The Power of Brand Loyalty Marketing: Strategies for Success
It’s way cheaper to keep existing customers than it is to find new ones. New customer acquisitions cost up to five times more than retaining an existing customer, while slowing down the sales process drastically.
But keeping customers isn’t that straightforward, especially when most customers shop from brands that they are most familiar with.
Customers are more likely to buy from brands they know and trust. This is why new ecommerce brands might struggle with sales on their own website, but they are successful when listing products on Amazon or Etsy.
Brand loyalty drives conversions, and with better loyalty comes a longer customer lifetime value.
As a newer brand, finding loyal customers presents a serious hurdle to overcome. Breaking into a market means competing with brands that already have that loyal audience in place; in order to succeed, you must master the art of attraction and win customers over through your messaging.
The good news is brand loyalty isn’t just reserved for companies on the S&P 500. Successful small to medium sized businesses—even solopreneurs or freelancers—can all reap the rewards of brand loyalty.
Brand cultivation is key to converting any prospect into a paid customer, and getting those paid customers to keep buying from you.
And it can be done more easily than you may think.
What is Brand Loyalty?
Brand loyalty is the creation and evolution of a brand identity that develops strong emotional connections with audiences. This enhanced connection results in customers who enjoy engaging with the brand and who ultimately become long-term customers.
Loyalty isn’t cultivated overnight; it is grown through a comprehensive brand building strategy that involves a variety of repeatable steps.
Why is Brand Loyalty Important?
There’s the misconception that brand loyalty isn’t important for smaller organizations, or in spaces with less competition, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Think of your favorite local spots. Chances are there are multiple coffee shops or restaurants in your area, but you probably frequent 1 or 2 specific places. How come?
Your brand loyalty is probably from something simple like one restaurant cooking a better burger than others, or maybe it’s the fact that they greet you by name when you go there.
Getting the little things right on a consistent basis will manifest in longer term organic growth for your brand.
Having to search for new customers all the time is no fun. Successful brands have a dedicated audience who is emotionally invested in their brand and products.
When customers start feeling that emotional connection with a brand, they are far more likely to keep purchasing its products or services.
Companies with a high churn rate could be succumbing to a number of pitfalls:
- Bad customer service: a huge component of brand loyalty is responsiveness and resolution time. Even small brands struggle with this, especially when the founder is wearing a lot of hats.
- Poor products or services: it’s possible that the sales and outreach is there but the product itself is lacking. It’s hard to create brand loyalty when the product just isn’t up to par.
- Lack of resonation with customers: customers want brands to be able to perceive customer problems and offer a tangible solution. This is especially true if you offer a product that covers a “want” versus a “need”—your product isn’t a necessity for consumers, but it’s something that may enhance their life.
Differentiate from Competitors
It’s becoming increasingly harder for brands to stand out from competitors. By creating a unique identity and personality, you can resonate better with your target audience and deliver more consistent messaging across platforms.
A competitive analysis will show you how competitors are navigating their marketing channels and how customers are responding. For a local business, checking a competitor’s Google Business Profile reviews will show you how customers view the brand and provide insight into what they are doing effectively.
Conversely, there might be areas where your competition is lacking. This is why it’s helpful to read all their reviews, especially the negative ones. Here you’ll find some nuggets that might give you a decided edge.
Strong brand loyalty helps your business weather any economic downturn. Brands with poor loyalty will struggle in a recession since new customers are harder to come by.
Those with strong engagement and good customer lifetime values will be able to maintain more stable revenue streams during tough times.
Create a Sense of Community
Customers want to feel a sense of belonging with your brand. When you engage them on a deeper, more personal level, you are able to expand your rapport in a more human way.
For many brands, this loyalty is created through organic social media campaigns, especially on video platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Here, customers can communicate directly with brand decision makers and have their voices heard in real-time.
Social media helps customers feel more involved with their favorite brands and find other like-minded people with whom they can share passions.
Businesses should make customers feel welcome to share feedback, ask important questions, and articulate ideas for brand growth. Brands should be willing to share compelling stories and help customers feel a greater sense of purpose within themselves.
Schedule weekly AMAs (ask me anything) live streams so people can converse directly with brand leaders, raise concerns, or simply provide positive feedback.
