7 Ways to Foster Loyalty

Building relationships takes time but growing and maintaining them long term takes perseverance, energy and purpose.  Jack Trout, Ad Exec and Author of  Big Brands, Big Trouble says:

“Marketing battles take place in the mind of a consumer or prospect. That’s where you win. That’s where you lose.”

Loyalty

We live in seriously disposable times. People outgrow their use for things and each other, sadly rather quickly. I always take note when people talk about following people and companies for a “long time.”  That’s really hard to do today.  So how do you build a long term following, loyalty and community? How do you win in the minds of the consumer?

Here are seven ways that can foster loyalty:

Be Authentic and Real

Be who you are, walk your walk and do what you tell others to do. People are way more savvy today and pic up on wrong or suspect intentions and motives. Sure we all have something to sell, but let people know you have their back and “get” their pain. Can people relate to you?

Deliver Fresh, Fab and Fun

It’s all about the experience we create and have with people and companies we interact with. Make sure you are refreshing your sites, visuals, marketing materials and presentation.  We all love things that are new, but a different spin on something we like is cool too. Make things easy to follow, entertaining and culturally relevant.

Directly Acknowledge Others

Nobody achieves success without the support of others. Be vocal and step up in directly acknowledging people, who step up and support you. Use your social media streams to shout out, re-post and let others know that you appreciate them.

Rewards, Incentives and Exclusivity

Develop ways to give extra value to people who show you loyalty.  Make them feel exclusive by creating a separate database for them, that you can extend exclusive offers, content or incentives. Show them an “inner circle” status. Look at all the premium loyalty programs that exist today and follow that model.

Network, Connect and Introduce People

Always be finding reasons to connect people together for the right reasons and most apparent synergy. When I meet people at conferences or events, I just know who I should be introducing then in my sphere’s. Act on it quickly, while meeting them is current.

Feature, Reference and Mention

Know your audience, customers and followers. Use them as examples of the things you write about, present on, things you value. Blogging and social media are great ways to do this.

Collaborate and Partner

In today’s business landscape, adding value to what you offer or deliver can be easily accomplished by joining forces with other companies, products and services that are complementary to yours. Look at all the multi-branding and cross-branding that you see in travel, consumer products, education, sports and entertainment. I can now go to one store or shopping area and get groceries, eyeglasses, flowers, auto supplies,  yogurt and stamps. Find ways to collaborate and partner but be very careful to “vet” people and know who you are entering into  partnerships with.

Loyalty and longevity are the highest compliments a business can be given by their public. They are earned by valuing a deep appreciation for others and maintained by showing others that appreciation consistently.

Here are some awesome articles about brand loyalty from BrandChannel.  What are some of the ways you are fostering loyalty?

Loyalty Photo via Shutterstock

12 Comments ▼

Deborah Shane


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane is a past staff writer for Small Business Trends covering marketing, branding and social media topics. She is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly. Her book #trusthewhy Fundamentals, Values and Humor Get You Through Anything and award winning "Career Transition: Make the Shift" (2011) are available through all major book sellers.

12 Reactions

  1. The most loyal customers are customers who feel they get special treatment. Whether it’s faster service, unexpected upgrades or free bonuses they need to feel valued. I remember when I was selling tomatoes for my dad at the local farmers’ market. We had grown yellow tomatoes but most people were weirded out by them, so I would give a free one to all the customers I remembered. Just told them to try it and let me know what they thought. Many of them now buy yellow tomatoes regularly because they like having the additional color in salads and salsa.

  2. Nice article, Deborah. All manner of behavior will be measured as more, or less valuable by others. As each of us understand more about our target markets, and get to know the people in them, we can learn to emphasize things our client base shows us they want. It is that adaptability to change, and finding ways to cooperate in the face of change that helped Charles Darwin form a rather valid opinion of what kinds of strengths the strong must have in order to survive. The thing I like most about your post is the emphasis on cooperation in all seven of your points. Keep on rockin’, and best to you,

    • Van, the psycho-graphics of our customers are the most important aspect of knowing how to treat them and keep them!Yes cooperation and co-opetion makes us all better, stronger and more valuable. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I think just being open and honest is a great way to build loyalty.

  4. All of these are fundamental to creating loyalty. I’ve been to so many stores where they are rude or unhelpful and I always remember those stores and never visit them again. Once you’ve done a customer wrong, you will lose them. All of the above paired with a great loyalty program where you can valuably reward your most loyal special customers is even better. Consistent engagement with your customers is also key and not something that you can always do with social media alone.

    • Veronica, I feel the same way. You have maybe two chances with me, cause anyone can have an off day. I want to feel special and enjoy my experience. Loyalty programs for rewarding longevity are so effective.

  5. Great article, loyalty is what makes your customers praise you in public. The process of developing trust is not something that happens over night. I think that a lot of companies think sell sell sell before getting acquainted with their audience.

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