Young and unafraid, brand marketers first started building loyalty programs for customers in the 80s, when it was something new and undiscovered. The airline points collection was the first ever loyalty increasing program to appear that saw tremendous success. Bonus programs were thriving ever since until one day the whole system was hacked by the man who bought 12,000 pudding cups that guaranteed him 1.2 million airline miles for free.
The customers are now smarter, and old marketing approaches like “build it, they will come” are no longer working in the hyper-competitive, overcrowded business environment. The traditional approach to the brand loyalty is costly and ineffective; that’s why the biggest brands like Amazon, Google, and Apple focus on alternative ways of growing the trust and appreciation among customers.
“Seeing beyond the loyalty illusion” 2017 survey shows that loyal customers still bring 18 percent incremental revenue growth per year, 57% spend more on brands or providers to which they are loyal. Moreover, 61% changed their business provider brand to another in 2016. So what does a right brand loyalty strategy give to the business and how do the market leaders manage to find the ones that work?
Let’s take a look.
Comparative advantage of strong loyalty brands:
Competition resistant. Distracted by the variety of choices at the moment of purchasing a customer will most likely select the brand whose name pops out in mind first. Brand familiarity creates trust.
Engaging.In social media successful brands focus on the meaningful and valuable content rather than just growing a number of followers.
Supported.The greatest companies always have their own brand advocates that will like the brand, no matter what.
Fitting in the new era of consumerism
Mobile phone providers, clothing, health and beauty industries are among those spheres that have the highest loyalty level among millennials today. Knowing that millennials are the most eager to follow and like their favorite brands on the Internet, companies concentrate their trust-building efforts in social media combining it with a good SEO strategy for sites.
The main emotional pillars of brand engagement today are corporate responsibility, nostalgia, and trust. Brands use them actively for creating the marketing campaigns that connect with the customers on the personal level.
The shared ethics.Smaller businesses usually base their strategies on pointing out that they share the same beliefs as their target audience. The Whole Foods as a small company built a successful business based on the ethical principle that they would supply only local products, which brought them a million sales.
Nostalgia emotions. The conception for Future Pepsi campaign gladly met by the customers was based on the movie Back to the Future and helped marketers to attract a large pool of fan audience.
Trust and value. Companies actively engage experts and interview the gurus of their field to gain trust and loyalty of their brands. They project that they value every customer by providing valuable content and purchase discounts. Many brands like UK cosmetics and beauty provider Boots offer 1 to 5% discounts for the next purchase to encourage the customers for the next buy.
Building a brand loyalty isn’t about pure promotion of the service or the product. Modern ways of engaging and retaining the customers are based on the communication between customer and brand. The personal touch for brand communication nowadays can be achieved with SEO and social media so that people could understand your product better and see who’s behind the creation process.
Is your SEO strategy right?
Even if you have a visually appealing and user-friendly site, it will bring nothing except disappointment without proper SEO strategy. Statistically speaking, the first position Google search earns 33% of all the clicks.
In order to make your site the most important revenue generating place, develop a strategy that would:
Bring the targeted traffic
There is a term that is called “branded keywords”. If you want to be recognized, include them in your keyword plan. Define your target auditory, learn which internet sources they like, and try to target specific keywords rather than gathering random traffic from general keywords. There are plenty of free services that allow searching for keywords online, including Google keyword planner or Serps.
Start your own expert blog
Share your knowledge with the target auditory, provide them with manuals and guidelines, and DIY projects that your customers can make use of. It is important to post regularly. For this you should create a detailed content plan with dates and action points. Blog is a part of the SEO program that will strengthen the position of your brand in search engines. Those people who will visit your site for advice later may convert in the customers, as soon as they understand they can trust you.
Experts insist that content is king, but without good quality research SEO optimization effectiveness may drop to zero. Don’t be tempted by the desire to copy-paste or steal someone else’s content; it may cost your site several months in ban. Google filters like Panda are punishing the site owners for stolen, duplicate, and low quality content, and that’s why content originality is a concern number one. It is a good practice to always double check the content in the plagiarism checker software before posting.
Build good quality links
Links are not built overnight as well as good content is not written in a moment, it will take efforts and specific tactics. One of them includes reaching out to other bloggers. If you found a broken link notify the blog owner, and suggest replacing it with your link. The other popular tactic includes link building via social media submitting your posts on such high traffic resources like Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Growth Hackers.
Use local SEO
Many customers are searching specifically for the local company services. Local SEO is a great opportunity to attract such users by using the local keywords. For this, it is important to set up the country and the city while searching for keywords in the keyword planner. If you are still not at the Google Business page, set it up, this way people will be able to find your company in maps quickly reaching out important information straight from the search results.
Create local reviews
It’s natural that new users would look for the reviews on the internet before trying some fancy product, restaurant, or service. Having a review card in the local review site or application is a guaranteed way to improve trust among potential customers.
Optimize through the image search
Google allows searching via images and certain people regularly use it for their queries. By adding an ALT to the images on your site, you ensure the image gets indexed by the search engine and appears in the image search results as well.
Tuning your SMM campaign
About 80% of the studied public in the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth marketing research agreed that blogging, online videos, and podcasting create more interesting and engaging content. Interactive elements could be the part of your successful SMM strategy.
The odds that your customers will be sharing and reposting your content are much higher if you stay connected to them, communicate with them, and answer their messages. In Twitter, you can easily make it by managing Twitter lists that can be reviewed every week or two.
Promoting customer reviews is a great way to show your audience how you care about them and value their opinion. Every great brand, however, faces situations when they also need to deal with criticism from customers and negative feedback. If such tasks are handled by specialists, these issues can turn into opportunities to establish your service as a leading or the best one on the market.
Brand loyalty is like giant puzzle consisting of great content, SEO, and SMM strategies – forget about one and you are ruining the whole picture. Luckily, many social media apps and SEO tools nowadays have become really affordable or free for use. Social media is full of people who can become your customers or greatest fans and the matter of their loyalty to your brand will depend on how well you can build a dialogue and address their needs and concerns.