Building brand loyalty isn’t easy, but it’s totally worth it in the long run.
When you’re building a brand, getting customers is essential, but it’s really just the first piece of the puzzle. If you want your business to thrive, it’s not enough to just get customers—you need to keep those customers coming back for more.
Brand loyalty is a huge part of building a brand that’s sustainable in the long-term. But what is brand loyalty? Why is it so important? And how can you build brand loyalty and transform one-time customers into lifelong brand enthusiasts? Keep reading to find out.
What is brand loyalty?
Brand loyalty is the tendency for a customer to buy from a specific brand instead of going to other options on the market. It’s a sense of trust and loyalty to a particular brand that can make a huge difference in the success of your business.
Why is brand loyalty so important?
It is, of course, important to focus on introducing new customers to your brand. But if those customers make a one-time purchase and then drop off the face of the earth (or the internet), they’re not going to have a huge impact on your bottom line.
But if you focus on building brand loyalty, those customers will continue to come back, engaging with your brand and driving profits for years to come. Plus, they will probably recommend you to their friends, which is crucial.
Bottom line: brand loyalty is a game changer for your business. Now, let’s dive into how to create that sense of customer loyalty for your brand.
How to build brand loyalty in 5 steps:
1. Make quality non-negotiable
The truth is, it doesn’t matter if you have a buzzworthy product or service. The market is full of companies with products or services just as buzzworthy as yours. If you want to break through the clutter, make sure that buzz lasts and your customers stay loyal to you in the long-term, you need to live up to your promises. Exceed their expectations and keep showing them that you’re a brand worth doing business with. Making quality a non-negotiable is a good way to do it.
New brands launch every day, so putting quality at the top of your priority list is a way to not only add value to your customers, but to stay relevant in an increasingly saturated marketplace.
If you can establish yourself as a company that maintains quality across the board—whether you’re talking about product quality, the quality of your customer communications, or the quality of your ecommerce technology—you can break through the clutter of competitors who don’t provide that kind of quality and consistency and inspire the kind of brand loyalty that will keep your customers coming back for years to come.
For example, investing in quality control testing for your products might cost some extra time and budget on the back end—but when your customers realize your products are built to last, they’ll be inspired to keep shopping.
You might have to spend longer training your support staff on how to deal with customer issues, but when your customers are blown away by the ease of your support process, they’re going to keep coming back and buying your products.
The point is, quality can mean the difference between a flash-in-the-pan brand and the kind of brand that inspires customer loyalty for a lifetime. Make sure you’re the latter.
2. Develop a strong “why”
Ideally, people want to do business with brands they can stand behind—and the reason customers will be willing to stand behind you and your brand boils down to your why.
Having a strong why is a must to break apart from the competition and forge an authentic connection with your ideal customers—and develop the kind of brand loyalty that makes them customers for life.
Put some real time and effort into defining your brand mission values. Start with key questions: why are you in business? What do you stand for? What is your authentic identity as a brand—and how do you want that brand identity to come across in the marketplace?
When your customers see your authenticity, it helps to deepen the trust between consumer and company. And when your mission and values align with theirs in an authentic way, it can inspire the kind of loyalty that turns one-time customers into lifelong brand evangelists.
So, in a nutshell, what you do as a brand is important—but when you’re talking about creating brand loyalty, why you do it is even more important.
3. Make your branding consistent
Brand loyalty starts with trust. If your customers aren’t having a consistent experience of your brand, that trust isn’t going to develop—and neither is brand loyalty.
Your customers should have a consistent experience wherever they encounter your brand, whether they’re looking at your website, scrolling through your social media feed or interacting with your team at a live event. Basically, consistency is a way to build trust—and trust is the key to brand loyalty.
Or, in other words: consistency = trust = brand loyalty
Take the time to develop your brand identity, define who you are as a brand, and how you want to communicate that brand to your customers—and make sure you replicate that experience across every platform where they might interact with your brand.
So, for example, if you decide you want to go with an edgy brand voice, that edginess should be apparent in your web copy, your email and your social media posts. If you decide you want to go with a softer brand color palette, you should keep that palette consistent across print, web and other branding elements.
The more consistent and authentic you are as a brand, the more your customers will trust you—and the more loyalty you’ll foster as a result.
4. Create an unparalleled customer service experience
Your customers initially made a purchase with your brand because of the products or services you offer. But while having a great product or service will lure them in, it’s not enough to keep them there.
Offering stellar customer service is one of the biggest value adds you can deliver for your customers.
When your customers trust that the process of doing business with you will be easy, convenient and straightforward—whether that’s buying a product from your website, making a return or interacting with your customer service team—they’re going to be more likely to continue doing business with you in the future.
The good news? So many companies fail to focus on customer service that standing out and making a real impact on your customers doesn’t take much. If you want to create an unforgettable customer service experience for your customers (and drive brand loyalty in the process), here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Offer hassle-free returns. No matter how great your products or services are, there are going to be customers that need to make a return—and if that process is a nightmare, they’re never going to buy from you again. Offer a hassle-free return policy and make the return process as easy and straightforward as possible. When your customers realize that they don’t have to jump through 10,000 hoops to make a return, they’ll be much more comfortable making future and repeat purchases.
- Make it easy to find the information they need. If you have an issue or question that comes up often, beat your customers to the punch and make it easy to find the information they need—without needing to reach out to your customer service team. Things like how-to guides, reference articles and tutorials are a great way to add value and make for an easier, more effective customer service experience.
- Take the time to train your team. That said, you’re going to have customers who need a higher level of support—so make sure you take the time to train your CSRs to provide the highest level of service possible. Your reps should be friendly, know your products/services inside and out and be willing to go above and beyond to make sure your customers have everything they need to solve their issue.
- Ask for feedback. The best way to figure out exactly how to give your customers the kind of service they want and need? Ask them! Getting feedback directly from your customers (and then implementing that feedback) shows your customers that you’re invested in them for the long-term—which will make them more likely, in turn, to do the same. Send out feedback requests to your customers to ask how you can improve. Add a comments section to your website where your customers can submit feedback, comments and questions. Reach out to customers directly to see what they want from your brand—and how you can deliver it. The more feedback you get from your customers, the better you can adjust your strategy to suit their needs—and the more loyal they’ll be to your brand.
5. Give your customers incentive to keep coming back
A lot of brands put a crazy amount of time and effort into converting their prospects into customers—and then completely drop the ball once those customers have made a purchase.
If you want to foster brand loyalty, you need to put as much time and effort into taking care of your existing customers as you do getting new customers in the doors.
Things like existing customer discounts, exclusive events and early access to sales or product launches are a great way to add value and show your customers you appreciate their business.
When your customers feel valued and taken care of, they’re also going to be more loyal. They are more likely to recommend you to their friends and continue doing business with you over the long-term.
Get out there and inspire the kind of loyalty your brand deserves
Creating brand loyalty with your customers is key to taking your business to the next level. Now that you know exactly how to create that sense of loyalty, all that’s left to do is get out there, connect with your customers and inspire the kind of loyalty your brand deserves.
Author: Deanna deBara