Signpost Local Marketing Blog

Category: Loyalty Programs (page 1 of 2)

10 Holiday Ideas for Your Loyalty Program

The holidays are a great time to thank your best customers for their patronage throughout the year. It’s especially important to reach out to one of your most engaged groups of repeat customers and source of highest lifetime value: the customers Holiday Ideas for your loyalty programcurrently enrolled in your loyalty program. And with 69% of customers reporting they’d prefer to do their holiday shopping at businesses where they can accumulate loyalty points or rewards, it’s safe to say they feel the same.

But as loyalty programs continue to evolve, it’s important to understand changing consumer expectations, and commit resources to differentiating your program. This should also apply to your holiday loyalty promotions, as your business will be competing with lots of others for the time and attention of your customers during this hectic season. But, with the right mix, you can win their attention and holiday shopping dollars. It’s vital to remember that it costs six times more to sell to a new customer than an existing one, so it’s prudent for local businesses to invest more in this area.

Download our 2016 Complete Holiday Planning Kit!

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The 2016 Holiday Planning Toolkit for Gym and Fitness Businesses

Holiday season at fitness clubs has traditionally felt more like the calm before the storm, than a time for booming business. With people so busy with holiday events, parties, shopping and more, fitness goals often fall by the wayside. However as you know, with all the indulging that people tend to do during this time, it’s more important than ever to stay on track.

With the new year looming on the horizon and the promise of plenty of Resolution’ers flocking to fill your gym or classes, most fitness businesses remain focused on those preparations. It’s tempting to spend this “downtime” during the holidays to create an acquisition strategy in hopes of edging out competitors and attracting more new members to your business. Of course marketing and employee training or more customers this holiday season for fitness businessprep ahead of this busy season is important, but fitness clubs shouldn’t sacrifice the revenue potential of an effective holiday marketing strategy.

Last year, holiday shoppers spent $53 million on health and personal care. So, there’s absolutely an opportunity here to generate lots of new business, with less competition from your preoccupied rivals. With a bit of planning you can create a powerful strategy to drive more new business and finish 2016 strong. The best part is that these holiday campaigns will continue to work for you as we go into 2017, and amplify your New Year’s promotional efforts.

There is also something to be said for increased retention and engagement for members and students who joined during this calmer time, ahead of the craziness. They have time to develop a better impression of your facilities overall, when classes are less crowded and they have more interaction with the instructor or trainer, or don’t have to wait to use their favorite machines and equipment.

That’s why we created this comprehensive toolkit, which includes a best practice guide on how your fitness business can make the most of the season, a week-by-week planner to help aid in promotional efforts, both in-store and with your communications plan and campaigns, including email marketing. There’s also a printable calendar to help you with planning and keeping an eye on all holidays and events, while creating your plan and an infographic explaining the best data-driven techniques and opportunities. Download our free toolkit today to get the most out of this holiday season!

Download the 2016 Holiday Planning Toolkit for Gyms and Fitness Businesses

The 2016 Holiday Planning Toolkit for Salons

Have you heard? The holiday season isn’t reserved just for retail anymore! As consumers seek out creative gift ideas for those on their holiday lists, they’re turning more often to options that can provide an experience over possessions.  All sorts of service businesses can stand to gain an extra boost during these vital last few months of the year, but perhaps none so much as salons, who help us look and feel our best all year long, especially during the many celebrations and family events the season brings.

With company or community holiday parties, family photo shoots for greeting cardssalon holiday guide, seasonal recitals, concerts, plays and many more, there’s no shortage of important life events taking place during this time. We all want to make sure that we’re in fine form for these (and the countless photos and videos that will be circulating for years to come!).

And don’t forget about gift cards! In fact, 41% of clients trying out a new salon for the first time, did so because of gift cards! For the customers who may be apprehensive to go this route, for fear of it feeling too transactional with a concrete dollar amount, instead promote it as being for a specific service or treatment. The gift giver can pay the full amount of the treatment, but only mark it as “Green tea spa pedicure” on the actual gift card. This will also provide good suggestions for those who may not have thought of it on their own. Create bundles with these gift cards and a few favorite products and advertise them as the perfect host or hostess gift at holiday parties.

