Three Fun and Creative Ways to Promote Customer Loyalty

Three Fun and Creative Ways to Promote Customer Loyalty

If you own a retail or service business you are most likely always on the look-out for ways to grow your customer base, repeat business, or word of mouth customers. Try one or all of these simple ways to promote customer loyalty and put smiles on your patron’s faces, while putting cash in your till.

#1:  Offer a gift card exchange.

Around the holidays many people receive gift cards. Sometimes, the cards are to places they just don’t care to patronize for one reason or another. Put a sign on your counter that states that you will exchange one of your gift cards (or a credit, if you don’t offer cards), for your customers’ unused gift cards to other establishments.

Your customers will appreciate the opportunity to exchange unwanted cards for yours and they might even spend more than the card value. You can sell the cards online for a small discount, so you won’t lose much by making an exchange.

Be sure to ask your customers to let their friends know about your exchange program and call the number on the backs of the cards to check the value before making an exchange.

#2:  VIP programs can boost sales and fortify customer engagement and retention.  A few ways to reward your most loyal customers are:

  • Have exclusive VIP sales.
  • Open doors early on the first day of a sale for your VIP customers.
  • Have a points system where customers accumulate points with each purchase. Once they’ve accumulated a certain number of points, they will receive a gift, gift card,  discount, or a store credit.
  • Give store credit of gift cards for VIP customers’ birthdays.
  • Offer benefits like free returns or free shipping to VIP customers.

#3.  Contests and giveaways are flexible and fun.

You can spend as much or as little as you want, both on contest prizes and on your marketing efforts. Before hosting a contest, make sure whatever you plan is legal in your state. Many states regulate raffles, bingo, and other games of chance. Contest prizes should always drive business. Award store gift cards, credit, discounts or a collectible that your business offers. Contests should encourage repeat business, provide you with contact information for future promotions and add to your bottom line. Get your creative juices flowing with these ideas:

  • Have customers submit photos showing how they use products or items purchased from you.
  • Have a naming contest for a temporary mascot, stuffed animal, or caricature.
  • Customers can pop balloons or spin wheels for discounts, or gift cards.
  • Hand out printed puzzle pieces with purchases. The first customer to complete a puzzle wins a prize. The completed puzzle might be a photo of your storefront.
  • Hand out letters of the alphabet, that can be used to complete a crossword puzzle made up of words relating to your business or promotions. Keep a supply of blank crossword puzzles on your counter.
  • Have a local soap or candle merchant create a unique scent just for you and let customers submit name suggestions. Award the winner with a store discount or gift card along with one of the special scented products.
  • Engage your customers by celebrating obscure holidays and events with customer discounts, prizes, or gift cards. If you can think of it, there is probably a day to commemorate it. Everything from Penguin Awareness Day to Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day can be turned into a fun way to broaden your reach and increase customer loyalty.

Contest ideas are only limited by your imagination. Remember that contests should be designed to allow you to collect email addresses or other customer information you can use in future promotions. If you are comfortable with using social media or cell phone apps to engage with your customers, there are a number of applications and formats designed expressly for creating contests that increase customer interactions.

Whatever means you use to increase your store traffic, promote customer loyalty, or to garner valuable marketing material, keep it simple. Nothing is more frustrating or discouraging than a complicated campaign that will confuse your customers and cost you more than it is worth.

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

For more information on business analysis, business planning, and ways to grow your small business profitably, please check out our website

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