How to Create Brand Loyalty: What Makes a Customer Mate for Life?

By Zach Williams

If only there were a love spell for keeping your customers loyal to your brand. But just like all relationships, it takes good ole’ fashion effort to keep the love alive. 

Although there may not be a magic spell, there are some old and new strategies that can help to inspire brand loyalty in your customers.

Competition amongst brands is fierce these days, and modern consumers are empowered to shop around to find the brand that’s right for them. Taking what we know about the DIY consumer, we’ve outlined a few tactics to help your brand keep the customers you love.

Never Stop Pursuing Your Existing Customers

It’s hard to resist chasing after new customers, but what about your existing ones?

It’s been estimated by TARP Worldwide that it’s five times cheaper to retain current customers than to attract new ones.

In a 2011 survey of Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) by Forrester, 59% of CMOs listed their #1 Marketing Objective as “acquiring new customers.” Only 30% of CMOs listed retaining current customers as a priority.

If you think getting new customers in the door is the best way to build your brand, checkout these facts about new customer spending:

  • The probability of closing a sale with a new customer is between 5 – 20%.
  • The average conversion rate from promotions sent to new customers is less than 1%.
  • Only 36% of new customers who make a first purchase with a discount will spend more than the discount price.
  • Less than 20% of “daily deal” customers will return and pay full price for future items.

Connect with Customers’ Emotions

Customer Loyalty is ultimately an emotional decision. Brands need to connect with customers on a values system level.

Customers will commit to a brand that shares the same values and priorities that they do. Whether it’s your commitment to customer service, you’re commitment to a charity or your commitment to offer free samples with every purchase (I’m talking to you Love you, mean it).

Consider for a moment your own responses to Abercrombie & Fitch’s recent bad publicity versus the clear values expressed by the One for One Movement of TOMS Shoes. Which brand is more appealing to you? Why? Are you making an emotional or practical decision?

Customers want to commit to a brand they connect with on an emotional level. Good products will go a long way, but only shared values will win a customer for life.

Give Your Business a Personality

Just like sharing values, if you can get consumers to relate to your brand and look to you as a trusted expert in your field, you can make them mate for life.

I love fashion, and I recently came across a brand called Of a Kind that has me preferring its “one of a kind” boutique flavor over the big name brands. I get weekly emails from Of a Kind that I actually open and read because they don’t feel like just another piece of fashion-deal junk mail.

Their emails offer me their latest hand-picked fashion items along with a “Meet the Designer” spotlight. Not only do I get a product beauty shot and price, but I’m also enticed to connect with the featured brand through the Meet the Designer spotlight. 

In addition to emails that push the site’s products, I get a “10 Things We’re Up To” email that offers me personal insights into the divas (Claire & Erica) behind the brand that are 100% personal in nature, and have nothing to do with selling their products. This is one of the main reasons I keep opening Of a Kind emails. I’ve found a few delicious recipes, learned about the Good Wife, found a full breakdown on the Nancy/Tonya saga, and discovered some other handy brands through these 10 Things emails. These emails make me cooler, so I keep reading them.

I feel like I “know” the Of a Kind team, so when I come into a little bit of mulah and want to buy myself something nice, Of a Kind is where I head first. It feels like I’m giving my friends first rights to my business. This is the kind of favor you want to adopt with your customers. Spend the time and effort it takes to give your brand a personality and seek to connect with your customers.

So, if you’re a local gardening retailer, give your brand the voice of an experienced, friendly home gardener who’s always got interesting tips and resources to share. This voice could allow you to both share your past successes and failures with customers, as well as be on the road with them to discovering new gardening tips and tricks.

Give Them a Reason to Come Back

Everyone likes to be appreciated. Don’t forget to show your customers that you appreciate their current business just as much as you want to earn their neighbor’s business.

One great way to show customers you care is through a company loyalty program. If you don’t have a current loyalty program, it may be time to start one: Loyalty Programs are projected to generate $1.7 Billion worth of revenue in 2015.

Lowe’s has made a big impact on its customers with their loyalty program, My Lowe’s. Lowe’s realized that many of their customer’s purchases were only purchased when the season called for it. Seasonal products include christmas lights, fertilizers and weed killers or even specific paint colors for your fence or porch.

If you’re buying a product once a year or even once every few years, it’s easy to forget the type of fertilizer you really liked or the brand of weed killer that only killed your roses. Lowe’s set out to meet their customer’s pain point , and so they created the My Lowe’s program.

Through My Lowe’s, Lowe’s automatically tracks a customer’s purchases, so those seasonal items are now easy to find. Think about it, are you going to shop at the store that can point you right to the fertilizer you know worked last year, or are you going to wander through the lawn and garden section of another store and hope you can figure it out? The My Lowe’s program offers a service to customers that results in instant loyalty, even without also offering special discounts.

Here are some key perks DIY Consumers would find valuable in a loyalty program:

  • Purchase Tracking – Track purchases so customers can receive custom offers on items they actually want.
  • Points System – Allow customers to earn points by purchasing from your stores and then use points for discounts on future purchases.
  • VIP Perks – This could include anything that is exclusive to loyalty program members only like early access to sales, free delivery, early access to hot items or a chance to participate in Beta testing of new items.


We know the importance of continuing to grow and reach new consumers, but the customer who is most likely to mate for life is the one who is already shopping in your stores. So make sure that a strong portion of your growth strategy includes retaining and pampering your current customer base.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. What customer loyalty strategies have worked for your company?

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