Reghan Winkler: How small businesses keep customers

Loyalty is the ultimate compliment for a small business. If you are managing a business, it is essential to build customer loyalty and engage your customers.

Customers are loyal to companies that treat them well, and it is especially important to continue providing a great experience for them even after they have expressed their loyalty. Here are seven tips for building and maintaining customer loyalty:

1. “Try before you buy”

Consider allowing first-time customers to try a limited amount of products or services before they actually make a purchase. Likewise, consider offering customers a chance to try new products or services before they officially hit the market. This is not only an easy way to build trust, but it also shows whether the products or services have the potential for growth.

The “try before you buy” approach is a simple way to engage with customers, and it also gives the opportunity to collect email addresses to remarket to them in the future.

2. Get to know your audience by going “Live” on social media

Social media is a great way to connect with your customers. These platforms make it easy to interact with them, ask them questions and even offer them rewards for engaging with your content and your live video posts.

The key is to be genuine and sincere with your customers. Don’t just talk to them; tell them stories and get to know them. The more your customers feel like you are genuinely interested in them, and the more open and honest you are during these interactions, the more they will trust and respect your business, which may influence them to become returning customers.

3. Offer personalized rewards

Personalized rewards will make your customers feel appreciated and valued, creating a strong bond between you and them. You can offer rewards to your customers by giving them discounts, freebies or other incentives based on their behaviors, such as a percentage off certain products that they purchase frequently or a free gift on their birthday.

4. Consider a brand ambassador program

One of the most effective ways to build customer loyalty is to have a brand ambassador program. This allows you to reward your most loyal customers with special privileges or perks.

A brand ambassador program is a great way to encourage your customers to promote your business. You can reward ambassadors with benefits such as free products, discounts, or even special coupons for their friends, family, and followers.

5. Create special forums for loyal customers

It is essential to keep your most loyal customers engaged and feeling important. You can do this by creating a group where they can interact or starting a forum where you can share information and updates with them.

Groups and forums are the perfect way to build strong relationships with your customers, and they also enable you to easily send out frequent announcements and updates.

6. Feature user-generated content from repeat customers

Repeat customers are a gold mine. They are the ones who are most likely to recommend your business to their friends and family. They are also likely to generate valuable content featuring your products.

User-generated content is uploaded and shared by customers who have used your products or services. Encouraging and featuring this content is a great way to get your customers talking about your business. By acknowledging and sharing these posts, comments and reviews, you are showing your loyal customers that you appreciate them and value their opinion.

7. Prioritize the user experience

The user experience is one of the most important factors that will determine whether a customer will make a purchase from you or go to your competitors. You can improve your user experience by doing things such as providing outstanding customer service, having a responsive website, and giving your customers a simple, easy-to-use interface.

The more you treat your customers well and enhance the user experience, the more likely they are to keep coming back for more.

Taking the time to build and maintain your customer loyalty is one of the most effective things you can do to grow your business. Need more helpful tips and tricks for building your customer loyalty? Visit today!

Reghan Winkler is executive director of the Better Business Bureau serving West Central Ohio. The BBB may be found on the Internet at