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Building Customer Loyalty Through VIP Rewards

One of the most fertile grounds for increased sales can be found in a company’s existing customer base. These individuals have already passed several key steps in the sales cycle —specifically, awareness, attraction, trust, try, and buy.

The next step in the cycle is “repeat” — that is, repeat business, repeated interaction, cross-selling, and support. Catering to existing customers significantly reduces marketing costs, which to savvy marketers means they are worth investing in a bit more than typical prospects.

Today we’ll look at ways in which you can reward these customers for their support, building even stronger ties between them and your business.

vip-rewards-programs

Quality Products and Service

Consistently delivering a high quality product or service to your customers is the first thing to address when considering a VIP rewards program. Ask yourself, are you pleasing your customers every step of the way? Are all of your employees as dedicated and committed to customer satisfaction as you are? Understand that continually providing a quality customer experience and product can overcome pricing barriers when it comes to customer loyalty. People will pay more for the same product or service if the experience is consistently satisfying.

Connecting with Existing Customer Base

How are you staying connected with your existing and presumably happy customer base? The key is communication. Be sure to actively subscribe your regular customers to the email list. Keep them updated by connecting through social media and posting frequently enough to let them know what’s happening with your business. If you have a physical mailing list, make sure your customers are receiving these circulars. If possible, personalize these. This lets a customer know you recognize their support and appreciate their business.

According to the 2015 Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Statistical Fact Book, “individuals are far more likely to respond to direct mail if it comes from a company where they were previously a customer.”

What a VIP Rewards Program Really Does

A rewards program simply creates repeat sales and strong customer loyalty by making those regulars feel special. If a promotion is exclusive to certain individuals, rather than the general public, they understand that their history with your company has gotten them this higher rank. In turn, you’ve created more incentive and willingness for these customers to continually support your business.

A rewards program creates repeat sales and strong customer loyalty by making those regulars feel special.

In addition, VIP rewards should always be as personal as possible. For example, present your loyal customer with a reward that signifies you’ve acknowledged who they are and how they’ve supported your business.

“Rachael, you’ve spent over $100 with us last month, which qualifies you for a 10% discount on your next purchase.”

VIP Rewards Technology

You don’t have to have a fancy card reader to set up a VIP rewards program. Many companies are still encouraging customer loyalty with an old-fashioned punch card. Sure, if you can afford the technology, it could be worthwhile, but lack of technology certainly won’t hold you back. If you’re a service-based company, look through your ledger. Sort through your sales and acknowledge the customers who are spending the most with you.

Maximize the Benefits

You may need to ask yourself how you can utilize your investment in a VIP rewards program to the fullest. Simply coordinate these efforts with other marketing campaigns. For example, if you release a new product, expand the initial release numbers by promoting it to your VIPs. Make a Facebook announcement of this new product and reward those who share your post. Encourage them to share, as this will help publicize your product beyond your own network into a sea of potential customers that you may not have reached without the help of your loyal customer who shared this post.

VIP Incentives

There are many ways to reward a loyal customer. Offer free or reduced cost items that you know they already enjoy. You can do this using the classic “buy 10 get 1 free” card, a point system, or an introductory free upgrade.

Create a unique experience for your customer. Say you own a restaurant — you might invite them to a VIP-exclusive dining event and reserve a special table for them. If you’re a service-based company, provide them with an invitation-only educational seminar that will benefit them in their own field. Business to business? Take them to lunch, a simple lunch without an agenda or sales pitch. Let them know how important they are by asking for their opinions and feedback. This will show them you care about their experience and strive to improve it.

Use the color ranking system. Designate loyal customers as silver, gold or platinum based on their level of support with your business. These customers should get priority upon visiting, calling or shopping at your company.

Give a gift or make a charitable contribution in a loyal customer’s name.

Support THEIR business. Use social media or a blog post to showcase the company of one of your most loyal customers by publishing a short blurb about what makes this person notable. Refer people to these customers. And remember, a good old-fashioned handwritten thank-you note goes a long way in today’s paperless world.

Conclusion

According to Entrepreneur.com, “61 percent of the small businesses surveyed report that more than half of their revenue came from repeat customers rather than new business. Meanwhile, a repeat customer spends 67 percent more than a new customer.”

These are the folks that already spend money with you. Odds are, you like them and they like you. Take some of your marketing budget and put it to use strengthening these relationships.

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