In that time old tradition of “you, scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” client loyalty programs started emerging like mushrooms all over the modern retail and service industry at least 20 years ago. And lately, they’ve been multiplying like rabbits.
These marketing strategies aren’t just for the major retail players. Neighborhood coffee shops, boutiques and other small businesses have been getting in on the client loyalty act as well. So, here’s a good question … and a pretty obvious one, at that. Should you jump onto the loyalty marketing bandwagon? And, if so, exactly what would that look like?
Yes, you should offer loyalty programs.
If you have great customers, you should be doing whatever you can to keep them. Keeping them is a lot easier than getting new clients in your seat. According to Inc. magazine, it costs 5 to 10 times more to obtain a new client than it does to keep an existing one.
Implementing a loyalty program encourages your clients to stick with you, especially if they’re gaining a clear benefit from participating. Here are 3 types of client loyalty programs you can implement to keep your customers coming back to your station.
Email Opt-in: Here’s an easy way to get a loyalty program started. Simply provide a sign-up sheet for customers to receive updates about any offers or bonuses you may be offering. Clearly state what type of rewards they can expect as part of receiving your emails. Another advantage from using an email marketing program is that you can integrate it with your point-of-sale tool to keep track of client birthdays and anniversaries — providing personalized bonuses as well as loyalty bonuses.
The Punch Card: One of the oldest loyalty programs for small businesses is fairly simple. Give your clients a nicely branded card that you punch with a unique hole puncher or your unique signature. While the set up for this method is fairly simple, it doesn’t offer the data insights you would get with a digital program. Also, there’s a fairly good chance many of your customers will find it a nuisance to carry around an additional card in their wallets.
Social Networks: Perhaps you want to extend your rewards to a broader audience. If you are just starting to use social networks as part of your marketing, promise customers postings about discounts and rewards if they follow you. While this will not give a sense of exclusivity to your clients, it may provide an element of fun if you’re consistent with upbeat and quirky postings. Also, consider posting deals of the week or month. Add an element of surprise so it doesn’t become redundant.
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