Whether you are a sole trader, owner of a small business, or the founder of a medium-sized company, the key to growth and ongoing success is consistency. Be it the consistency of your offering, consistency of your revenue or overall messaging, finding out what works for you and replicating it is a great way to sustain and grow your company. And this is also the case for your customer base. Having a strong, loyal pool of customers that regularly come to you, or alternatively regularly recommend you, can be even more valuable than spending a lot of money, time and energy on a marketing campaign. This is the cornerstone of what is called “brand loyalty”.
What is brand loyalty?
Do you often pay attention to the logo when buying a product? Why do you prefer one manufacturer to the other? The answer is simple — the more loyal clients a brand has, the more popular it is. Long-standing loyalty to a product provides its sales growth. Companies with loyal customers could spend less on marketing and promotion, set a more profitable price, preserve their pool of clients in crisis, as well as be recognised and desired despite any reputation manipulations on competitors’ side and ill-wishers.
Accenture, an American consulting company, reports that 66% of US citizens spend more money on brands they love. Creating brand loyalty means convincing consumers that your products or services make them happy and their life unthinkable. Achieving this means a strong emotional impact on the potential buyers.
In its study, Accenture claims that 59% of Americans are more loyal to the brands which accompany any purchase with some privileges: a card with a personal discount, gift cards at a lower price or just extra bonuses. At the same time, 44% of the buyers choose companies which have previously involved the customers in developing their new product/service. 46% of the respondents also admit that their loyalty to a particular brand is directly linked to the opinion of the celebrities or bloggers they respect.
The study’s findings show that financial benefits are not the most crucial loyalty factors, including a good discount or a valuable gift. Practices illustrate that companies selling more expensive goods tend to have more loyal clients. However, the price is not the most important thing. Loyalty brand leaders prove their superiority by actions rather than words: they create a product of high quality, provide good services, and share the values of their potential customers.
How can you build brand loyalty for your business?
You can build brand loyalty in multiple ways, and each has its own benefits and uses depending on the type of business you run. However, there are a number that you should practice whether you are a goods-based commerce business, consultancy, or service-based offering.
Exceptional Customer Service
It’s as simple as treating customers as you would wish to be treated yourself. Create a great customer service experience by empathising with your customers, understanding their pains, needs and requirements, and offering them a solution at a relative cost. By focusing on this you are already well on the way there to build a good rapport with your customers. By being the solution that “fixes” these, you are putting in the cornerstone of brand loyalty in the most traditional way.
Building Personal Relationships
Treating your customers like people rather than walking pound signs is vital. Taking the time to get to know clients and customers, remembering the little details and speaking to them regularly are great for building those bonds. And even if your customer base is large or digitally based, using tools like email newsletters and surveys and interacting with them on social media (and not just for the complaints!) helps build more of a personality and person behind your brand.
Seek and Action Feedback
Many companies don’t actively seek feedback and then struggle to determine why customers don’t return. Alternatively, many businesses seek feedback and then do nothing with it. While you need to exercise a certain amount of realism regarding client and customer feedback, it gives you the insight to help build your business’s future.
If your customers’ feedback has the same trends and comments, you know it’s worth actioning. Also, even negative feedback, while it can be hard to swallow, sometimes helps deal with minor issues before they become larger ones. When your customers see that their thoughts are being listened to, it helps to strengthen that brand loyalty even more.
Finally, having a formalised loyalty programme is a great way to foster brand loyalty in an organised and time-effective way. Much like many supermarkets have their clubs and your favourite coffee shop give you a free coffee after a certain number of purchases, a loyalty programme is a tangible way to thank customers for their continued support. This can range from points collection to direct discounts or exclusive offers for members. It incentivises repeat business, showing customers that their loyalty is appreciated and rewarded.
Building brand loyalty is an ongoing activity
Brand loyalty goes beyond just making a sale and the customer committing to you for life. In today’s environment, where choices are vast, prices are undercut, and attention spans can be brief, the real challenge is forging genuine relationships with your customers and clients.
For any small business, this isn’t merely a strategy; it’s the key to building longevity with your business. As competition intensifies, businesses prioritising understanding and valuing their customers will stand out.
In essence, loyal customers are more than just revenue – they’re evidence of a business’s commitment to consistency, value, and respect. Find out more about how Virtalent can help you to build great brand loyalty with a free consultation with us today.