When your business spends so much time trying to appeal to and acquire new customers, it’s easy to forget that the sale, or maybe donation if you’re a nonprofit, is just the beginning. Ensuring your customer base stays engaged with your brand can be harder than bringing them in in the first place. Luckily, there are plenty of strategies and tactics to keep them on board and eventually advocate for your brand.
Start by outlining the progression of your ideal customer, donor or client. Decide some type of reward for each interaction they have with you. This “reward” doesn’t have to be a discount or prize. It can be something as simple as a newsletter subscription or invitation to lunch with the CEO. When in doubt, look to airlines for loyalty programs to aspire to. Many of the airlines people feel the most loyal to may be more expensive, but those customers understand they will be rewarded down the road.
After deciding your customer path, segment your database based on their level of interaction with your company and their personal preferences and interests. Using surveys and past transactions, try to understand why they chose to interact with your company in the first place and keep them informed in those areas.
Remind customers of your values as a company. This could mean foregoing potential immediate profits by refraining from joining in a social movement or fad. Perhaps one of the best examples of using non-involvement to promote your values is REI’s #OptOutside campaign. In 2015, REI announced it would not be joining retailers across the country for Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Instead, it launched the enormously successful campaign, which has earned the company billions of media impressions and interactions on social.
Once a customer is bought into your mission, make it easy for them to display their pride in your company. When outlining your customer progression, try to build different items into their rewards. For example, a bumper sticker could accompany their first interaction, a magnet for the fifth, and maybe a sweatshirt or jacket with your logo for the 100th.
Building brand loyalty while trying to bring in new customers can be time consuming and expensive, but the benefits of building a strong community of loyal patrons is worth the effort.