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Loyalty critical for customer interaction and retention

by: isev

on: 28th February, 2011

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The economic down turn led many small business owners to concentrate on customer preservation rather than try to reach new markets.

After all, wise businessmen have been saying for years that it costs considerably more money to gain over a new customer than it does to keep an existing client satisfied, which is a luxury most entrepreneurs could not afford during times of recession. Often involving loyalty programs, these retention strategies aim to give customers incentives to continue shopping with the same business, rather than flicking between whichever is cheaper.

These programs often include: discounts, money-back offers and improved customer service – striving to reward customers for their purchasing.

As the economy takes steps to recover and consumers start to increase spending and have extra disposable income, many small businesses are starting to invest in their marketing campaigns once again.

Small businesses are in a great position to capitalise on loyalty produced during the recession if they have incorporated email into their basic online marketing strategies. Loyal customers are very often active email users.

Email marketing campaigns aimed at loyal customers rather than casual customers, are far more successful in instilling loyalty.

Brand devotee’s are far more likely to open promotional messages sent by their favorite companies, while they also tend to click through to the sender’s website more of the time. Small business owners that sell online cash in greatly, the more opened emails leads to the more traffic to their websites.

Working out which customers are likely to become loyal brand advocates is critical to businesses everywhere at present. Motivating and rewarding the right customers has the potential to yield significant returns.

Not yet got on the email marketing bandwagon? – It’s not too late.

Email can easily be incorporated into any multichannel marketing campaign, especially if business owners already have an online presence. For example a presence on social networks (also easily set up – you haven’t missed the boat if you’re not on linkedin or twitter yet) can give you a perfect platform to provide sign up links for email marketing campaigns.

Each time an email newsletter is sent out, they could also tweet or conduct status updates to include bits of the content to promote curiosity among customers, thereby encouraging consumers to sign up. Or if small business owners have search engine optimized sales pages, they could add newsletter sign-up links to these websites. Business owners can even provide further encouragement by offering discounts and incentives to those who sign up, although obviously it is always important to consider the bottom line when offering these deals.

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