5 Ways to Turn Existing Customers into Loyal Ones: The Best Loyalty Programmes for Small Businesses

5 Ways to Turn Existing Customers into Loyal Ones: The Best Loyalty Programmes for Small Businesses

Read Time: 4 Minutes


23 Feb 2017

When it comes to growing your business, it’s easy to put all your focus into finding new customers and extending your reach. What’s sometimes overlooked is how important it is to retain the customers you already have. 

According to Harvard Business Review, it costs a business between 5 and 25 times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to retain one. Additionally, business.com states that existing customers spend an average of 67% more than new customers. With those statistics, it might be time to show your frequent customers some love by creating a winning loyalty scheme.


Customer Loyalty Definition 

Put simply, customer loyalty is how far a customer is devoted to a brand, indicated by their purchasing with said brand frequently and over a long period of time. This is the result of consistently positive customer experience, satisfaction and value of the service provided. 


What is a Loyalty Scheme?

If you’re not already familiar with loyalty schemes, they’re essentially rewards programmes offered to customers to encourage repeat business. The rewards could range from anything from a free drink to vouchers, or in some cases, an advanced release on an exciting new product. Loyalty schemes can come in many different forms offering all kinds of treats, so we’ve rounded up a few shining examples to show how they can work for your business.


Refer a Friend

A great way to kill two birds with one stone is to adopt a ‘refer a friend’ scheme, which allows you to not only reward your existing customers but to welcome new ones as well! All you’d need to set up are referral cards that offer your customers a discount or gift for every new customer they bring in. You could hand them out in store, pop them in packaging or mail them out to your address list. You could even send them out as e-shots to all customers who sign up for an account or subscribe to your newsletter. However you choose to implement the scheme, the Nielson Global Trust in Advertising Report states that 83% of online respondents in 60 countries trust the recommendations of friends and family. So word of mouth referral is a powerful thing that can help you gain high quality customers who feel valued by your company.


Discounts for Other Small Businesses

If you want local customers to get behind you, it helps to show your support to fellow businesses in your area. Offering discounts for other small businesses is a brilliant way to extend your reach and keep customers coming back. For example, if your business resides in a busy shopping area, you could offer the staff of those shops 10% off your service, simply for being a neighbour! Not only will this help to encourage repeat custom, it will also help to build lasting business relationships and establish your place in the local small business community.


Top Customer Offers
A smaller margin for big spenders is a profitable way to ensure they keep returning, so show your most loyal customers how much you value them by offering them something exclusive. Clothing brand ASOS executes this idea flawlessly with its A-List rewards system. It works by giving their customers 5 points for every £1 you spend. Once you hit 500 points (£100 spent) you get a free £5 voucher (score!). If you make a second qualifying order you can unlock ‘level points’, which give you access to exciting discounts and rewards such as 15% off on your birthday and two double points days. This kind of loyalty scheme is ideal as it not only encourages customers to return but could make the experience fun, which in turn could encourage them to spread the word, growing your business in the process.


Host Exclusive Events
To ensure you’re at the forefront of a customer’s mind, you could host exclusive events in their honour. For example, if you run a local coffee shop, you could host a small business networking event to strengthen ties in the community and get people talking about your business. If the event goes down a storm as planned, the attendees will be more likely to return to your shop due to already having a memorable experience there. The more events you host and the more varied they are, the more customers you’ll reach in the process. By showing customers that you can offer more than just your product or service, you’re opening the door to a wider audience and communicating to them that you’re both innovative and exciting, making your business one to watch.


Loyalty Cards
One of the most cost-effective ways to keep customers coming back is to hand out branded loyalty cards with incentivised offers, such as a free dessert, free gift or a discount off their 5th, 8th and 15th purchase. Loyalty cards can provide lots of benefits to your business, from being a handy marketing tool for new customers to helping to bring in frequent sales. By giving your customers an incentive to return you can also start to build relationships with them. It’s this familiarity combined with a great loyalty scheme and a stand-out service that can turn occasional customers into regulars.


It may seem like a no-brainer, but investing in your customers and showing them that you value their loyalty is great for increasing sales and can establish a positive, trustworthy reputation for your company. Let us know what you do to keep your customers coming back by tweeting us @instantprintor using #instantprintuk.


About the Author

Hi, I'm Yasmin, the Sales Manager at instantprint. My main aim is to support businesses to create the best print possible by offering tailored advice and quotes.