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How to Create Brand Loyalists From First-Time Customers

You rarely hear people say, “I need an adhesive bandage” or “Hand me that absorbent cotton swab, would you?” Instead they say, “I need a Band-Aid!” and “Hand me a Q-tip.” Nor do people exclaim, “Don’t subdue me with your rechargeable electroshock weapon!” They shout, “Don’t tase me, bro!”

All these brands and more have moved past the point of just being products or services people purchase. They’re functioning elements of our society that have reached a state of ubiquity. 

Brand recognition isn’t just a sociological curiosity, either. It has a real economic impact. Because people tend to remember brand names over generic product descriptions, they aren’t just talking about Band-Aids. They’re buying them. 

The good news is there are methods you can employ to improve recognition of — and regard for — your brand. That’s what you need in order to create brand loyalists from first-time customers. Here are a few ways you can do just that. 

Be Consistent

When was the last time you couldn’t find Band-Aids on the shelf of your local pharmacy? If your answer is anything other than “never,” you likely find yourself in a rare subset of people. One way big-name brands maintain their valuable consumer recognition is through consistency. Whether it’s a product like Band-Aids or a service like Netflix, they’re always there when you need them. And your brand should do the same. 

No matter what you’re offering, make sure you’re as consistent as possible on every level. Whether it’s responding promptly to email, meeting your shipping dates, or showing up on time for installations, demonstrate consistency in all you do. The more consistent your product or service delivery is, the more reliable you’ll be perceived to be. And that reliability will encourage first-time customers to do business with you again.

The right tech can facilitate your consistency efforts. Take advantage of project management tools to ensure your deliverables are always on time. Use digital calendar software, such as a scheduler for small business, to stay on top of important internal and client-facing appointments. Even businesses just starting off must strive for professionalism, and technology can help. You may have the best offering in the world, but it won’t matter if people can’t rely on it.

Prioritize Quality

People recognize quality and will pay for it. Good quality, both in product and customer service, will incentivize people to come back for more. Additionally, satisfied customers are more likely to share their positive experiences with others. That’s one way good products naturally market themselves. So it’s important to focus on producing high-quality products and services from day one. 

“Sure,” you might say, “We’ll just keep our quality the same over time, and there will be no problems.” That’s easier said than done, unfortunately, as the modern economic ecosystem is hungry for growth. Motivated by economic pressures, many companies’ quest for growth eventually outstrips their commitment to quality. It can be incredibly off-putting for long-time customers to watch a product they love become a shadow of its former self. All but the most loyal — or resigned — may begin to seek alternatives elsewhere. 

First-time customers will love your product if it provides, and continues to provide, a quality solution to their needs or desires. The more you invest in preserving quality, the more consistent and reliable your offering will be considered. Again, think of how a box of Band-Aids purchased at any pharmacy across the country will work just as well as any other. Continued investment in brand quality can turn a first-time customer into a life-long loyalist, so don’t skimp.

Create a Loyalty Program

There’s no shame in baking loyalty programs into your customer’s purchases. In fact, there’s a good chance you’re already participating in at least one loyalty program yourself. Do you carry a punch card for your local coffee shop, which gives you your tenth cup of coffee free? That’s a loyalty program. 

Even if roasted beans aren’t for sale on your shelves, you can still create your own loyalty program. Offer some kind of freebie on the nth purchase of one of your products or the nth appointment at your salon. Or reward customers with premium perks for being subscribed to your service for x number of months. Or incentivize them to spread the good word about your brand with referral programs. There are tons of different ways to create loyalty programs that will keep your customers coming back time and time again.

One downside of loyalty programs like stamp cards is that they require the customer to keep track of their purchases. If the customer ever loses this card, they lose all their accumulated progress. You can combat this by offering digital loyalty programs. Use a QR code, email, or SMS notification system to track your customer’s eligibility for loyalty rewards. This level of reliability again elevates your brand above others, incentivizing customers to come back through your doors. 

Becoming a Fixture in Your Customer’s Life

Becoming a fixture of your customer’s very experience of the world is the pinnacle of brand loyalty. Again, think of household names like Starbucks, Walmart, or YouTube. For better or worse, these brands help color Amercans’ mental landscape. 

Now, there’s no guarantee your brand will grow to such astronomical proportions. These super-brands have long since surpassed their original target audience — that audience is now the world. Fortunately, your brand doesn’t have to be that successful to still be successful. 

All you need to do is create loyalists within your target market segment. Once you have a core base of repeat customers, you’re on your way to growth. And it all starts by ensuring your first-time customers remember their good experience with your brand.