Long-Term Impact of Brand Loyalty
Brand loyalty must be approached from a marathon perspective. If you show up every day and provide high-quality products, services, and customer support, you will eventually cultivate a sustainable level of brand loyalty.
This long-term impact will result in things like:
- Brand Advocacy: when customers love your brand so much they actively promote it and defend it against “haters.”
- Increased Revenue: more followers and longer lifetime values will naturally result in higher revenues for your brand. This will allow you to hire and expand operations further, even into newer markets or different countries.
- Advantage Over Competitors: beat out competitors with your stronger brand presence. When economic conditions fluctuate, you can focus on the large following you’ve created.
Brand Marketing Strategy
There’s no magic bullet when it comes to better brand loyalty, but there are several pieces that can work in tandem towards a stronger brand.
Content includes blogs, videos, images, or any other item of content that establishes your brand as a thought leader within the industry.
Thought leadership is especially important for SEO with Google’s E-E-A-T algorithm emphasis. Experience-Expertise-Authority-Trust are a set of metrics designed to measure a brand’s overall strength. Stronger E-E-A-T signals equate to higher Google search rankings.
The best way to boost E-E-A-T is to create content that is well-cited, includes attributions to qualified individuals (especially in the healthcare niche), and comes from a brand with a strong overall digital presence.
Content marketing is a great vehicle for enhancing these E-E-A-T signals. Since content can be created and shared across multiple brand channels, Google will be able to gauge the strength of a brand’s presence across the internet, connecting these signals back to the website itself.
Leveraging an established person’s credibility is another lucrative way to drive new customers towards a brand.
Influencer marketing is a strategy where your products or services get promoted by an established personality—not necessarily an A list celebrity, just someone with a sizable online following who is relevant to your niche.
Influencers can help drive large audiences to a brand by creating a paid promotion. These promotions are akin to ‘commercials’ only they run on the influencer’s personal social media account to their followers.
In many cases, influencer marketing campaigns have better ROI than PPC or display ads. Thanks to the organic-sounding nature of the messaging, they are a great way to introduce new audiences to a product or service.
It’s essentially a matter of using someone else’s brand loyalty to boost your own.
Many products are sold for the experience factor. Think of a tour guide company, where you are selling a visual experience that the target customer has never seen before. Or a new SaaS product that the customer needs to try out with help from someone on your team.
Experiential marketing creates memories before the customer even purchases the product. The goal is to give your customers a taste of the product before they actually buy it.
This could be a public party you are throwing for a product launch, it could be a local conference you are putting on, or it could be a pop-up tent that features your product at a software fair.
Giving your customers a hint of what you have to offer can be enough to close the deal.
Offering incentives to existing customers is another way to continue brand growth. “For each friend you bring our way, we’ll throw you $25.”
Referral programs help brands harness the power of affiliate marketing to encourage their customers to help them find new customers. It’s a way of using the audience to proliferate brand marketing.
Not only does referral marketing provide a cost-effective way to gather new customers, but it can also encourage a sense of community.
Implementing an efficient referral strategy starts with the value proposition. The brand should offer some sort of discount or other clear advantage for making the referral. If you can convince customers that it’s a great deal, they will be likely to refer more people and keep the pipeline going.
Measuring Brand Loyalty
As with every marketing effort, brand loyalty needs to be quantifiable. It’s not just a matter of counting total conversions, it’s about understanding customer perceptions. By recognizing how your brand is viewed by your audience, you will be able to make better decisions and expand your entity even further.
Here are some of the most useful KPIs for measuring brand loyalty.
The percentage of customers who engage with your brand repeatedly over time is probably the most telling metric regarding brand loyalty.
A high customer retention rate usually means that customers are satisfied with the quality of the product and the level of service being provided.
Ask your customers directly about their experience to learn what components of the engagement they like and what pieces they dislike.
You can get as specific as you want in these surveys, segmenting questionnaires by product purchases, interactions with customer support, or how they found out about the brand.
Similar to customer satisfaction surveys are reviews. Reviews can be left across a plethora of channels, including Google Business Profiles, Yelp, TripAdvisor or Facebook, and they provide an important sense of where you stand in the minds of consumers’.
