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Welcome to The Business Animal podcast. saddle up for a gallop to the top of the animal industry, where you’ll learn how to tame your wild business beast, with tips, techniques, and tools that will take overwhelm to obedience school, and have you wagging your tail with joy. And now your hosts, Kim Beer, and Cara Taylor Swift.
Kimberly Beer 0:24
Hey there business animals, it’s Kim Beer with Be More Business
Cara Taylor Swift 0:27
and Cara Taylor Swift with Fast Horse Photography.
Kimberly Beer 0:29
And we have a wonderful episode to bring you today. This is the well anticipated part two of our customer loyalty two part series where we’re talking about customer loyalty. If you didn’t listen to the other episode with Terri Cage, who is our guest expert for that episode, she gave us a really good customer loyalty program that she uses. But in the research part for that episode, Cara and I got so far into this topic and loved it so much that we definitely wanted to bring a part two where we gave you some more information on creating that customer loyalty program and also fostering loyalty among your customers even without necessarily a program.
Cara Taylor Swift 1:14
Absolutely, I had so much fun researching this. The truth is, is that customers are making purchasing decisions every day, right. So we know just from our experience that it’s based on so much more than price point. They’re looking for businesses that have shared values that they find engaging, or that they are comfortable engaging with, and really that inspire emotional connection, they’re just looking for more these days. So customer loyalty programs are such a fun and incredible way to provide more value to your customers and keep them engaged beyond the point of sale, like where that sale ends or where that connection and you can keep them engaged. And they really can be an inexpensive way to increase your sales and to set you apart from your competition. So Kim, do you want to jump into our big three
Kimberly Beer 1:57
I do, I want to give you guys your big three. For this episode, the first thing we’re going to talk about is how valuable those return customers truly are for your business. I know everybody likes to chase the next shiny object. But trust me, the customers that you’ve already made, they have a lot of intrinsic value. And we’re going to talk about that and how you can build that with your customer base. The second of our big three is a suggestion to create programs that concentrate on expanding the customer relationships that you already have your customers have already had an interaction with your brand. And obviously they liked that well enough to complete a sale with you. So your customer programs should expand upon that experience. And kind of what we want you to do is get in alignment with that. And we have some suggestions there. The final of our big three is to work towards creating community amongst your customer base. I think it’s important even more so now after the pandemic and I am saying after the pandemic, I’m fully vaccinated and feel like I’m out I had dinner at an actual restaurant last night
Cara Taylor Swift 3:02
getting crazy Kim
Kimberly Beer 3:03
I know that’s just like nuts going out to a restaurant and eating in a restaurant. But community I think has become even more important. I think one of our COVID lessons is that we all are seeking community at all points in time. And it’s it’s very important for us to build that amongst our customers because it builds a strong relationship. Let’s dive into why return customers are the most valuable ones.
Cara Taylor Swift 3:27
I thought it was so interesting. When I was doing some of the research on this the statistics for it. One of the things that jumped out at me is that members that are of customer loyalty programs, and this this number varied but the one that I saw that was the highest was are 75% more likely to make another purchase after receiving some kind of incentive from the loyalty program. So when you think about that, in terms of return customers are your most valuable customers, holy cow. I mean, it just takes away so much of that having to go out there and look for more people. If you can have the your existing customers come back to you over and over and over again and be joyful and excited and ready to do that
Kimberly Beer 4:08
well and you’ve already invested in those customers you’ve already made the investment in the marketing to get them into your business, acquiring a new customer is between five and 25 times more expensive than just retaining the ones that you already have. And those return customers even aside from the membership loyalty programs, which I think is I do think is an astounding number. They actually spend more statistically even without that when they come back into a business, it tends to be 70% more that they spend with your business. that statistic came from a few years ago from Constant Contact presentations that I used to do. So I mean, it may have shifted or changed a little bit but it really means that those customers are very valuable. They spend more and they cost less and that’s the two things you’re looking for as an entrepreneur right less cost more value.
