Companies in the Food and Beverage industry are no strangers to loyalty programs, referral programs, affiliate programs, ambassador programs, influencer programs and more. All of these different types of programs at the end of the day have the same goal; to bring you new consumers while increasing repeat purchases from exciting consumers. From affiliate and ambassador programs where you could pay per lead to influencer programs where you might pay a fixed price, all of these programs work great together to grow your community and increase volume. The specifics of each program differ although their main purposes are the same.
The Food and Beverage Industry is well versed in the benefits of a customer loyalty and these referral type programs with their relatively low price point along with low margins, each company knows that selling a high volume is key to survival. Here are the top ways to increase volume and customer acquisition through brand loyalty!
Avoid the Leaky Bucket
This had to be the first point because without this then nothing else matters. The leaky bucket occurs when you are sending new leads, traffic and consumers to your physical location or ecommerce site only to lose the sale due to a poor customer experience or product quality. If you turn on a new affiliate program, which sends hundreds of leads to your ecommerce site but the user finds a poor website or slow purchase process then you’ll not only be wasting your time with the affiliate program but you’ll be throwing money away and hurting your bottom line.
Start with the basics, walk through the entire customer journey with your company. From start to finish, how does a customer experience your brand? Could they easily select what they want to order? How was the purchase process? Analyze every small detail and make sure that the consumer will have an enjoyable and easy experience. If you find any issues in your buyer’s journey then you must address this before moving forward with any type of loyalty or referral program, these programs won’t solve any pre-existing issues.
Access Millions Through Social Media
So your bucket has no holes in it? Congratulations! Now what? When you’re just getting started with your affiliate, influencer, referral or loyalty program you need to first outline your main goals then work backwards to determine how you can reach these and get the most out of your time and financial investment.
In every single one of these types of programs social media adds a layer of virality and social influence. There are 1.28 billion active daily users on Facebook, every single program can benefit from this statistic and opportunity to tap into a network full of consumers.
Some ways you can add social media to your customer retention and acquisition programs are to reward users for sharing content, leaving reviews, following/liking your pages, influencer image shares with a promo code, photo contests and more. These actions are easily tracked and provide your brand with an immense amount of visibility and viral growth.
Make It Shareable
Not all users need a well defined and robust affiliate program to bring you new customers or share content. Make your content, product branding, social media, ads and videos shareable. This means that you have to give your brand a personality and set your consumers up for sharing. Have a personality on social media, post funny videos, get real with your audience and show them who you brand really is. Once people see that your brand is full of real people and they see posts or referral links they’ll be more likely to share it with their networks and bring you new consumers.
Simplicity Is Key
When you’re getting started with referral type programs you need to keep in mind that people cannot be motivated to do something they don’t know how to do. Keep it as simple as possible and be sure to give each advocate a clear introduction. If you’re going to share codes with the users then explain how these can be redeemed and give them a place where they can always go to share this code. Create a short video for all of your new advocates that clearly explains what you expect of them and how the process works, showing what is in it for them.
Reward Beyond the Purchase
Transactional loyalty programs make up 97% of all loyalty programs out there according to Cap Gemini but there is so much value past the transaction and people can no longer be fooled into a purchase. Instead of forcing referrals to make a purchase, invite them to a loyalty club where they can be nurtured and guided into the purchase by their own free will.
Ask consumers to do things like leave reviews, invite friends, share social media posts, participate in contests, answer surveys and more, which all provide immense value to your company and give a unique experience to the user. This will guide them to the sale and make them more willing to refer new customers as well!
Data Data Data
Companies have long known the value of data. From customer demographics to preferences, interests, opinions, purchases, needs and more. The more data you can collect the more targeted your marketing can become and the more personalized your communications can be, increasing the probability of making a purchase. This also goes the same for referral type programs, you need to track each advocate’s results and preferences to better motivate them and reward accordingly. Those who are producing the least may not understand how the program works or need an extra push to be an active participate. Those who are producing the most should be recognized and taken care of. Make sure the technology you use to set up your affiliate program can track all of this data, allowing you to constantly analyze and pivot accordingly.
Well there you have it! They keys to grow your customer acquisition through brand loyalty! From avoiding leaky buckets to social media, shareable content, making it easy to use, going beyond the purchase and analyzing data, these keys will help ensure your program’s success!
Want more? Check out our latest article on building customer loyalty in Food & Beverage!