October 13, 2023
19 Creative Customer Loyalty Program Ideas For Small Businesses
Forbes Small Business 19 Creative Customer Loyalty Program Ideas For Small Businesses Expert Panel® Forbes Councils Member Forbes Business Council COUNCIL POST Expertise from Forbes Councils members, operated under license. Opinions expressed are those of the author. | Membership (fee-based) Oct 13, 2023, 01:15pm EDT | Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Linkedin getty Fostering customer loyalty is paramount for businesses of any size. However, achieving it can be especially crucial—and challenging—for small businesses that typically lack the resources and brand recognition of a larger enterprise. One way to encourage repeat business is to create a customer loyalty program, but leaders may not have a clear idea of where to start nor what it may cost. Luckily, there are several creative ideas that any company can implement on a budget. Below, 19 Forbes Business Council members share attention-grabbing customer loyalty program ideas to help small businesses strengthen relationships and thrive in today's marketplace without BREAKING the bank. 1. Exclusive Events Regardless of size, businesses can build customer loyalty by hosting interesting exclusive events. For example, a local bakery could offer monthly baking classes for loyal customers. These events provide a unique and personalized experience, making customers feel valued and appreciated. They also create a sense of community among customers who share similar interests. - Stephen Sokoler , Journey 2. Personalized Touchpoints I think nowadays everyone is so wrapped up with referral programs and high conversion rates that they miss the opportunity to create a customer touchpoint that genuinely just connects with their clients. During my onboarding and offboarding experience, I infuse both processes with personal moments such as handwritten notes, sending flowers on their birthday or gifting them a book through Amazon they might like. - Ashley Deland , Maison De Land Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify? MORE FOR YOU 18 Smart Ways To Find Leads And Make Sales On A Small Business Budget Small Business Cybersecurity 20 Effective Tips From Tech Experts Empowering Female Entrepreneurs Tips For Success During Women s Small Business Month 3. Upgrade Subscription Programs Consider leveraging a product or even a service upgrade subscription program offered through fixed installment payments. From consumer electronics to kitchenware, any small business that sells a product or service that will need to be replaced or upgraded, can guarantee ongoing loyalty with this type of simple yet customized program offered at the point of sale. - Christine Roberts , Citizens 4. Tailored Experiences In the past decade, digital platforms have revolutionized the loyalty industry, leading to new, measurable growth. The core value of these programs remains in recognizing healthy customer behavior with personalized experiences. Regardless of business size—whether it’s Fortune 100 companies personalizing emails or SMBs greeting regulars by name—fostering a culture of customer recognition is at the core. - Matt Joanou , Stakeholder Labs 5. Customized Perks Based On Data Be personal. Most loyalty programs are transactional, so small businesses have a huge opportunity to offer something truly impactful simply because they know their customers. If you offer perks, ensure they’re customized to their interests. If you offer points, ensure they can go to an establishment they frequent. Getting personal and using data for good goes a long way in retention and engagement. - David Metz , Prizeout 6. Social Cause Partnerships Turn your customers into social justice champions. Find a cause that resonates, involve customers and be sure to show them their impact. For example, we're partners with The Bucket Ministry where we donate part of our sales and actively document our journey of helping the people of Kibera, Kenya access clean water. Lead with gratitude, and bring your customers along. - Sean Shea , ViB 7. Gamification Creating a score or using some form of gamification is always a great choice. Make it fun for the customer by awarding them points or "badges" for reaching certain milestones with your business. Having an exclusive customer tier or group/club for your best customers is a powerful way of making your best customers feel special. - Matt Gubba , BizBritain 8. Return Rewards Returns are a huge burden for many brands, and they also put a terrible strain on the environment. Brands should consider rewarding their customers for returning items in the best possible ways. For example, if a brand offers a package-free and label-free return option, customers can be rewarded with loyalty points for using it. This will reduce mail-in returns and the company’s carbon impact. - Sylvia Ng , ReturnBear 9. Tiered Benefits Create a system to honor customers for their patronage by providing tiers with public recognition and benefits, including early access to sales, exclusive products and more. Tiers of customer tenure allow customer loyalty to function similarly to sponsorship of an event. For example, sponsors who contribute more can be recognized with bronze, silver and gold tiers and given access to different benefits. - Amber Nigam , basys.ai 10. Points Toward Products And Social Causes For every purchase, customers earn points that can either be redeemed for products or donated to a social cause. This adds a philanthropic angle, appealing to socially conscious consumers. Track the percentage of points redeemed for donations vs. products, and measure any increase in customer engagement or brand sentiment. - Gleb Tsipursky , Disaster Avoidance Experts 11. A VIP Club One creative customer loyalty program idea for a small business is to create a VIP club that offers exclusive benefits. This can include early access to new products, members-only discounts and personalized recommendations based on past purchases. - Jay Sen , JV Capital LLC 12. Personal 'Delights' I like thinking about it as a "delight" program. Find out a little bit about your new customers when they start with you—favorite foods, restaurants, hobbies, etc.—and have that information stored in your customer relationship management system. On a customer's anniversary or birthday, instead of sending them something generic, send them something personal. They'll be surprised and more likely to talk about it. - Jessica Scanlon , Hot Dog Marketing 13. Resell Programs Personally, the most effective customer loyalty program is the customer reseller program. Under this program, when a customer achieves a certain loyalty level with our company, they are offered a reseller opportunity. This allows them to sell our product, earn a share of the revenue and generate additional income. This also serves as a way to promote our product. - Bhaskar Ahuja , Originscale Corp 14. Knowledge Exchange Programs For a small business, consider a knowledge exchange program. Customers earn points by sharing insights or feedback on products, which can be redeemed for exclusive experiences or discounts. This not only fosters loyalty, but also provides valuable insights for business growth. - Ranjeet Mudholkar , Next League Executive Board LLC 15. Referral Programs Implementing a customer-to-prospect referral system for products and services is the least expensive program that even small and medium-sized businesses can adopt. Customers become your best promotional partners because they understand your products and services the most. In addition, if you combine the program with a word-of-mouth strategy that utilizes social media, you can further improve customer loyalty. - Karita Takahisa , UNIFY PLATFORM AG 16. Members-Only Events Organize special events exclusively for members of your community. This could include workshops, webinars or in-person gatherings if possible. Offer these events at a discounted rate or even for free to reward loyal customers. - Meeri Savolainen , INZMO GmbH 17. 'Monthly Mystery' Programs Try a "monthly mystery" loyalty program where loyal clients are rewarded monthly to fuel anticipation and repeat visits. Offer varied rewards, including discounts, products and tiers for regulars. Use Social Media teasers to heighten interest and serve as a digital platform for interactivity. Partnering with local businesses can also enhance offerings. This idea both retains customers and acts as a potent marketing tool. - Mills Menser , Diamond Banc 18. Community Rewards Programs One creative customer loyalty program idea that can be adopted by small businesses is a community rewards program. This initiative focuses on building a sense of community and fostering local partnerships. To implement this program, small businesses can collaborate with other local establishments, such as neighboring stores, coffee shops or fitness centers, to offer joint rewards or discounts to customers. - Christoph Straube , W&L AG 19. Social Media Photo Contests Social media's power is pivotal. It fosters community engagement and brand exposure. Initiate a photo contest, urging patrons to share images accompanied by a distinct hashtag. Those who consistently participate or generate substantial engagement can be rewarded with loyalty points or exclusive discounts. - Yasmin Walter , KMD Books Check out my website . Expert Panel® Editorial Standards Print Reprints & Permissions
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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