Cara Taylor Swift 4:59
So literally Not to mention the whole social proof aspect of it. And for those of you who are saying what’s social proof, if you go to your listening app, you’ll see episode number five as our social proof episode, and we dig deep and talk all about social proof. But there are those people out there that are spreading the word about your business, leaving the testimonials and reviews, you know, having the over the fence line conversations are, you know, sitting aside a horse next to another person having conversations about your business, and that is going to be the people that when they come to you, they’re inquiring about your business, they’re pretty much sold already. Because someone they know, a friend, someone they trust or admire has already used your service or accessed your business,
Kimberly Beer 5:38
the thing that I see a lot of particularly new entrepreneurs do is they feel like when they have acquired a customer that that customers in their basket, and they don’t need to do a lot to support that customer or because that person is a customer, right, they’ve moved from being a lead or a prospect into being a customer. And now that entrepreneur has kind of kind of got him saved, so they can go on and chase, the next new customer that they find. The problem is, is if you neglect those customers that you so called put in your basket, they will go on to your competition, they’ll go on somewhere else, if they don’t remain tain that connection with you. So when we say return customers or valuable customers, that doesn’t mean that you can slack on the relationship, you still have to work for it. But know that that person that comes back in is going to be much more valuable. And the work that you have to put in it costs a lot less
Cara Taylor Swift 6:39
well. That’s why loyalty programs can be so great, because they can be designed in a way that allows you to help keep existing clients engaged. So there’s activities, there’s things that they can participate in, there’s content that they may be getting that is exclusive to that program, and it is a way to keep you in the forefront. So when you know, we like to think we’re totally memorable, and that everyone is going to remember us when they need something. But the truth is, is that we’re probably more forgettable, you know, in a lot of ways and so
Kimberly Beer 7:07
we’re totally forget.
Cara Taylor Swift 7:08
forgettable. So you know, yeah, they, they had a great experience with us, well, not so
Kimberly Beer 7:12
we’re not going to ever forget us.
Cara Taylor Swift 7:14
So. So you know, they’re out there and they’re busy. And maybe it’s been two years since they’ve needed your business for your product or your service. And they’re remembering, oh, I need to get this done. Again, who was that person that I used, if it’s not an easy place that they’re finding you, it’s going to be the next person that pops in front of them, you know, that has a decent looking business. So keeping your customers constantly engaged is the way to kind of always be in front of them and ready when they’re ready for you.
Kimberly Beer 7:42
Absolutely. And I think that leads us very nicely into the second one of the big three, which is to create programs that expand on that relationship you’ve already built do align with your brand experience, you have to remember people chose you for a reason. And your customer loyalty programs should really align with that reason and, and really strengthen the relationship even more. And we have some great ways for you to do that. One that I happen to love is our socially shadow, which we’ve mentioned before, we don’t like the word socially stalking, but socially shadowing your your customers to find out what’s really important to them, and then making a customer loyalty program that really fits who they are and their lifestyle and how they interact with their environment and their world. And I think this is where animal based businesses actually have a huge strength over some other industries is because their clients have that connection to the animals and all of the the community shares that. So it’s sometimes really easy to be able to access what they love through the animals and how to start that conversation. But a good place for you as the business owner to start to get to know that is to friend the people on Facebook or follow their Instagram account or connect with them on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter, whatever it is that your customers are doing, where they hang out, go hang out there, so that you can have conversations with them, and it will give you endless ideas of how to create a better and stronger customer relationship with them.
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Cara Taylor Swift 10:00
I love that. And I do a lot of that in my business on a regular basis. And it really gives me an opportunity to get to know my clients better and connect with them and also find the things that are important to them and where our shared values line up. So if I know that they’re into one of the local organizations that I support here in town, and if I see other clients are participating with that, or giving to that organization, that’s automatically a shared value that we have that could potentially be part of, you know, a loyalty program that’s created. So yeah, I love that. So then the third of our big three is working towards creating that community among your customer base. And one of the fun ways to do this is creating a loyalty program that does have a bit of exclusivity to it. So for me, the fast horse herd, one of the things that I’ve been working on is creating the fast horse insider loyalty program.