Finally, remind your clients to treat themselves this holiday season. It can be a stressful time for consumers everywhere, so encourage them to indulge in some pampering, or offer specials to those proactive shoppers who finish their shopping early!

You might not be in retail, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a productive and successful holiday season. The key is to plan head and set clear goals that will keep you on track, and ensure that you finish the year strong!

Download the free 2016 Holiday Planning Toolkit for Salons now!

The 2016 Holiday Planning Toolkit for Local Businesses

It may be hard to believe, but it’s already that time of year again! Is it just us, or does it feel as though the holiday season starts a little earlier every year? Retailers can hardly More holiday shopperswait until the day after Halloween to swap out the jack-o-lanterns for holly balls and twinkling lights. It’s easy to see why, with holiday sales expected to increase this year by 3.6% over last year, totaling over $655 Million in 2016.

If you’re like most local businesses, you might rely upon this extra revenue to help you finish the year strong. But due to increasing competition with e-commerce giants, it’s vital to come armed with a plan. It’s not all gloom and doom for those who make the necessary preparations, and the good news is that studies show 85% of holiday revenue came from in-store sales in 2015. Give your business a competitive advantage by planning out your week-by-week schedule of promotions, email and text message marketing suggestions, events and more!

Download our 2016 Complete Holiday Planning Kit!

Grow Your Grooming Business By Focusing on These Top Retention Tactics

October is Pet Services Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! We’ll be surfacing insights and strategies specifically for marketing your veterinary practice, grooming, training and boarding businesses while driving more new and repeat customers. 

Not a pet care professional? Don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing insights that will help you to promote  your local business, acquire new customers, and encourage loyalty. Want your industry to be the next featured month? Drop us a line, and let us know!

Promoting Your Pet Business

When it comes to pet care, owners can be as sensitive and worrisome as any doting parent. Once you accept this, it then makes sense that they’re especially picky and maintain high standards when it comes to selecting a grooming specialist for their beloved pets. Therefore, it’s essential to create a strong first impression and use all your soft skills to cultivate the care and affection for your animal customers, so that it becomes a tangible element central to your business that exudes trust. We’re laying out tips to establish this crucial first step, as well as others that will ensure you maintain a healthy pipeline of repeat customers.

Continue Reading: Making a strong, first (digital) impression…

Making a strong, first (digital) impression

You might be surprised to find out that when a new customer walks through the door, they’ve most likely already made up their mind about your business. Or, they’ve at least drawn conclusions that have informed a memorable first impression before they even got out of the car. Few consumers decide to do business with anyone without conducting at least a cursory amount of online research. And not only are 88% of them trusting the reviews and comments that strangers post online, but an increasing majority is vetting even those recommendations that they are receiving from trusted family and friends with an online spot check.

Even with such solid referrals, chances are potential customers will take a look at your site and be typing your business’s name into their favorite search engine. They’re on the lookout for any issues or problems that may have evaded their friend. The decision often comes down to three factors: Your website, Third-party review sites, and any press or local articles that may have been published about your business. While it’s always great to have positive press, and difficult to outrun any perceived scandals or unfavorable press, that’s a subject that would require its own very long and dedicated post (for another time!). The other two, however, are prerequisites to the success of all businesses, as well as the key to sustainable growth.

Your business website

If you’re reading this and thinking, “But this doesn’t apply to me. Our business doesn’t even HAVE a site!” then it’s even more necessary for you to read on. Not having a site can hurt your just as much (or even more). When potential customers are performing this digital due diligence, oftentimes what they’re looking for is to build a sense of credibility and trust with your business. They want to make sure there are no surprises and that the services will be performed, as expected. They’re looking to avoid risk and uncertainty. Your site creates a strong, first impression for them; it reassures and defines these expectations. When you have no website, your business remains one giant question mark, and they’ll be unlikely to take such a risk, especially when it comes to their precious pets.

Now, for those of you who already have sites or are building one out soon, it’s important to put your best foot forward. It can be difficult to tackle this on your own, so it may mean making an investment in people and services who are experts (website platforms, like Weebly, offer free tools to help you here). A really great website should be a balance of information and a less tangible reflection of who you are as a business, why you exist, and what your mission or promise is.

