Do you rely on satisfied customers and repeat business? If so, I’ve got good news. Because you can instantly attract more people into your business, guarantee future sales before they leave, and make them want to come back to your store again and again. Here are 4 proven programs you can put to use immediately to achieve these goals. Simply pick the one that would work best for your business, plug it in, and watch it go!
Find A Competitive Advantage
Let’s face it – if you do business in America – it’s competitive out there! Business owners are becoming increasingly sophisticated, meaning you have to do all you can to stay a step ahead of anyone who is trying to ‘woo’ your customers and take them away from you. So unless you provide a product or service your customer can’t get anywhere else, this is an issue that demands your immediate attention.
One of the best ways you can shorten your “marketing learning curve” is by putting programs in place that are already provento work. Time and time again it’s been shown that the quickest and easiest path to success lies in modeling the success of others. And it’s not that hard to do either.
Here’s what I mean.
The world’s most successful companies got that way for a reason. They find the things that work, and then do them over and over again. So if you see a marketing program being used by close to 100% of the world’s most successful businesses, shouldn’t that tell you something? Shouldn’t that indicate there’s at least a better than average chance it’d work for you too? Of course it should… and it DOES!
What’s Your Plan?
Would you agree that repeat customers are at the heart of every successful business? If you do agree, then I have a question: What specific marketing plan do you have in place to absolutely insure your customers will keep coming back? By “marketing plan” I’m talking about a detailed, systematic, approach that even applies to your first customer. An approach that every one of your employees can explain – without a moments hesitation.
Unless you can instantly respond with a specific name of a program then I would suggest you don’t really have one. And if you don’t then that’s a shame. Because it means you’re losing a lot of business unnecessarily.
There is a plan, however, that you can use to increase store traffic, generate referrals, and guarantee future sales. I call it your new “profit center”. And here it is…
A Time-Tested, Highly Successful Marketing Program!
Have you ever noticed that inside your wallet you were probably carrying at least one or two plastic cards bearing the logo of a business you frequent regularly? You know, one of those stores you go to that rewards you for coming back? Or one you’ll specifically go to for the points that accumulate with each purchase? Points that can be applied towards future discounts, or toward a free product or service?
If you’ve got a card like that in your wallet you’re not alone. Whether it’s called a loyalty card, rewards card, points card, advantage card, or club card – it’s been designed for one thing, and one thing only. To get you to keep coming back to that same store and spending more money each time you go there.
And it works!
Here’s just a partial list of American companies that offer rewards to keep their customers coming back: Supermarkets like Safeway, Kroger, Albertson’s and Winn-Dixie; Hardware stores like Ace and True Value; Office Supply stores like Staples and Office Depot (my wife will go to Staples – ONLY, and it’s for the rewards); Major hotel chains like Best Western, Holiday Inn, Marriott, Choice Hotels, Super 8; ALL major US Airlines; even pharmacies, banks, restaurants, motorcycle shops and tire stores all have rewards programs.
So do they work? What do YOU think? Here’s a hint… The above list of companies doesn’t even scratch the surface of those using loyalty programs, and trust me, they wouldn’t all be doing it if it didn’t work.
Here’s how they can work for you: I once read of a Harley Davidson dealer in Florida who had customers say they’d see things they’d want in other Harley stores around the state – but would wait and get it at HIS store, because they wanted the rewards.
And it’s not only anecdotal – because all purchases are easily tracked and reported there’s a wealth of data that supports the profitability of loyalty programs – year after year, in store after store. And you’ll probably agree that if the data didn’t show evidence that proved their programs were working they wouldn’t continue to keep them in place. Period!
Four Programs Proven To Increase Sales
Here are 4 types of loyalty programs you can select from to increase sales, followed by a brief description of each:
Pre-paid Value (a.k.a “stored value” card, or “gift” card)
Auto Rewards: An auto rewards program works by assigning either a point value or a dollar value to each purchase. Once a predetermined level is reached the award is earned. For example: If you owned a restaurant and knew your average ticket was $ 15, and you wanted to reward your customer after every 10th meal, you would set the point to dollar ratio at 1/1, and the reward threshold at $ 150. Once the threshold was achieved your loyalty card would automatically store a value of $ 15 your customer could use towards their next purchase.
Open Redemption: Open redemption means exactly that — it’s “open”. Being open means there is no preset level (threshold) needing to be reached in order to receive a reward. Instead, your customer redeems their accumulated point total whenever they wish. This tends to keep your customers more engaged, as they can set goals for something they want, and monitor their point totals until they can redeem them for their desired object..
Multi-Level: This one allows you to be a little more creative and assign points/rewards which can be redeemed at different levels of accumulating value (up to six levels). This enables you to progress from “lower priced” items to higher tickets with each purchase. For example, at Level 1 you might award 100 points, Level 2 at 250 pts. and so on. Once the required points are reached, your customer can redeem them for what you want. The higher the points, the greater the value of the reward.
Pre-paid is a great way to generate new traffic into your store. This one actually functions more like a “gift” card. where you “load” a card with a predetermined amount of value, say for example $ 10, and then you either hand them out or mail them out with an invitation to come to your store to redeem them. Years ago our insurance agent used to mail us a card on our birthday good for a $ 5 purchase, or $ 5 towards the purchase of anything from his local TCBY (The Countries Best Yogurt) store. My family loved it, and a wise TCBY owner gained at least one new customer each time a member of my family had a birthday.
There are many creative programs that can be custom-designed to help a business owner achieve his or her goals and objectives – and multiple benefits associated with each plan. A smart first step is to consult with a competent professional who can help you design the right plan.
Virgil Stanphill works as a Consultant in the Payment Processing Industry. If you have questions about loyalty card marketing, gift card marketing, or processing
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