loyalty programs or rewards programs work best on customers who already enjoy your product and service. The purpose is to take a good customer and turn them into a great customer.

Every holistic practice or business should have some kind of loyalty program in place. It can be as simple as using a punch card frequency program. A punch card frequency program is very easy to implement.

You just punch the card for every item purchased over a certain dollar amount, or you could punch it for say every $5 spent or for each visit. I know one business owner who sells bath bombs and punches the card for each bath bomb a customer buys. When they’ve got 10 punches, the customer gets a free bath bomb. But you can do this with anything- product or service.

You could punch the card for each massage or reiki treatment and give the 10th one free or give something else on the 10th punch like a free facial or a free gift basket of 3 of their favorite products.

The loyalty card is another option to consider and you don’t need to invest in expensive plastic cards with the magnetic stripe or expensive software to implement loyalty cards.

I would recommend just going to Vista and getting some free cards printed up – this is very easy to design. You can just use the business card format and edit it and call it a loyalty card. Put the terms of the program on the card too so that it’s clear. So you would just put the name of your loyalty program and state a discount percentage on every purchase right on the card.

Top customer rewards is another strategy.

Instead of a point or reward system, you could create a customer competition where the top 10 or 20 customers receive a special reward, like a free facial or treatment of some sort. You can simply keep track of regular customers’ names and count the frequency of their visits and how much they spend.

A card filing system is another great way to encourage customer loyalty.

It would be really great if a customer wanted to carry around their card, since seeing the card in their wallet will remind them of your products or services but, many customers have full wallets, and would probably appreciate it if you kept their card at your place of business.

With a good filing system, finding the cards can be fast and easy; just ask customers their name and find their card alphabetically. Or if you have computer software, you can simply keep track of their purchases electronically.

As you decide on the best loyalty program strategies for your practice or business, you should try to build up your database or your list. Having access to frequent customers’ names and emails will allow you to send rewards or other special offers in case you’re planning a promotion or if business slows down and your trying to drive more traffic.

Unfortunately, the market is flooded with loyalty programs, and for many people, joining another program just means another card to keep in the bulging wallet. The average consumer already belongs to 7 to 10 frequency programs,1 so you need to make sure yours is desirable

And here’s little tip – By adding a little element of surprise to your rewards program, you can increase a customers’ emotional bond to your business. You can keep track of your most frequent customers and surprise them with a free gift or coupon randomly, or after they have visited number of times or spent dollars.

To get the best emotional bond though, make sure it is a surprise to the customer, and also make sure that they don’t feel embarrassed or singled out by the reward.

You should also consider sending your best customers, or all of the customers in your database, a free birthday gift certificate or a special holiday offer. This will encourage them to patronize your practice or business for their special occasion, and they’ll also associate your business with a special experience.

You can be really creative in the types of rewards you give, but to be sure you’re offering a good incentive you need to:

  1. Ensure the reward is attainable for your customer
  2. And you need to Create customer specific rewards

What I mean by this is to reward different frequent customers with different gifts and customers’ purchasing habits will actually show you what they enjoy. If one customer always buys French Lavender essential oil offer him or her a free small bottle of Lavender essential oil or maybe even a free bar of French Lavender soap.

And finally – Stop offering general discounts.

These discounts are not exciting. They also hurt your revenue and make customers feel that your product is not really worth the full price.

Now, I mentioned the concept of bounce backs earlier. Let’s take a look at this one.  This is where you take a first-time customer and encourage them to come back a second time by offering them an incentive, or a “bounceback.” You all know that first impressions are very important. After all a customer does not form a commitment or develop any loyalty after a single visit or purchase. So, to create regular customers, you need to get people to return at least once more.

A bounceback is a promotional offer that you would give to a customer after a recent sale to encourage them to revisit soon, or “bounce back” to your business. A  really great strategy to try here is to offer a special deal to customers who return during off-peak hours.  This kind of thing really goes a long way to increase your overall profitability. But, I mean, bounce backs can also include any post-purchase promotion that encourages new customers to return again in the near future.

But here’s a tip – You should only give out bounce backs to new customers or customers who might otherwise be lost. Before you offer  someone a bounce back, just ask yourself, “Do I expect this customer to return again soon?” If the answer is “no” or “maybe,” then a bounce back could be an effective marketing tool. If the answer is “yes,” you should consider asking the customer to enroll in your loyalty program, instead.

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