Customer loyalty programs are not exclusive to big businesses; small businesses can also organize less expensive loyalty programs to engage their existing customers and increase sales. Competition is continually rising globally; small companies can use an effective customer loyalty program to prevent their customers from patronizing other competitors. Incremental marketing is a great example of a business here.

Small business owners need to understand that every dollar spends on creating a customer-engaging loyalty and rewards program will pay off in the future in terms of higher sales, greater profits, and strong customers relationship. 

Owning a small business does not prevent you from developing a loyalty marketing program. There are inexpensive loyalty programs that will fit your budget and suit your business. Although most small business owners might not have the financial capacity to afford the required resources to create a mobile app, a dependable loyalty marketing program can stand in the gap for you to build a better customer relationship.

Many big businesses we see around today started small with bigger dreams, which they later achieved as they were growing continually. Small business needs consistent customer patronage to become a big enterprise and achieve their business dreams. 

Research showed that building a strong relationship with existing customers helps grow small businesses more than making new ones. However, it might be difficult to persuade your customers to stay with your brand without a strong customer loyalty program. 

So, are you curious to know the inexpensive ways to create an effective customer loyalty and rewards program for your small business? Here are five tested and trusted customer rewards programs that can help you sustain your existing loyal customers and increase sales. 

1. Make punch cards 

Making punch cards is one of the inexpensive loyalty programs for small businesses. This loyalty program is more common in small businesses like restaurants, bars, salons, janitorial companies, courier services, and more. These small businesses rely on punch cards to encourage customers to continue their loyal patronage for an extended period. 

Your exclusive decision is whether you would like to reward your customers based on how many items or products they buy or how much they spend at one visit.

This basic customer loyalty marketing program is suitable for small businesses because it does not require much money to run. You only need to print the cards and start engaging your customers. It doesn’t require any software to manage it, and you can simply print your cards anytime you run out of them. 

This system also pushes the responsibility of tracking the rewards to the customers making the management less tasking for you. 

2. Offer membership cards 

This is another customer loyalty program that works well for small businesses. It is a hybrid model combining the use of customer cards with digital membership advantages. Loyalty membership cards, which most small businesses also call rewards cards, serve as a reminder to customers that they are members of a loyalty program of their preferred retails establishment. 

 The loyalty customer membership card records every purchase information via a point-of-sale system. You can also link the scannable membership cards with your customers’ phone numbers allowing them to use the card even when the card is lost. 

This option is very convenient for both the business and its customers because it makes it easier for both parties to track their rewards information. 

In this simple-to-operate loyalty and rewards program, your customers will need to submit their phone numbers or their card at every purchase, which will show whether they are qualified for rewards or not. 

3. Members-only loyalty program 

Every customer loyalty program’s primary reason is to show your customer that you value their consistent patronage and encourage them to continue patronizing your brand. The idea is to make them feel good and special. No doubt, customers will always appreciate anything that can separate them from the rest, like being a member of an exclusive club. 

This option makes customers feel more recognized than many others based on some level of patronage. It also makes customers feel like you are paying attention to every dollar they drop to buy your products or use your service. 

This program allows you to reward some special customers that signed up with incentives and special discounts which are not available for everybody. 

You will have to decide whether you want to charge a token for the membership or give it out for free. Meanwhile, most members-only charge a small amount that will be easier for customers to pay come in, shop, enjoy discounts, and get their initial payback. 

If you want to make it free, ensure you don’t offer discounts to anybody but only those that sign up for the program. 

4. Special rewards through email 

Gone are the days when companies would send physical mailers with coupons to people expecting reasonable responses. Nowadays, companies are now using emails to interact with their esteemed customers.  

As a small business owner, you can send your special offers to your customers via emails. Email makes messaging easy and costs less than sending physical mailers with coupons. It doesn’t much; you only have to encourage your customers to sign up for your loyalty program by dropping their email addresses to get news and special offers from you. 

To make it simple, you can present a signup note where every customer can write their email addresses for special offers. Note that customers would only need to leave their emails the first they patronize.  

5. Design a customized mobile app

Though this option is common among big enterprises but small businesses can still afford to create a mobile app for the company. This option seems a more expensive loyalty program for small businesses, but investing in this loyalty marketing tool will pay off later with higher sales and more profits. 

If you think that designing a customized mobile app for your business will cost your small business too much, don’t fret. Some app makers will help you make an app that will like it is customized for your business. They will give you a template format. You will enter your brand-specific information into several fields, arrange them to look the way you want, and convert it into IOS and android compatible mobile app. 

When it comes to developing a customer loyalty and rewards program for your small business, you are in charge. There are several effective loyalty programs for small businesses that can suit your business goals and dreams. However, make sure that you choose a program that will profit your business and motivate your customers to come back for patronage. In all, listen to your customers’ feedback to know what they really want and be flexible.

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