As far as information, you should include your business hours, address, contact info including email and phone number, directions, services offered and even pricing (as long as it’s up to date. There’s nothing worse than having old pricing details when a customer comes in and feels as though they’ve been tricked). Take care to convey this in a way that makes sense, without simply dumping it all on your home page. Think about sites that you frequent and the way they’re architected. Learn from their best practices and try to organize your site in a similar manner. Avoid busy sites, or too many strong, assaulting colors, which will prompt visitors to bounce from your site sooner rather than later and potentially before getting the info they were looking for. Check out this Forbes article on the psychology of color for brands for some further explanation and tips.

So much of our impression of a particular brand or business is driven by visual imagery. So again, a site that feels clunky, outdated, or disorganized can lead to similar (albeit unfair) impressions about how your business is run or operates as well. Try using this visual aspect to your advantage by showcasing some of your best looking and adorable clients! Think about adding a gallery, or linking visual, social pages (Instagram or Pinterest is usually best here!), to display some of your latest posts, automatically, so you won’t need to worry about maintaining this element.

Online Review Sites

This has become increasingly more important for businesses, especially as it pertains to digital relationship management. If you’ve ever consulted Yelp, Facebook, or even Google before selecting a restaurant, then you’re already familiar with how much influence they have over the customer journey and purchasing decisions. Being an impartial source, people tend to place an overwhelming amount of stock in these reviews, requiring constant diligence for every local business.

There is no shortage of data to convey the impact these reviews have on your bottom line. Our favorite of which, is that Harvard Business School found that a change in rating of just one star can boost your revenue anywhere from 5-9%.

 Free Seminar: Tips to get started with creating and implementing a comprehensive Online Relationship Management strategy!

When you do receive 5-star reviews, be sure to share them in newsletters, on your site, or across your social pages. This prompts others to also leave reviews after they see how much you read and care about them. It may also serve as a good reminder for those who intended to leave you a review and forgot or got distracted. Provide links to your business profile across these sites, on your website, social pages and even in your email signature. Try to make it as easy as possible for clients who wish to sing your praises!

Similarly, be sure to reach out to those who have had negative experiences to see how you can improve in the future and how you might be able to find a resolution. Signpost’s Mia does this for you automatically, and “intercepts” negative reviews before they’re even posted! Find out how she can help you safeguard your digital reputation, today!

Ensuring success during first meeting

Again in this line of work, it’s important to make sure you’re broadcasting the right sensory signals. When customers walk through the door, they shouldn’t be accosted by the stench of wet dog, or lay eyes on an unsightly scene that appears disorganized, messy, dirty, or dangerous. Customers will be hasty to interpret first impressions and jump immediately to unfavorable conclusions that will often prove impossible to mend. You might think that surely, customers understand that a place that shampoos dozens of dogs a day might have an eau de canine in the air, but sadly that is often not the case. People will still hold it to high standards, and expect some pleasing odor which evokes cleanliness, or tranquility.

Again, these “intangibles” are important factors in creating a winning experience for customers. Staff friendliness and “warmth” needs to be conveyed, to position them as people who will love and treat their pets carefully and with TLC. Be as congenial as possible and let them know that their pup is in good hands! If you have time, offer to give a tour to new customers, allow them to voice any concerns, and be sure to ask them about anything you should know about their pet or their pet’s personality. Being thorough here will speak volumes of your attention to detail and commitment to delivering a high quality service.

Loyalty is about the entire experience

The days of punchcards and cookie-cutter loyalty programs have passed for most businesses outside of retail. It’s important to think about the entire experience for both the pets and their people. Think of ways to make this experience more enjoyable or convenient for both and you’ll find great success. You can do this with a combination of exclusive events, rewards, and communication.

Events: Maybe an introductory event for new customers where you offer owners free manicures while you’re busy beautifying their pets. Equal parts pampering might be just the thing they need to become an advocate. Plus, it helps the more nervous, “helicopter parents” by easing their anxiety over leaving their furry companion in a strange place for the first time. You can also offer this every so often as a reward for loyalty. Consider monthly contests, such as “best Halloween costume” throughout the month of October where owners tag your business in their social posts with the contest hashtag. This allows you to show off the entrants, and showcase your customers pets, which they’ll love!

