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November 24, 2017

Cindy Penchina, President

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The sales funnel has officially been reshaped. Introducing: the loyalty loop. 

The problem with funnels is that they have an ultimate destination. You know the drill: make the customer/client aware of your product/service, earn their favor over competing companies, complete the purchase, and finally, earn a new customer. 

You close the sale…then what?   

Let's turn the funnel on its head. We’re reshaping the buyer’s journey. 

What is the Loyalty Loop? 

Unlike the antiquated sales funnel, the loyalty loop takes repeat customers into consideration. You’re not trying to make a sale—you’re trying to establish a loyal customer that will keep coming back for additional goods and services. 

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For anyone familiar with the buyer’s journey, you already know how vital lead nurturing is to bringing customers in and through the sales funnel. The loyalty loop goes one step further—it draws customers in, then keeps them around. 

Establishing a mass of loyal customers has become a higher and higher priority. In fact, for most small businesses, more than half of their revenue comes from repeat customers.  

You’re not only expanding your bottom line. You’re expanding your network.  

The loop begins with the same elements of the sales funnel. (Looking for a quick refresher? We’re on it: The Sales Funnel Explained) 

Build Up Their Trust 

Building trust with your client is pivotal to ensuring their return. If they can’t rely on you to offer consistent, high-quality service, then why would they come to you with their next project? 

The essence of trust goes beyond meeting deadlines and deliverables. A company’s credibility relies on their knowledgeability, qualifications, authenticity—the list goes on, especially if they’ve had any negative experiences prior. 

Show your client that you hear them, and let them hear you. Communication is key to letting them know you understand their needs and that you’re eager to meet them. Let them know that their needs (and wishes) are heard. 

There has been an increase in value placed on brand identity. There has been a rise in sustainable companies practicing social responsibility, meeting the evolving demands of today's consumer. In fact, 72% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product that they trust.

That same study finds that 58% of customers were willing to pay more for products that were environmentally friendly, 56% would pay more for social value, and 53% would pay more for brands commited to community. It's important to know what your audience values, and to align your values with theirs. 

Anticipate Their Needs  

Imagine you could peek into your client’s shopping cart. What are they buying now? What are they buying next? 

Sure—their website has launched, their blogs are posted, their product is purchased, etc.—but the journey continues. The world keeps turning, strategies change, and quality content means timely content (an early 2000's blog that uses a self-setting clock as an example of a convenient product just isn't going to cut it).  

Retainer clients need not apply—though maintaining the same level of quality isn’t enough. Work to exceed their already met expectations, finding innovative ways to expand the work you’re already doing.  

For the project-based clients, consider it a jump-off point. Now that you’ve completed a project, how did your client benefit? How can you build on those results? 

For simple sales/product providers, how are your customers going to use your product? Provide supplementary content highlighting the best ways to do so. What other products do you offer that they may be interested in? Recommend them.  

Stay Relevant 

Establish your company as a leader in your industry by building up content that proves you have your finger on the pulse. By showing your customers that you’re not only a thought leader, but THE thought leader, they can see why they went to you first and why they’ll be back for more. 

Keep your audience interested. Make yourself a credible source of information when they’re looking for the latest insights in your field. Show them that those insights reflect your business practices. Not only are you explaining how the industry has changed, but how you’re changing with it.  

The next time your client needs your services, they’ll know that you’re providing the same quality service with a modernized approach. 

Gain an Advocate 

The beauty of the loyalty loop goes beyond customer retentionit's a natural lead generator. 

Nothing beats word-of-mouth (or online reviews) when it comes to inbound marketing. In fact, more than 8 in 10 people completely trust recommendations by people they know and sixty-six percent trust consumer opinions posted online.  

Brand loyalty and customer pride are tied together. Give them a product and results they can show off, and they’ll be back for more—with friends. 

Thinking about how you can nurture leads to open the loop?