Loyalty has been a key factor for many companies in the past – people were loyal to their local butcher, grocer and milkman. Then came along a wide spread social change created by an increasingly competitive market and loyalty became less and less popular.

Recent years has seen loyalty becoming a key part of decision making again, and more importantly, dictating where people are spending their hard earned money.

Big brands are now reporting an increase in their own loyalty programs, however these loyalty programs have evolved from them spend x and save y beginnings. Now they are increasingly elaborate to help draw back people’s loyalty in todays competitive marketplace.

Large brands can cope with these sophisticated loyalty programs, but just how can a small or medium sized business keep up with this trend for loyalty to avoid being left behind.

Creating Loyalty

Loyalty is something that can be created with a little love and care.

The key to loyalty is never forgetting that your customers are the reason why you are in business; without them you would not have the success that you do have.

Keeping their favour with an easy purchasing process, a quality product/service and a great after service is just the beginning.

Taking this a step further by showing you appreciate their purchase is where the loyalty can develop from.

The simple steps of setting up a loyalty program could be done - spend x amount and get a discount of y on a future purchase. But like we have just said, this kind of loyalty programs are being eclipsed by the ever more elaborate loyalty programs.

Creating a membership or community around your loyalty program helps to take this a step further.

Creating a Membership or Community

Building a membership for your customers can be done with the right branding and with the right incentive provided to join.

Keeping engagement with your brand is key, social media and useful targeted email campaigns can help here. It is well known that personalised offers make your customers feel special and recognised.

Managing and analysing this data is often seen as restricted to the large brands, however, with a little bit of realism, good organisation and management it is perfectly possible.

You Don’t Need to Go It Alone

Your efforts to build up a great loyalty scheme does not need to be done alone. Contact complimentary product and service providers to see whether they wish to partner.

Brand partnerships are becoming more and more popular when creating memberships and communities, they are a great way of providing more for your customers within the constraints of your own budgets and resources.

If you are a small or medium business this is where you can shine. By partnering with complimentary local businesses (if you are restricted by location in your own product and/or service), or by like minded businesses online, you can help share the burden of offering value and give yourselves a wider audience to promote yourself to.

Share your own Loyalties

All memberships and communities are based on shared loyalties.

If you have your own loyalties, whether that be to a particular charity or purpose, then share this with your members. Like minded customers and potential customers can therefore buy into your loyalties as it matches their own.

A common purpose at the moment is the push to reduce our dependence on plastic. If this is something your business is pushing to do internally with your own packaging and marketing then let people know this.

Sharing your loyalties lets people buy into your brand emotionally and sets you apart from your competitors. This may just be what pushes them to purchase from you over a cheaper competitor.


A key element to remember here is the latest data protection regulations, the GDPR.

Care must be taken to ensure that any data you collect and store to offer a membership or community for your customers is kept secure. Only the data you need to run such loyalty scheme should be kept and you should ensure that exiting the membership or community is simple.

Even the smallest of businesses can run a loyalty scheme to help encourage loyalty amongst their customers and potential customers. However, a clear loyalty strategy and a clear and rational roll out of said loyalty scheme will be needed to ensure its success.

Published: 2nd Jun 2018

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