Rewards: Think about what makes sense for your business, based on your pricing structure and customer data. It’s important to do the math here, and calculate the value of your customers, so that you don’t end up paying more in rewards than you receive in customer value. You can create a program that is governed by tiers or points, or completely create your own. If you’re looking to get started, we’ve put together an entire series dedicated to loyalty programs, you can check out here!

Communication: Try naming a “Pet of the Week” or month and award them a free service.  Additionally, try encouraging owners to post pics of their pooches in their post-groom glow with specific hashtags and tags so that others will want to become customers or sign up for your loyalty program. Give some sort of “upgrade” or reward for pet, owner, or both anytime they share on social. (Maybe consider getting a pup-sized step-and-repeat that they can use to make their furry friend feel like a celebrity, while including your business’s branding. It’s a win-win!)

Social: Again, we’d recommend sticking with a visual platform that already has a large network of pet lovers, like Instagram. You’re more likely to be discovered by users and potential customers if you use applicable hashtags. You can test this frequently, and see what works best, but don’t be afraid to have fun with it! This will be conveyed to your audience and make them want to follow your business.


Car Wash and Auto Detailers: Increase Repeat Business With These Loyalty Programs

September is Automotive Services Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! We’ll be surfacing insights and strategies specifically for marketing your auto service and driving more new and repeat business. 

Not an auto professional? Don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing insights that will help you to promote  your local business, acquire new customers, and encourage loyalty. Want your industry to be the next featured month? Drop us a line, and let us know!

more customers for auto service

Loyalty programs have existed for decades, without much change or evolution. However, in recent years consumers’ expectations have shifted as an influx of different businesses compete for their attention and repeat business. It takes more than the lure of a discount to win over your customers and keep them engaged in your loyalty program. It’s now all about creating an exclusive experience that goes beyond traditional punchcards. Luckily, there are lots of opportunities available to car wash and auto detailing businesses who are looking to stand out from the crowd.

The steps below will show you how your auto detailing business can create a comprehensive loyalty strategy. Make sure to devote time and resources to its implementation and maintenance, as there is always room to refine and improve. Remember that your customers are your best source of direct feedback, so keep a dialogue going and keep an open mind to suggestions to ensure they keep coming back!

Structure and Rewards

First, it’s essential to carve out the framework for your new program (or newly improved!). There are a few different options of loyalty programs you can choose from, including points, tiers or “clubs” systems. Each have their merits, and you can always combine a few aspects to create a hybrid program that will provide the most value to customers. There’s also plenty of room to customize within each of these approaches, and tailor it to your audience.

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Promotion Ideas to Acquire New Customers for Your Cleaning Business

August is Cleaning Services Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! We’ll be surfacing insights and strategies specifically for marketing your cleaning service and driving more new and repeat business. 

Not a cleaning professional? Don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing insights that will help you to promote  your local business, acquire new customers, and encourage loyalty. Want your industry to be the next featured month? Drop us a line, and let us know!

ways to market cleaning business

No matter what type of cleaning business you own, it’s essential to make sure your local marketing efforts are just as pristine as services you provide. While delivering quality service is an important first step, there are many other tactics you can incorporate or automate in your routine that will allow you to get more new and repeat business.

The importance of a modern, optimized website cannot be understated. On the technical side it should have fast load times and be mobile responsive, so that no matter where they come across your site, potential customers are guaranteed a great experience. Make sure you have buttons and links to your reviews on third-party sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, etc., as well as any social networks where your business has a presence, so they can choose to engage with you there, or find out more about your business from current clients. You should also have your business hours, contact information and pricing clearly displayed and consistent across all pages on your site. Your customers don’t want to have to search hard to find the answers to their questions, so provide as much info as possible. Because if your pricing isn’t clearly listed or requires a phone call, most consumers will move on to the next business on their list (or search results), rather than waste any additional time and effort. You should also include contact forms, whether for more information requests or a free estimate, these capture lead information so you can add them to your email marketing lists and increase their chances of conversion. Finally, include quotes or testimonials from current clients to boost conversions.

