How to Build Brand Loyalty with a Local SEO Strategy
Is brand loyalty becoming a thing of the past? Over 40% of Americans will stop shopping with a brand after just two bad experiences. What’s even more interesting? 25-50% of a brands highest spending customers also shop with its competitors.
Ask millennials and 78% of them will tell you that brands are going to have a harder time earning and keeping their loyalty than they did that of their parents. Additionally, 79% of Generation Z shoppers say their shopping preference is based on quality of product and experience, not necessarily the brand.
But it’s not just the younger generations thought to be experiencing this wavering in loyalty, even Baby Boomers are having second thoughts. Recently, hundreds of the largest CPG brands have reported losing over 20% of their once steady Boomer business.
What happened to all of the customer loyalty? What happened to the idea that “80 percent of your sales will result from just 20 percent of your customers”?
Decrease in Loyalty or Increase in Options?
Retailers, large chains, restaurant groups… anyone with physical locations is being impacted by customers’ loyalty trends and the extent to which it’s changing. It’s not necessarily that consumers are less loyal than they used to be, rather, they have more power, resources and more options conveniently at their disposal. Finding a great clothing store, a trustworthy place to get your oil changed and even a family-friendly apartment complex is no longer a shot in the dark, in fact, it’s become easy and convenient.
Customers don’t have to worry if there’s going to be a Starbucks where they’re going (not that anyone would ever have to worry about that) or somewhere they can grab a quick bite to eat. Wherever they are, be it in a new city, new state or even just driving around town, all it takes is a quick search on their phone and they have everything they need. Google gives them a nice list of all their options (conveniently ranked by relevance and quality), while friendly – or not so friendly – reviewers help them to evaluate their options.
Today’s customer can find any product or service they need and feel confident knowing they are going to have a great experience.
Add in the ability to instantly compare prices online and all of the choices available through online retailers, it’s no wonder it seems like customers are having a hard time staying loyal to just one brand!
How to Keep Them Coming Back, And Win Over New Customers in the Process
Yes, customers today may have more power, resources and options to choose from than ever before, but when you understand the shift in customer shopping habits, this can actually work to your advantage.
Your current customers want to know they are getting the best experience out there and prospective customers are going to choose the business whose online reputation ensures trust and the promise of being a happy customer.
Aside from delivering a great experience when customers visit your store, it is helpful to remind/show them of how great your business is in comparison to your local competitors. How do you do this? By enhancing your online reputation everywhere they will be searching for your product or service, ie. Google, Facebook Places, Yelp!
How to enhance your online reputation:
Local Listings: Your listings are the foundation of your online reputation and responsible for over 50% of how google decides to rank your business in the local search results. You need to ensure that all of the information listed on them is not only accurate across the web, but kept up to date as well. This reassures your customers that they can always turn to your listings for answers.
If they need to know your store hours, they know you’ll always have them correctly listed despite any potential seasonal or holiday changes. For more detailed information about any deals, events, sales etc., they will have direct access to your locations web page. Should they be unable to find what they are looking for online and need to talk to someone, your listing provides them with an accurate phone number that will connect them with a real person and not a pre recorded answering machine.
Manage your Reviews: 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation. New recommendations were one of the many reasons customers gave for considering new brands; you’re online reviews – so long as they are positive – are like a library of recommendations convincing your customers to stay with you and convincing new customers to give you a try.
Encouraging customers to leave a review, and especially letting them know how easy it is to do so on Facebook and Google (Anyone with a Facebook and Gmail account can do it!) will only bolster your online reputation and keep your customers satisfied knowing they are with the best business in town.
While generating reviews is crucial to keeping your customers around, engaging with them and responding to their reviews is equally important. 57% of consumers listed “having a negative review unaddressed while continuing to receive offers” as the top reason they would break up with a brand. Your advertisements and digital media may go to waste if you aren’t addressing the issues customers are having.
Responding to negative reviews doesn’t just show customers that you acknowledge and take ownership for mistakes, but it shows that you are willing to do what is necessary and make changes to keep it from happening again! Additionally, responding to positive reviews is a great way to show that you are listening and appreciate the customers who took the time to leave you feedback.
Rich Media Content: At times, a simple photos or video can say more than a review ever could. They show customers interacting with your brand and they are the closest online resource customers have to knowing what the experience at your location is really like. Your current customers (and new customers) enjoy seeing that the excellent experience you provide is consistent and that all kinds of customers are having a great time with your brand – think social proof!
The number one problem with photos and videos however, is that an overwhelming majority of them are never actually seen by the brand. The reason being is that most brands only monitor the photos posted directly onto their listing, or at the very most they monitor for social mentions and relevant hashtags. Today, the majority of photos and videos being posted by customers never even mention or hashtag a brand, but rather they use a type of GeoMarker to tag their location.
Monitoring some of your photos is great, but being able to monitor all of your photos is better! You can learn more about monitoring all your geotagged photos HERE.
Managing your listings, reviews and media helps maintain customer loyalty and drive more traffic because when customers search online for other options, they find that your competitors can’t offer the same quality and consistency of experience that you offer. Your location appears trustworthy and they feel confident that you will deliver exactly what they need.
As competition for physical location businesses continues to becomes more localized, it becomes necessary for even the largest companies to develop and maintain a local strategy. Chatmeter was designed with these types of brands in mind. Built to simplify the lives of marketers and make it easy to manage your online reputation no matter how many locations you have. Schedule a FREE demo to learn how Chatmeter can help you build brand loyalty and drive new customers into your stores.