Kimberly Beer 10:50
I love that.
Cara Taylor Swift 10:51
Yeah, right. exclusivity, you know, everybody who is photographed by Fast Horse Photography is a herd member, but the insider program is going to be a really cool way to give back and to support through my loyalty program, you know, it should be something that really has a high perceived value for the customer. And that doesn’t necessarily need to be a financial gift, or, you know, a give back, although there are lots of ways we can talk about that we will talk about where you potentially could do that. But the big key is, is that people want to be a part of it, make it attractive, make it exciting, make it feel exclusive.
Kimberly Beer 11:24
Yeah. And it also is an experience that they know other people are having. So they realize they’re part of something bigger, they’re part of a community and your fast horse insiders may run into each other and go, Hey, you’re a fast horse Insider. I’m a fast horse Insider. And it gives them a common place for them to start having a conversation and get to know each other. I think that we always underestimate as business owners, the drive that human beings have to have relationships with each other. And I think that also keeps your customers stuck to you. Because if they’re friends, and there are people that they meet are all using your business, then they’re much more likely to stay with your business than go to your competitor. And that’s what we want, right? We want them to stick with us like glue. We want them to be with us. And I think part of that is creating that cohesive community that kind of gets everybody adhered together and staying with that one business. Cara do you want to dive into? You’ve created a really nice step by step way for people to create their loyalty programs. Do you want to dive into that yet?
Cara Taylor Swift 12:32
Let’s do it. So Kim, I was thinking about some of the steps that folks should consider when they are ready to create their very own customer loyalty program. The first thing that I think is super important is you got to keep it simple, right? If it’s so confusing, if it’s so complicated, or there’s a billion steps involved, then the truth is your customers might not understand it, or that it’s going to be forgotten. Or if it’s too hard or too like it just takes up too much brainpower it’s probably just going to be ignored or
Kimberly Beer 13:03
if there’s too many rules. Yeah, oh, God, I don’t like loyalty programs with rules. I’m sorry, you can’t do that. Because you didn’t do this first. And you know, if you’re not here with this first thing, then you can’t get to this next thing, you’ve got to make it easy for them. Like training an animal, you have to break down the steps and make it super simple.
Cara Taylor Swift 13:22
you say it all the time. Keep it stupid, simple.
Kimberly Beer 13:25
Keep it stupid, simple that KISS principle.
Cara Taylor Swift 13:28
That’s right. So keep it simple. And then this might sound like a, I don’t know, kind of a non important part. But it is an important part. Choose a name for your customer loyalty program that customers can be excited to be a part of. So for Fast Horse, it’s you’re a fast horse Insider. That’s what the program that I’m working on right now you’re going to be a fast horse Insider. So think about something that’s going to be exciting to be a part of that people will be proud to talk about it and you know, say it out loud. So think about something that’s exciting, feel silly, but it really is an important part.
Kimberly Beer 14:00
It is I have the creative adventurers club.
Cara Taylor Swift 14:03
Oh, I love that.