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The Complete Salon Marketing Checklist

promoting my salon

May is Salon Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! This means that in addition to our usual posts with tips on connecting with customers, marketing strategy, and growing your business, we’ll be sharing insights specifically for local salon professionals. If that includes you, it’s time to polish up on these proven promotion techniques. If not, don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing our usual resources that can help you effectively market your local business. And keep your eyes peeled, your industry might be the one we feature next month!

Download The Complete Salon Marketing Checklist

Attracting new clients while retaining current ones is no easy task for busy salon owners facing steep competition. One study found that, “The profitability of individual companies depends on technical expertise and marketing skills.” Few salon owners gethow to get more clients in your salon into this industry due to a love of marketing, but it’s become integral to the success and growth of your business, regardless. But with so many responsibilities already, it can be a constant struggle to stay up-to-date on marketing tasks.

So, we’ve aggregated the most valuable tips and even included data on the efficacy of various tactics, so that you can make the most out of your marketing.

Download our free checklist to:

Fortify Your Online Presence

  • Optimizing your website, and what to include
  • Online Directory Listings
  • Social Pages
  • Tips on Online Reputation Management

Getting New Clients For Your Salon

  • Strategic CTA Button Placement
  • Promotion Ideas
  • Event Marketing Ideas
  • Contest Ideas
  • Setting Up A Referral Strategy

Driving Repeat Visits for Clients

  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media
  • SMS Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Creating a Loyalty Program That Works

…and more!

Download the checklist and keep your salon’s marketing on track!

Meet Mia: A New Way To Connect With Customers

Mia automated marketing

Last month Mia was born. You might have read about it in some leading media outlets, but now that she’s arrived, we wanted to introduce you to her ourselves. Drum roll, please…

Mia is the world’s first artificially intelligent marketing assistant, and she enables you to connect with customers in a new way. Collecting emails, phone numbers and purchase information for your previous, current and future customers,  Mia creates robust profiles that allow her to keep track of their activity, preferences and behaviors.

Best of all, this data empowers Mia to automatically send the perfect messages to the right customers at the right time to keep them engaged and your business top-of-mind. These targeted emails and text messages drive feedback, testimonials, 5-star reviews, customer loyalty and referrals. All without having to lift a finger!

With data on more than 16 million US consumers across more than 6,000 Signpost customers, Mia is continuously learning and identifying new patterns that allow her to optimize your marketing efforts. She bridges a particularly tricky gap for all those without an advanced degree in data science or the budget for exorbitant analytical tools, but who still want to reap the benefits of a data-driven approach to customer acquisition and retention. Mia is constantly honing her skills and reporting the results, so you can rest assured that she’s working hard to deliver the best outcomes for your business’s bottom line.

Find out how Mia can drive outcomes for your business, today! 

Nail Salons: Creating a Referral Program That Works

May is Salon Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! This means that in addition to our usual posts with tips on connecting with customers, marketing strategy, and growing your business, we’ll be sharing insights specifically for local salon professionals. If that includes you, it’s time to polish up on these proven promotion techniques. If not, don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing our usual resources that can help you effectively market your local business. And keep your eyes peeled, your industry might be the one we feature next month!

Download The Complete Salon Marketing Checklist

promoting my salon

Referrals are the best gift a business owner can receive. Unfortunately, far too often they’re treated as just that, instead of a customer acquisition technique that requires its own strategy in order to be truly effective. Comprising 65% of all new business, referrals are also 4 times more likely to buy than other prospective customers. With such valuable prospects, it’s even more important to think through the entire process from start to finish, so you can encourage your customers to take various actions throughout. You’ll find that when you cultivate a referrals mindset, you can drive even more business by leveraging your existing customers. We’ve outlined the best way to start the process, along with tips for asking and creative campaigns to drive more referrals.

Selecting Incentives

Calculating Customer Value

First, it’s important to evaluate the value of your average client. Dive into your customer data to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the typical purchase amount?referrals for nail salons
  2. What is the typical purchase frequency? (How often do they come in?)
  3. What is the typical customer time period for repeat business? (How long do they keep returning?)

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