Motivating customer loyalty is a highly desirable action for any company that offers a service or product. Often, it is customer loyalty that influences buying decisions, and you can only create it by developing congruent emotional bonds to drive emotional loyalty.
It is true that rational influences, such as price and product quality, may be the deciding factor when a consumer initially chooses a product, service, brand, or retailer. However, after this initial sale, you must nurture emotional loyalty with your clients and recognise that 80% of a person’s decisions are made on the basis of emotion.
Spurning genuine loyalty goes far beyond offering a rewards card or points system. If you want customers to keep buying from your brand, you need to inspire emotional loyalty through deeper connections made at all key moments of engagement. When emotional loyalty is the basis of your marketing, you will mirror human behaviours and foster a significantly improved lifetime value.
Here we explore how your marketing activities, rewards program, and customer engagement can foster emotional loyalty.
Developing trust and respect is the priority of emotional loyalty in marketing. All interactions must have a genuine nature, and these must be consistent across the board. Customers want to feel as though there is a person behind every interaction.
You can develop trust by:
- Personalising email communications
- Letting the consumer know that you manage their personal information with the utmost care
- Creating periodic campaigns where customers can donate points or rewards to a good cause or charity
- Aligning your generosity with the beliefs of customers and the most significant issues affecting them, society, the environment, or humanity
Emotional loyalty also requires recognition and rewards for customers and their behaviours outside of buying a product or service. These types of behaviours should provide value to your company in some way.
You can recognise loyal customers by:
- Offering rewards for completing surveys that give you valuable customer insight, such as their beliefs and buying motives
- Rewarding customers for reviewing products or services, referring family, friends, or coworkers, and completing their profile
Building A Close Affinity
Developing a close affinity with customers ranks up there with trust and can, in fact, reinforce a trustful bond. Creating customer affinity is about bringing your mission statement into a parallel state that mirrors the customer’s values and beliefs. When an affinity exists, you create brand advocates and inspire customer support where their motives go beyond self-serving ones.
You can create a state of affinity by:
- Inviting loyalty program members to join VIP clubs or attend community events
- Personalising messages and recommending relevant products
- Offering early access to services or products
- Encouraging customers to be part of a community through social media competitions that reward comments or photo sharing
Customer attachment occurs when you build a lasting connection. When an attachment exists, your consumers are more likely to engage with your brand regularly and less inclined to leave. The customer is also more likely to perform behaviours that positively affect your business’s KPIs, such as increasing buying frequency.
You can build customer attachment by:
- Offering special treatment to members with experiential rewards
- Providing different forms of gamification
- Providing exceptional treatment to acknowledge your most valuable customers
- Commenting on and reliving your last interaction
Loyalty rewards need to be memorable if you are to build an emotional connection between your clients and brand. To achieve a long-lasting impression, rewards should constitute a mix of digital, physical, and experiential choices.
You can create memorable rewards by:
- Ensuring rewards are fully-branded
- Offering loyalty programmes that last all year long, keeping your brand front of mind long after the initial purchase
- Offering signed merchandise if you have relationships with notable celebrities, influencers, or designers
- Creating a catalogue of partner rewards
- Providing early access as a low-cost reward with high-value perception
An emotional bond is the key to customer loyalty. Fostering emotional loyalty is about having an authentic and genuine relationship with your customers, where you listen and engage. Your marketing will create emotional loyalty when you focus on trust, recognition, affinity, attachment, and memorability.
For a free consultation about loyalty marketing for your insurance company, Jamie Fisher (Commercial Commercial Officer – The Super Marketing Group) can offer advice and options – please click here.