Kimberly Beer 14:04
Who doesn’t want to be a creative adventurer? That’s my facebook group page for the folks that I interact with and are doing like my content creation school programs and stuff like that. It’s like a little extra group called the creative adventurers club and I want to be a member of the creative adventurers club
Cara Taylor Swift 14:22
everything about that gets me excited like creative. Yes, adventurer. Yes. You know, club, we all like to be part of clubs, right? We’d like to belong. So Boom, boom, boom, right there. And then I love loyalty programs that create greater program meeting so they really tap into the why the why behind your product or service. So they’re really tapping into that. So figure out I mean, you know your why, as an animal based business owner, you know your why. So tap into that and figure out how do you create your program based on that that gets folks excited, and there are so many different ways that your customers can participate and receive reward. You have to figure out. Like if you create a program, it has to have multiple ways that your customer can participate. So we got to keep it simple, but there should be lots of access points so that your loyalty program participants can receive reward. So some examples I have here are Can you reward people for social media posting about your business for leaving a review or testimonial? Can your program include things like rewards for subscribing to your blog for referring new customers, that’s probably one of the more common ones we hear about is rewarding your clients for referring new customers, you can always reward people for purchasing product or services or purchasing either certain dollar amounts or tiered you can tier it. So if you reach this point, this is your reward. If you reach this point, this is your reward. And then one of the things that I really loved was donations to charities that your business support. So once again, you’re looking for that shared value. One of the companies that I hear on podcast all the time is that Rothie shoes, do you have you heard Rothies it’s like, every pair of shoes that they sell, they donate a pair to a child that doesn’t have shoes, right? So God who doesn’t want to buy a pair of shoes, and then gift a pair of shoes, I mean, all you’re doing is buying yourself a pair of shoes, and look at you you’re gifting someone a pair of shoes at the same time that feels amazing. So if you can find ways that you can donate as part of the loyalty program to businesses that you support, or businesses that you and your clients share, support of, that is a win win. I also recommend creating non-monetary benefits for your customer loyalty program based on your business’s value. So once again, donate that percentage of profits to programs, animal rescues or nonprofit organizations. But what about if you could allow the folks in your customer loyalty program to gift their benefit to someone else? How amazing would that be? If your program offers like a free product? What if you could gift it to someone for their birthday, or for an anniversary or a graduation gift? Think of all the things you’re doing there, you’re rewarding your client, you are getting information out to someone totally new, potentially who’s getting the gift and there’s multiple access points for your business. I just love that so much. I’m like,
Kimberly Beer 17:18
how do I get to I love that a lot. And I love the idea of the non-monetary benefits. The one of the bigger things in sales that I think people get hooked up in and and we talked about this a little with Melisa Pearce, we talked about money and value and that kind of thing. In that episode, a lot of people money is not the driving force in their buying decision or their return decision. It has to do with your brand. It has to do with that community. It has to do with the experience and the relationship. I think non monetary rewards feel really nice for your customers and for you as a business owner, because they build on that relationship without having that weird mucked up some kinds of complicated energy around money. And there’s a ton of ways that you can create things that reward your community, I was thinking like just having a really wonderful party or something that you could have at the end of this season that your fast horse insiders could come to and and be a participant in and talk to each other and get to know each other and meet each other and maybe bring a guest which would be a new customer
Cara Taylor Swift 18:27
do a holiday party and have everyone bring a gift for a kid or for the local charity. Yeah. And then then as a whole group, your whole loyalty program is gifting stuff to your collective group that you support your organization that you support. I get excited about this. Can you tell?
Kimberly Beer 18:45
I do too. And I had another idea about the same thing. You know, every single animal rescue that I photographed for, they always have a laundry list of things that they need, not necessarily monetary donations, but things they need. And oftentimes, they’re things that maybe the people in that same type of animal group have access to like, I know our local horse rescue needs halters right? How many of you have halters in your tack room that you could donate how they clean out your tack room kind of white elephant donation party or your loyalty club members and then you all present that as a group you present to the horse rescue or animal rescue or shelter, whatever organization you’re supporting, with the donations that they really need and can use and ma’am that’s a feel good moment
Cara Taylor Swift 19:38
it is and just think of all of that feel good being directed towards you and your business. Like it’s associating your business with a good positive feeling of community and community love and support.
I mean, that’s amazing. And cam I’m not done. I
Kimberly Beer 19:53
have more. And I don’t want to leave. I know. I know you do, but I’m too excited about I know particular
Cara Taylor Swift 19:59
I’ve already mentioned
Kimberly Beer 20:01
Go on spinning.
