Companies spend so much focus on acquiring new customers that they ignore the gold mine they have with their existing customers. Your business is more than likely like most businesses where 70% of your revenue or more comes from existing customers – why not focus on the people that already LOVE your business? Your main focus should be to build loyalty with your existing customers which will then lead to increased revenue from existing customers, getting new customers from referrals, and the ability to bring back lost customers (customers that have not been back in a while).
Over 60% of customers NEVER come back after their first visit and most companies have no way to contact them again – imagine if you could keep even 10% or 20% or 30% of those customers? We would all LOVE a 20% to 30% increase in revenue, right?
So how do you keep customers coming back? Give them a GREAT reason to keep coming back. There are more traditional ways to do this such as direct mail, pay-per-click ads, display ads, etc., but as most of you have found out – that typically does not work to get foot-traffic back to your business and how in the world do you even know if you are targeting YOUR customer?
Many studies have shown that the BEST way to keep customers coming back is by having your own customer loyalty program – a program custom designed for YOUR business for YOUR customers. Loyalty programs have been shown to be 10 TIMES more effective than all other traditional forms of marketing/advertising mentioned previously.
There are a few types of loyalty programs to consider 1. Punch card loyalty program, 2. Physical card that you swipe loyalty program, and 3. Mobile keyword to short code all digital loyalty program. So what type of loyalty program is right for your business? Let’s consider each one.
- Punch card loyalty program. This is the “old school” version where you hand out physical cards that you punch or check-off a certain number of “punches” or “check marks” each time a customer comes in and purchases something. Pros: very easy and inexpensive to run. Cons: Customers always lose their cards (I cannot even begin to tell you how many punch cards I have from my favorite spas/gyms/food places that have a few punches in each of them!). But the worst part about it is that you know NOTHING about your customers other than some come in and show you a card that you punch or check-off – when was the last time they came in? What do they typically purchase when they come in? How do you let them know about your latest products or services? How do you thank them for their visits or for their loyalty? How do you let them know about events or discounts? How do you get new customers from them through referrals or social media? How do you improve your business through asking your customers what they do and don’t like about products or services? Yes, it’s easy to go to your local print shop and print off hundreds of cards to punch, but this adds little to zero benefit to your business and zero benefit to your customers.
- Physical card that you swipe loyalty program. Okay, so this is basically the “punch card” version 2.0 – instead of punching a card, you now “swipe” a card in your POS system and you are told you have “x” points toward your free whatever. I literally have 13 of these cards to my favorite frozen yogurt shop sitting in my drawer because I always forget to bring my card and I have to keep starting new ones over and over – I have been there dozens of times and have yet to get a free yogurt because I have all these cards with points, but no one single card with enough to get a free one! SHEESH! The same Pros and Cons that apply to the Punch Card loyalty program also apply here – yes, you now swipe instead of punch, but you still know NOTHING about your customers and have no way to communicate with your existing customers to build loyalty, get new customers, and bring back lost customers.
- Mobile keyword to short code all digital loyalty program. This is done by customers texting a mobile keyword to a short code. Customers easily sign up by simply texting a keyword to a short code (a 5 digit text number). No tablet kiosk to mess with or worry about getting stolen – just a quick text message and that’s it. For example, you are a bakery and your mobile keyword is “CAKE” and your short code is “00000”. Customers would simply text “CAKE” to 00000, then they receive an instant text back to confirm, and that’s it. Plus, it’s an all-digital program so no physical cards to punch or swipe or keep track of – your customers will LOVE the convenience. But depending on what digital loyalty program company you work with – that’s just the beginning. If you go with a top digital loyalty program company – now you can easily communicate with your customers through email, text messages, social media, or voice broadcasting (depending on what method they prefer) to keep them coming back and spending more. Automatically send Thank You messages; receipts; send coupons to lost customers that have not visited in the last 30, 60, 90, 120 days to get them to come back again; send appointment reminders; special promotions; rewards; coupons, special offers for birthdays and anniversaries, etc. The options are virtually limitless. With some of the top digital loyalty program companies you can also send emails and text messages to existing customers to entice them to refer your company to friends and family for bonus points. For example, email your customers a 30% off coupon code to share with their friends and family for “x” bonus rewards points or “x” % off for them and then ONLY when their friends and family actually use the discount will they get the bonus reward points or discount themselves. And, if you go with a top provider – this can all be totally automated for you so the loyalty program and email and text messages marketing and social media posts all run on autopilot. Pros: Build loyalty, get new customers, and bring back lost customers. Many companies have literally doubled their revenue after implementing a customer loyalty program. No cards to punch or swipe or keep track of. If you go with a top provider, you can have the whole loyalty program automated and have many custom “triggers” for things such as specials, events, discounts, keep customers coming back, bring back lost customers, birthdays/anniversaries, etc. Cons: Can cost more than a simple punch card or swipe card program, but most businesses easily make MUCH more than what the program costs (a LOT more). Some companies have their brand on the loyalty program instead of your brand name – always make sure you can have your brand name.
So which is best? Depends on what your company is wanting to achieve. Yes, I firmly believe the mobile keyword to short code digital program is best and we have plenty of real world cases from our customers to back it up, but what are your thoughts?