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Last week we made a strong suggestion that companies get rid of all their customers - and replace them with members.

A customer is someone who buys something. A member is someone who belongs to something.

We should all aim to have members, even if we don't have a formal membership structure. Members, in this sense, are customers who have developed a deeper, ongoing relationship with your product or brand.

These relationships don’t happen by accident. Some brands can develop deep cult followings, but not all of us can be Apple or Starbucks.

We can however, borrow specific tactics from membership groups designed to build engagement and long-term loyalty.

Start small. Try any of these 17 engagement tactics used by some of the largest membership organizations in the world.

(New: Only want the latest data? Check out our collection of 2017 loyalty stats.)

Customer brand loyalty is a rich and complex subject to grasp. 

What is it? (Here's a definition.)

How is it earned?

Is it worth the effort?

For your convenience, we've compiled dozens of statistics to help light the way - from how many people are active in loyalty programs to what they're looking to get out of them and how they'd like to be communicated with.

We've tried to make this list as relevant as possible, which means we combed through recent research with a focus on the US (with the occasional global stat thrown in).

These stats are culled from a variety of sources, and we've provided source links for each of them (though some are gateway pages that require you to register or submit your information to receive the actual research).

Sometimes the data conflict with other sources - we'll leave it up to you to decipher which is most accurate.

We'll keep this list updated on a weekly basis with the latest and greatest. If you know of a stat we're missing, or want your own research included in our collection, leave us a note in the comments.

In a perfect world new members join your organization with an understanding of your purpose and your value to them.

They renew forever and ever and refer their friends who become loyal members themselves. Everyone's happy and dancing and singing and sharing candy and life is just awesome.

The real world obviously works a bit differently.

In the real world there are dozens of reasons why someone might join your organization. Once they've joined, each member has dozens of reasons why they might or might not retain their membership.

In the real world they often whine, complain, bicker and most definitely do not share their candy.

This is reality, where membership organizations fight a constant battle to keep members engaged and focused amidst a million other priorities and distractions.

Member engagement is how you're going to earn the loyalty you need to thrive and grow.

What you're looking to do is build avenues for engagement that any member can connect with.

Not all of them will attend live events. 

Not all of them will network with fellow members.

Not all of them will ever visit your website even once.

None of those mean they're not engaged and active. None of those mean they won't renew their membership or tell their peers to join.

You can still build excitement and action with every member.

It just takes energy, a lot of effort, and some creativity. 

We're here to help.

Posted by Brandon Carter on Feb 20, 2018 9:44:00 AM

 

We spend a lot of time talking about customer loyalty here. It’s part of this blog’s title, after all. We’re very interested in the mechanics that lead a customer to enter into a relationship, of sorts, with a brand.

And like any great relationship, that affection can’t just be a one-way street. It’s pretty safe to say that no brand has ever suffered from showing some love back to their customers.

The great thing about customer appreciation is it takes many forms. It’s giving away expensive items, but it’s also having a staff that remembers first names and frequent purchases. The bottom line is there are many ways a brand can make customers feel like it cares about them.

Here are 40 simple and inexpensive ways any brand can express appreciation for its customers:

Customer loyalty can be defined in several different ways.

Primarily, customer loyalty is when a person transacts with a brand (or purchases a specific product) on an ongoing basis.

However, loyalty can take many different shapes and forms.

Some argue that customer loyalty is when a customer only purchases from specific brands. For example, you will only buy groceries from one store, even when it isn’t convenient or the cheapest option.

Others say loyalty doesn’t always manifest itself in purchases, but in behavior such as social advocacy. A customer may only buy one Toyota in their lifetime, but they may be an outspoken advocate of the quality of Toyota vehicles to friends.

It’s up to each business to decide how it defines loyalty, whether it’s transaction size or frequency, fidelity, evangelism or just devoted engagement.

In this day and age, when consumers have more choices on where to spend their money, and more economic incentive to be overly selective about those choices, having a throw-away benefit is risky. It leads customers to question where their dollars are going, and gives them no reason to continue engaging beyond an initial perusal.

Here's why member benefits are so important: unless an organization makes great smartphones, computers, televisions or automobiles, chances are their customers aren't interacting with the brand every day. There's a good chance they've totally forgotten the organization entirely. This makes for an awkward conversation when bills come due or the customer is asked to make another purchase.

An Example of How Not to Benefit Your Customers

A mid-sized company looking for a discount program benefit contacted us about a year ago. After a few meetings and demos, they were totally seeing the positives of a quality program. Then when the time to make the decision came, they went with a freebie solution - a compilation of affiliate deals that drive small amounts of transactional revenue back to the organization.

It didn't matter if people wouldn't actually use or benefit from the program, they explained, because the company just needed to check the "discount program" box so their benefits could match what their competitors offered.