Cara Taylor Swift 20:04
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Guys, more rewards. Okay, we talked about joint ventures on episode number 10. Okay, so think about these organizations that you can collaborate within your community, guess what, maybe you could work with a local treat maker, dog treat maker or a local pet bakery. And when your client hits a milestone in the reward program, they get an extra reward from this other business, you’re mutually cross promoting each other and the rewards for your loyalty program just doubled. I love that idea. And then the last idea that I had was, you’ve got to have fun with it, right. So find a way if possible, to gamify your customer loyalty program, even if it’s just for short, little snippets of time, run a contest, run, some kind of whoever can get the most points, just think of some way to make it fun and inspire that like competitive spirit that we all have, this will first of all, it’s going to get your clients engaged, right, it’s going to get those people engaged, they’re going to be posting about you more possibly talking about you more, you’re going to be on the forefront of their mind. And then you’ve got to have a cool some kind of cool reward for it. But I loved the idea of trying to figure out ways to put the game into your customer loyalty program.
Kimberly Beer 22:04
I love the gamifying piece of things, I think it’s an important part of the way that we learn and interact with each other in human psychology. And good fun, clean, competitive spirit is always away, you get people kind of talking to each other and maybe maybe even talking a little fun loving trash, I’m going to get this I’m going to get it I have more I have this I have that. It just gets people interested and and much more excited about sharing their accomplishment and sharing their journey. And that’s what makes them really honed into your business and very interested in maintaining the system that you have created. And you also have some wonderful ideas on here of kind of a nice list of things that people could use that kind of are in that vein of gamification,
Cara Taylor Swift 22:53
I spent a lot of time looking at like all of the different processes for your loyalty programs. And I feel like this selection could be really useful for those of us out there working our animal pet or equine based businesses. So one of the first ones that we talked about was punch cards. So these are probably super familiar. I mean, you buy 10 ice cream cones, you get your 11th one for free, right, you punch a little card, I could really see this being something that would work for the types of animal businesses where there’s a lot of repeat, you see them monthly or quarterly or every few weeks or this could be something like you know your farrier, or your equine dentist, you know somebody that you’re seeing them once a year, twice a year or monthly or quarterly depending upon the program, but you get that card punched. And at the end of your punch, you receive some kind of reward people that have those that are part of a loyalty program like that are going to be more likely to continue to use you because they want to get to that reward. We have two or three pet stores here in town, I have a punch card for one of them, which after I buy a certain number of dog food bags, I get a free dog food bag, I will go out of my way to not buy dog food anywhere else, because I know that that $60 bag of dog food is gonna be worth a lot to me. And if I can get to even if it’s 10 or 15 bags I have to buy it’s worth it for me to only go to that store when they’re open.
Kimberly Beer 24:21
No kidding. We have a store here in Butler as well. It’s a local farm store. It’s called the Family Center. And they have a thing where you check in every time and every like eight visits, you get some type of a reward. And it’s kind of random. Sometimes it’s like $25 off. Other times, it’s like a $10 gift card. I mean, sometimes it’ll have like you earn something and I patronize that store religiously because I love counting up because every time I check out it has a little thing that pops up on my they have a whole electronic system for this. And by the way, there’s a lot of software for this punch card and this the same concept that we’re talking about. You can investigate it on Google, but it pops up in it tells me and so many more visits, you earn this. And I’m like, Okay, I’m planning out my shopping list to my visits over the next couple of weeks. So I participate in these. And I think a lot of us do.
Cara Taylor Swift 25:14
Absolutely. And Kim was just saying, you know, there are high tech things out there that you can use, like you can have an app built that is geared just towards your program, there are so many things out there you can use. But when I put this together, I was thinking about businesses like mine, they’re small, small budget, like super low key, we can all get fancy one day if we want. But we don’t have to start out that way. Right. And another really common one is the referral programs that offer rewards for customer referrals. So I do this, if someone refers someone to my program that ends up booking with Fast Horse, they get an additional print credit to use towards their product purchase. So that’s something that I track. And I really enjoy that I definitely think people need which we talked about already look for those mission driven ideas, you know that how members can make a difference in their community. So things like you know, Kim and I were talking about earlier, where you can encourage people to bring in donations, and maybe they get some kind of dollar value added towards their services that you provide, or a product that you provide, just by bringing something in like we have a canned food drive here and you bring in a canned good, and that comes off your ticket price, you know, during the can drive time. So just ways that you can help, you know that mission driven side of things, I’ve seen point systems, so you tally and once you reach a certain point, there are rewards for that, or it’s tiered. So once you cross over a certain number of points or a certain dollar amount, there’s a reward for that. So you know, every business is going to be a little different and how that works for them. There are subscription programs out there where you can encourage people to pay into your subscription program, like a yearly fee, or a one time fee, I think about this, like, you know, Amazon Prime, you know, you pay Amazon Prime fee, and then you get free shipping and you get, you know, free movies and TV and stuff like that. So I think about it like that you have a subscription program. And then you receive special discounts, exclusive products that are only available to your loyalty members or services, and then also content. So you may be creating educational materials or blog posts or funny materials that are content that’s exclusive to that program.
