Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Building Customer Loyalty

Now that you've defined your brand & have begun a marketing campaign using all that's available in your budget, including online & offline advertising & promotional wholesale products; how do you retain your existing customers? What can you do to keep their loyalty so they don't wander over to your competition?

Here are the main constituents of customer loyalty:
1. CUSTOMER'S LOGICAL & EMOTIONAL REACTION TO YOUR PRODUCT: Your target audience has to feel rationally & emotionally connected to your product or service. Before you get your name out among the public you should know who you're targeting & what they're needs are. Also be familiar with their buying habits in the past. Above all, make sure your marketing is going out to the faction of the public you want to receive your advertising message. Your message must be consistent. Bottom line, if they can't relate to you, they'll go to your competition.
2. GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CUSTOMER: Once your product or service has been used by your customer, you should focus on establishing & maintaining a beneficial relationship with them so they continue to come back to you. This is done through online & offline advertising & marketing: emails, direct mailings, phone calls, personal sales calls & promotional imprinted products. And most importantly, the quality of what you offer & the quality of your customer service.
3. OFFER PRODUCT EXTENSIONS: If possible, introduce an extension of your line to keep your customers' loyalty or to draw in new clientele. For example, Crest offers more than their basic fluoride toothpaste with a whitening solution. They expanded their products to include toothpaste specifically for night time use, mint flavored dental floss & whitening strips, to name just a few. To grow & bypass your competition, you need to find ways to expand your targeted audience & keep your old customers interested.
4. SUPPORT A GOOD CAUSE: Some customers will remain loyal to you if you support a social, environmental or communal cause that is advantageous to the public. For example, Wilson Sporting Goods have pink tennis balls & rackets with the pink ribbon to support breast cancer awareness & when those items are purchased a percentage of the profits go to that cause. Most pharmacies & grocery stores offer non-woven recyclable bags for their promotional custom products to promote an eco-friendly environment.
5. AVAILABILITY OF YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE: Don't advertise what you can't deliver. As I stated in a previous blog: Will The Real Definition Of Branding Please Stand Up, your brand is your promise & not having your product available can drive your client to your competition. Sometimes it's out of your control. In that case make sure you have a rain check on hand & that this in not an ongoing issue. Above all both your services & product need to be what you advertised them to be--don't oversell them.
6. CONFORM TO THE LATEST TREND: Don't be a dinosaur & think if it worked last year, it will work this year. That line of thinking spells disaster. Be educated about your product. Stay up to date & learn all there is about your specialized field.
7. OPTIONS USED AS LURES: A consumer gets a host of benefits from a new company trying to lure him over to their business. Many of them are hard to ignore. Hopefully you've already won their loyalty, but many times it's hard to resist lower prices & special offers. Rather than concentrating on discounted deals for the new client, it's also beneficial to reward your long-standing customers with discounts & promotions for their loyalty.

No doubt you will always face stiff competition. I hope this helps you to stay ahead of the game.
Ronni Sherman


  1. I find this topic to be quite complicated and would like to see you write more about it. Often one's client may have different priorities on what is needed to make them loyal while a businessman may see it another way.
    I find your second point to be my main concern when I don the hat of a consumer. Yet as a business owner I tend to concentrate on your first.
    As an owner of your own company have you come across this.

  2. I thought this was very good advice. Very straight-forward.
    Keep it coming!

  3. Good article. You laid it out beautifully but none of those points really matter when it comes to customer loyalty except for the last one. All the consumer is looking for now is the word DISCOUNT. They've pushed quality, customer service and every other benefit aside for the cheapest price on the market. The twice yearly sales has now become typical & what is expected every week-end.