How to Encourage Customer Loyalty the Right Way

I recently found myself lost in a confusing browsing session on Etsy. While I was searching for a new print for my office, I kept stumbling on shirts, rings and cards that I felt I simply needed to have. Eventually, I stumbled on a card that I snapped up and purchased immediately.

The seller then delighted me with some stellar marketing moves. In the shipping notification email, she offered me a code for 20% off future purchases and encouraged me to leave a review. In exchange for a review, I would get 50% off my next purchase AND a limited edition digital download for free.

How to Encourage Customer Loyalty the Right Way

I love this approach to customer loyalty, as it capitalizes on customers with whom you’re already developing a relationship. They were interested in your brand enough to buy at least one product – why not encourage them to come back and to help others know that the customer experience with you was a positive one?

How to Encourage Customer Loyalty the Right Way

Still, there are a few things to consider here:

1. Terms of Service Perfectly honestly, I haven’t done a deep dive on Etsy’s terms of service with regards to asking for reviews lately. Offering me such a wonderful discount in exchange for a review may or may not be against terms of service. As a seller, you should know what the terms of service are on any platform you use as well as how they affect your marketing strategy. Typically offering a discount is fine…it’s offering it in exchange for something else (like a review) that some platforms don’t like.
2. Discounts Should be Intriguing I know that perhaps I harp on about this point a bit but I think it bears repeating: if your discount isn’t worthwhile, your customers don’t care. I keep mentioning this because I keep getting brands sending me emails about 7% off! Or 5% or 12% or 14%. None of those discounts are worth the amount of time it takes me to go browse and find something I’d like. Discounts that catch people’s eyes start with a “2” – or higher.
3. Limited Editions Should be Special If you say that something is a limited edition, it shouldn’t be something that customers are likely to find at a dozen other shops. For instance, I searched for a t-shirt phrase that I’d seen and liked – and quickly found dozens of shops selling a shirt with that phrase. If you’re touting something as a limited edition, people want it to feel special. Make sure that whatever you’re offering is not ubiquitous.

Now, I mentioned in my post last week that the seller in question sent me a bonus thank you gift. This type of gift really cemented her in my heart and made it so that I’ll refer her 6 ways from Sunday. However, this is not something you need to do with every single customer. It’s a great tactic with those you’d like to develop a relationship, those who you need a special holiday gift for or those who have been your bread and butter. I wanted to call this out because while I think it’s amazing and I’m so, so grateful, you need to know what your margins are and whether they can support regular “special” thanks.

Of course, if you can afford to offer these types of gifts, your customers will always thank you.


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