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small business customer loyalty

Want to Boost Customer Retention? Use Your Digital Loyalty Program

Digital Loyalty Programs are a great way to show customer appreciation and boost your business’s retention rates. Customer retention is crucial for success, considering that local merchants reported that 70% of their revenues came from loyal customers in 2015. But without the proper tools, it’s difficult for businesses to keep track of and reward repeat clients. Thanks to digital loyalty programs, however, businesses can now easily and effectively organize their contacts, create automated reward systems, and understand what marketing strategies are most effective for their company. Read on to learn how you can use your digital loyalty program to boost customer retention.

**Give your customers a reason to come back

** Retention is the key to long-term success for a business, which is why it is important to provide your customers with incentives to revisit your company. Whether your company is working on a point or spend-based system, a tiered system, or another loyalty program structure, it is important to set rewards that offer real value to your clients. This may mean a free item after a number of visits, a dollar or percentage discount after spending a certain amount, access to a special VIP event once the customer has reached a certain tier, or other promotions that remind your clients why they love your business. Having a variety of rewards that increase in value is a great way to encourage customers to interact with your company again.

**Turn new customers into repeat customers

** Despite the proven importance of maintaining loyal customers, our survey showed that in 2016, 72% of small businesses planned to allocate a majority of funds towards customer acquisition, while only 28% planned to allocate a majority of funds towards customer retention. The reality, however, is that these two aims should go hand-in-hand. Customer acquisition is undeniably important, but it is also crucial that your business establishes a retention strategy to ensure that your hard work pays off in the long run. Rewarding new customers for discovering your business is a great way to start building a positive connection, but without a digital loyalty program, it is almost impossible for growing businesses to keep track of all of their new clients manually. With digital loyalty program software, tracking and rewarding new customers is easy and hassle free. As soon as your new customer signs up for your loyalty program, easily send them a ‘nice to meet you’ email, with a ‘thank you for stopping by’, and a promotional discount on their next visit. This type of personalized correspondence allows your business to show new customers your appreciation even after they walk out the door.

**Run a smarter marketing program by learning what loyalty rewards attract sales

** When it comes to customer loyalty for small businesses, one of the most important practices is constantly improving your marketing strategies in accordance with customer response. Services such as Belly’s Campaigns Tool can help you easily understand what direction you should take in your digital marketing by collecting data about the success of your loyalty program, as well as other facets of your digital marketing. For example, you can track whether your emails were opened or left unread, and determine what type of promotions drove in-store sales/visits. With the help of Belly’s clear campaign analytics, you can learn whether your customers appreciate BOGO sales over percentage-off sales, or whether you should replace a reward since few customers seem to redeem it. Understanding what types of marketing strategies and promotions your customers respond to best, can help you adjust your digital marketing campaign, boost customer retention, and make your clients feel valued. Plus, once you’ve made adjustments to your loyalty program, you can use social media, email marketing campaigns, and other platforms to entice your customers to come in to redeem new rewards.

**Segment your customers and match them with the right promotions

** Loyalty programs for small businesses are excellent opportunities for flourishing companies to get an overview of who their customers really are. By using loyalty program software tools, businesses can segment their customers in order to understand trends in their spending and visit history, as well as their responses to promotional incentives or loyalty rewards. Because each customer’s interaction with your company is unique, investing in a digital marketing service that offers segmentation tools is a great way to ensure that your clients are being targeted effectively. For example, with Campaigns, you can set up automated lifecycle emails that aim to win back lapsed customers by sending promotional incentives 30, 60, and 90 days after they last visited your business. Further, segmenting your customers will provide your business with a competitive edge; Belly’s 2016 Small Business Survey on marketing and customer retention trends indicates that a vast majority of small business owners are not segmenting their clients or sending targeted offers.

**Make it easy for customers to stay in the loop

** As the customer loyalty landscape extends more and more into digital terrain, it is important for businesses to continue to innovate and become mobile-friendly. Digital marketing programs are great for clients who are on the go, as they can interact with your company through social media, loyalty reward apps, email marketing campaigns, and other virtual platforms. Making it easy for customers to sign up to your loyalty programs and providing them with user-friendly tools to stay connected to your business and keep track of their loyalty rewards is a great way to increase customer retention. Not to mention that when businesses integrate digital loyalty plans into their marketing and communications strategies, they establish an innovative and professional reputation that is likely to garner positive word of mouth publicity.

Collecting business cards in a fishbowl only works for so long, but over time, manual methods of collecting customer information simply cannot keep up with a growing business’s client base in a way that rewards customers fairly and consistently. Investing in a digital loyalty program, on the other hand, allows your business innovate and look towards the future while ensuring the retention of your most valued clients.