Kimberly Beer 27:19
Yeah, and I see this a lot in the joint venture. I mean, I think this is really beneficial when you have like four or five businesses that are really complimentary to each other. And then the customer buys into this whole experience. And then you guys kind of share the workload across the group to support that customer. But yes, you’re right, Amazon Prime. And to be honest, if you want to take this one step further, for those of you who are doing like integrative animal medicine, the chiropractic massage, nutrition, that kind of thing where you’re providing like a routine service, if you have somebody kind of pre paid for that, or subscribe to it, where you’re kind of charging them on a regular basis, maybe offering them the discount, that’s a type of loyalty program to that’s where you’re rewarding people for coming back to you over and over again. And honestly, it’s super beneficial for you as a business owner.
Cara Taylor Swift 28:13
Absolutely. And then one of the things that I think can’t be overrated is consider the customizable reward options. So like a one size fits all is not going to work for everybody. So think about finding ways that your customers can choose from reward options, like how do they how they can use their points or their reward. So maybe in my line of work, if I was going to reward someone with print credit, I would say you can use this print credit towards any of these products or it’s not, I’m not just giving you this one type of product. Think about ways that in your business, you can increase the options for people so that it’s more valuable to them, and they have more freedom in how they use it.
Kimberly Beer 28:53
Yeah. And if you have questions on what would be good options, a good thing to do is to do a little bit of a survey or a poll and ask people what would they find valuable in in that? What would they find valuable options, and you’ll get a variety of answers to that. And then you can look at the ones that would be the easiest for you to be able to fulfill and then offer those as the choices. I do think this is wonderful, because I think it’s nice for the customers to be able to choose their own reward. They feel like they’re in control. And I think that it makes a more positive association with your business. Well, I can’t wait to be a fast horse Insider. I’m gonna have to come to Florida and like bring a horse. I’m willing to jump through those hoops. That’s right. It’s pretty exclusive. We’ll
Cara Taylor Swift 29:35
have to see if you make the cut.
Kimberly Beer 29:37
I will jump.
Cara Taylor Swift 29:40
Well, are we ready to just run over our big three one more time? Yes,
Kimberly Beer 29:44
let’s do that. You
want to go ahead and take it this time?
Cara Taylor Swift 29:47
Sure. So the big three takeaways for today return customers are your most valuable customers. Remember, you’ve already invested in them and it’s anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive too, bring new clients and then it Just to retain the ones that you have number two, create programs that concentrate on expanding the customer relationship you already have. And finally work toward creating community amongst your customer base,
Kimberly Beer 30:11
we would love to hear from you guys as to what loyalty programs you’ve created, or maybe some of them. I know, our first episode about this got a lot of comments from listeners. So we would love to hear more about the loyalty programs that got inspired from that episode or this one that you guys are using in your business and how those are working drop by our social media. We’re on Facebook, we’re on Instagram, reach out to Cara or I catch us on Clubhouse all kinds of places and have a discussion with us and let us know what programs are out there for you. We may even have to do a part three to this like in season two or something to talk about what we’ve learned about customer loyalty programs, because I do think it’s an amazing opportunity for you to really build on the revenue in your business. That’s where these programs are so important. There’s a reason why large corporations really invest in loyalty programs. It’s because they work We look forward to hearing from you guys about what you’ve created and and what your ideas are.
Cara Taylor Swift 31:13
Thanks, everyone. Have a great week.
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