Launching Your Small Business Loyalty Strategy
By Roger L. Brooks
Exclusively for Jeebster
You are a small business owner. Your day-to-day agenda probably looks something like this: maintain ample supply of your product or service, attend to employees, put out fires, pay bills, field sales calls, collect on open invoices, and last but not least—offer high quality customer service.
But, how close attention are you paying to the customer service aspect, and what are you actually doing to earn your customer’s loyalty? Pause, reflect, think. Now, what are you really doing? If your answer is notta, don’t feel bad. Nine out of ten small businesses are in the same boat as you.
If you are doing something, kudos to you—you’re in that the top ten-percentile. And, if you are doing something, chances are your customer loyalty strategy lacks full attention, leadership and organization—it’s hard enough to staff for your core business, let alone have someone in charge of, or dedicated to loyalty. You may be doing your best to try to keep your customers coming back through your Facebook fan page, direct mail pieces, newspaper ads, friendly service, and a clean store; however, you know you can do more. The reason you can do more is that other businesses of your size and color are finding a way to do more, but they are doing more with less—less effort that is. You see, they implemented systems to help them do the dirty work for them, in a savvy, efficient, and next-generation manner. Ladies and gentlemen it’s 2012.
The big question is this. Are you doing anything systematically to identify your customers, track their spending, motivate their behavior, reward their performance, and measure the results?
You may want to think of it this way. The Holy Grail for any customer loyalty program is to gather as much information about as many customers as you can. You know the companies that do this best. They are grocers, pharmacies and airlines. Their goal is for everyone to carry a loyalty card… not solely to provide discounts to those who use it (which the manufacturers likely fund), rather to be able to understand their customer’s behavior so they can talk to them in a one-to-one fashion. This is customer loyalty in its purest form, and this is the new era we live in. It’s time to take the guessing away. Your customers should be guessing what’s to be offered next.
Clearly e-tailers have an advantage when it comes to collecting data. All online businesses can identify their customers, and are able to track every single purchase because each customer has to provide their e-mail address, full name, address, phone number and payment type in order to make a purchase. This critical information provides online businesses everything they could possibly need to administer, market and promote a customer loyalty strategy. Your goal for launching a loyalty strategy should be to obtain that same information in a seamless fashion so it doesn’t become intrusive for your customer, yet they’ll look forward to providing you with their information.
Here are FIVE+1 tips to help get you on your way:
1. Do your research, and planning. Take the time to research your potential partners and plan for your rollout strategy. Allow a minimum of 2-3 months. Talk to your point of sale provider, credit card processor and your IT professional to see if there are any features available at your fingertips to aid you in the process.
2. Find a solid engine to keep your customer’s information organized. The system should allow you to create custom e-mails, newsletters, postcards, promotional pieces, etc. I prefer Ace of Sales, but there are many companies that offer this type of service to keep you organized. Your business will look like a million bucks.
3. Decide the direction of your customer loyalty strategy. You know what you can handle and what your business is capable of. Initiate a basic program, and grow the effort over time. Crawl, walk, run! Whatever strategy you decide, be sure to select the most attractive redemption items you can afford (with high perceived value).
4. Select your champion. Choose an individual with innovative characteristics who can lead the charge, and take control of your strategy from day one. Your buy-in is extremely important, but their daily effort will make or break the program.
5. Social Loyalty. The world is now viral. Tie in your social media campaigns with your loyalty strategy, as the two should compliment one another.
+1 Your loyalty strategy should become your marketing strategy. Once you buy into loyalty, you’ll see how it becomes your marketing strategy. They are one in the same.
No matter the size of your small business, a loyalty strategy can only build upon the good things you’re doing today. You hard work should be complimented with a customer loyalty strategy that is working hard for you.
Roger L. Brooks is a trusted authority in the area of customer loyalty, and helps his clients of all sizes build successful customer loyalty strategies. He is also the author of The Power of Loyalty: 10 Essential Steps to Build a Successful Customer Loyalty Strategy, and creator of Dose of Loyalty, a free monthly e-Zine. Roger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jump Start Your Loyalty Program Today!
If you are interested in learning more about launching a customer loyalty strategy, contact your Jeebster representative today. Jeebster is offering three packages to choose from in partnership with Roger L. Brooks, a Trusted Authority on Loyalty Marketing:
$149.00 Basic Package: Receive your customer loyalty toolkit, which includes a step-by-step process to help you jump-start and choose the loyalty strategy that best fits your business. The toolkit also includes a subscription to Dose of Loyalty, Roger’s free monthly eZine and one hour free training of Ace of Sales.
$379.00 Silver Package: Receive everything in the toolkit plus five hours of loyalty consulting. This package will put you on track to finalizing the direction of your loyalty strategy. The package also includes three copies of The Power of Loyalty: 10 Essential Steps to Build a Successful Customer Loyalty Strategy.
$997.00 Gold Package: Receive everything in the Basic and Silver packages plus a half-day (4 hours) coaching session with Roger L. Brooks. In addition, you will receive ten copies of The Power of Loyalty: 10 Essential Steps to Build a Successful Customer Loyalty Strategy.
***All packages include a month of complimentary Jeebster Merchant Network services.***