Not only will the reviews reveal info about your brand’s perception, the act of asking for reviews will show you how customers truly feel. If you send a lot of “leave your review” requests and most don’t get answered, there’s probably an issue with brand loyalty.
Assuming your brand is moderately active on social media, the level of engagement you’re getting can say a lot about your brand loyalty.
How many likes, comments, or shares do you receive on average? This can indicate how engaged customers are with your brand and how likely they are to notice announcements like product releases or company news.
The percentage of customers who have made more than one purchase from your brand makes up the repeat purchase rate. A higher repeat purchase rate is indicative of customers who are satisfied with the product or service.
Although this doesn’t tell the whole story regarding how customers feel about your brand messaging overall, it does show you that customers like your offerings on some level.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS measures the chances of customers recommending a brand to people they know. It’s calculated by subtracting the percentage of people who wouldn’t recommend the brand from the percentage of those who would.
This process starts by asking each customer to rate the likelihood of recommending your brand on a scale of 1-10. A higher NPS equates to higher levels of customer satisfaction.
Calculating CLV helps brands understand how much revenue a given customer brings in and is expected to continually generate over the course of their relationship.
CLV is measured using a number of factors, like:
- Average Order Value: the average amount of money a customer spends on a given purchase from your business.
- Customer Retention: the chances that a customer will keep doing business with a company over time.
- Customer Acquisition Costs: the money a business spends in efforts to acquire a new customer.
By determining each of these financial components of a customer’s relationship, brands can calculate the customer lifetime value more easily. This creates a better sense of knowing a brand’s total ROI.
Brand Loyalty vs. Customer Loyalty: What are the Differences?
Brand loyalty and customer loyalty seem very similar, and they are, but there are a few key distinctions to keep in mind.
Customer loyalty can be formed when a brand exhibits lower prices than its competitors, resulting in less customer spending. Brand loyalty is more about the customer’s perception of the brand itself, having less to do with prices.
Brand loyalty stems from a customer’s ability to identify with a brand and feel an emotional connection, and this guides their purchasing decisions. Customer loyalty is more driven by the financial offerings you provide, like discounts, rewards programs, and other deals.
There are many companies that have excelled at brand loyalty on an international scale. Keep in mind that these brands didn’t create a loyal atmosphere overnight, it took many decades to reach a level of ubiquity.
- Apple: it started with computers and has since morphed into music players, phones, watches, and more. When people buy Apple products, it’s not just about getting a great device, it’s about being a member of the Apple family. How many people do you know who own more than one Apple product? How many own every Apple product?
- Amazon: thanks to free shipping, hassle-free returns, plus a generous refund policy, Amazon has become the leader in ecommerce. Their brand has become synonymous with efficiency and reliability among customers. It’s also been celebrated for its ease of use among Amazon sellers.
- Tesla: when it comes to electric vehicles, Tesla remains the standard bearer. Although the EV market continues to grow at a rapid rate, and many competitors have popped up, Tesla remains at the top of the heap due to their iconic looking vehicles and the charisma of their CEO.
These examples are world-renowned brands, but brand loyalty can be grown at much smaller levels. Even if you attract a very niche market in a small area, you should still aim to build a customer base that oozes brand loyalty.
How to Maintain Brand Loyalty
Once you have increased your customer lifetime value and are starting to see a valuable ROI from your efforts, it’s time to work on maintaining that brand loyalty.
This comes through constant communication with your customers to ensure your brand remains front of mind. It starts with sending out weekly or daily emails, announcing new products, sharing company news, or just checking in with past customers.
Make sure customers feel involved as you grow your brand and help them feel an emotional connection that keeps them coming back.
Get your customers excited for every brand announcement by leading with value. If they feel like you’re trying to help them instead of sell them, they will love you forever.
Are you ready to start improving your digital branding today?
Frequently Asked Questions
People who commonly buy Apple products because of their affinity for Apple. But this could be any set of purchases that are done primarily due to love for the brand itself.
Customers who reach a level where they insist on using the brand routinely and refer family or friends to the brand routinely.
Collaborate with other local businesses in different industries. Cross promotion can expose you to other customer bases that can end up showing interest in your brand.
Businesses can see boosts in revenue and higher customer lifetime values from improved brand loyalty. They can also worry less about economic downturns crippling their business since they have a built-in customer base.