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A graphic representation of customer loyalty, using a present, heart and magnet.

How to Find and Reward Loyal Customers

Loyalty programs for CPG brands are nothing new to marketing, but adding strategic digital aspects can be one of the greatest ways to reward your biggest fans. And in turn these loyalty programs can create a solid customer base ready to connect with your brand in a positive way.

There are some well-known loyalty programs out there, that operate on the simple process of offering coupons in exchange for shopping data. Think about past programs like Campbell’s Labels for Education, or the currently running General Mills’ Box Tops, which reward customer loyalty by giving to schools. There are also third-party programs like SavingStar, which give coupons and offers to frequent shoppers.

While these are great ideas on their own, taking a full strategic approach on how to best acquire, connect, and grow customer loyalty can really bring your brand forward.

Seek Strategic and Ye Shall Find

Customer data can come from a variety of places, from product giveaways to user-generated content to deep-dive info sessions. What works best for your brand really means taking a look at what your customers want, and giving them something of value in exchange for information. Knowing what is valuable to them in the exchange is as much strategy as any other part. If the barrier to entry is too high (think long survey) you risk losing potential customers, but if it’s too low (only asking their name) you may not get the information you need to really connect.

The Chance to Make a Good Impression

A common first data step is to gather a customer’s email address. This is relatively easy for someone to give, and produces an opportunity to communicate and gain more information later.
Frequently brands gather info but don’t use it properly. There are so many opportunities to connect with a group of people interested in your brand or product, and all you need to do is set up a series of automated emails to send them.

These emails can be scheduled to deploy based on certain criteria (new sign up, if they opened or clicked on a previous email, etc), and should always be used to give your brand the best foot forward. Use these emails to connect with users, help them get to know your brand, and set expectations of what they will gain from future emails.

Monitor, Reach, Repeat

Collecting information can come from the customer without them doing any further work. Data can easily be pulled based on who opens emails, clicks links, returns to your website. And this statistically-driven data can be used to find lookalike audiences: potential customers that are highly likely to connect when they find your brand.

In addition to increasing your audience through lookalike advertising, monitoring engagement can help your company update and increase reach to those you are already communicating in. Insight can drive future ways to engage even deeper with your customers. Would they be willing to share demographics, interests, or places they shop in exchange for other rewards? This information will give you insight on where products can sell, what to promote and how to speak to customers.

Reward Customer Loyalty

As we stated in the beginning, people are willing to give more to a brand if they know they’re getting something in return. Focusing on the exchange is important at the start, but it can be equally important to remember as a long-term plan to keep customer loyalty.

When you know more about a customer you can connect on a stronger level, and you will be provided with small opportunities to surprise and delight your audience. Birthday emails are maybe the most well-known tactic for brands, but it’s equally as nice to send special offers or simply tailor the email messaging to their preferences. For example, a food brand could do a survey about lifestyle and diet preferences, after which they are able to send out emails tailored to different subscribers.

Customers these days have very strong opinions about companies. They think about the connections they make and they want to feel good about their choices in more aspects than just the brand’s offerings. Loyalty programs can drive sound data for your company, and allow the messages you want to not only reach the loyal customers, but build on that loyalty for stronger brand connections.