Brand loyalty is the holy grail of marketing. Having a loyal customer base will provide you with a recurring source of income, allowing you to expand your businesses further. However, getting someone to repeatedly purchase your products and services based on trust alone is a tall order for most businesses.
This holds especially true in the digital marketplace – with countless brands constantly vying for their money and attention, consumers will stop engaging with your brand the moment they feel your competitors are providing them with a better offer. In other words, in order to succeed online, your business needs a marketing strategy for establishing and maintaining brand loyalty. And a key component of such a strategy is the design of your website. If your website is not on par in terms of design with those of your competitors, you will quickly start hemorrhaging customers.
To find out more about how to build a website that will convince customers to trust your brand, have a look at our list of top 5 web design strategies for building a loyal following online.
Maintain a Functional Website
The first thing you need to do to ensure that customers will want to engage with your brand in the future, is to have website that functions like a well oiled machine. Business websites were once a novelty, so they could get away with design decisions that simply wouldn’t fly today.
For starters, your website should be blazing fast to load – online consumers value their time, and so should you. Faster loading speeds can be achieved by switching to dedicated hosting, using less plugins if you are on WordPress, compressing your images, and minifying your code.
Next, you need to ensure that your site provides a comfortable user experience whether it is being accessed from desktop or mobile devices. This is accomplished by having it built from the ground-up according to principles of responsive design.
Finally, make sure that your website is well protected from malicious attacks – losing customer data to hackers doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Web design companies can audit your website for security holes, as well as patch them up.
Publish Authoritative Content
Once you have a functional website up and running, you should use it to host content that your potential customers will find useful. Even massive brands such as Google, Facebook, or Amazon rely on constant content updates to keep their followers engaged, and you should definitely be doing the same.
The trick to creating content that your audience will love is to write on relevant topics in a meaningful, informative way. Don’t shoehorn your brand in the content you write – put the needs of your customers first, and earn their favor by creating something of value for them to read.
When you do end up writing about your brand, for example on your About Us page, try to present it as a story – you might care about historical facts related to your brand, but your customers won’t.
Also, it should go without saying that your content should be properly formatted for painless reading, as well as free of grammatical errors.
Provide Added Value
We already touched upon the idea that you should be providing value to customers to attain their loyalty. In a broader sense, this means that everything you do in terms of web design should make your customers feel like they are profiting from their interactions with your brand. A good way to do this is to feature coupons, sales, special deals, and reward programs prominently on your site.
Simply dedicate a section of your website to promote these kinds of offers, and be sure to mention the fact in your email newsletters and social media posts. When creating promotional offers, make sure that they are worded unambiguously, so customers know what actions they need to take in order to claim them.
Also, while it might be tempting to create limited time offers to increase urgency, a better approach for building loyalty is to have them last for a bit longer, in order for everyone to get a chance at claiming them.
Leverage Social Proof
The reality of running a business is that no matter how hard you try, there are some customers you will never manage to convert to your side. However, this is less of a problem that it might seem. Namely, the fact you can’t convince a consumer to follow your brand doesn’t mean that someone else can’t do it in your stead.
Our buying decisions are very often based on opinions of our peers, and you can leverage this psychological fact by posting so-called “social proof” on your website. This simply means that you should dedicated a portion of your website for showcasing customer testimonials.
Written reviews are the most common form of the latter, but you can also display industry certificates, or post links to social media influencers that talk about your brand in their content. Needless to say, you should also encourage your existing customers to post testimonials, possibly offering some kind of reward in return.
Provide Stellar Customer Service
If there is a single element of your online business operation that can mean the difference between having a loyal customer base, or an angry mob out to get you, it’s customer service. Everyone has had their share of horrible customer service experiences, whether due to incompetent service reps, awkward service hours, or problems in communication.
As a result, the moment your customers start to feel that they are not getting the care they deserve, they will abandon your brand, and likely vent their emotions on social media, further jeopardizing your online reputation.
If you are short on support staff, but are committed to providing a quality customer service experience, consider adding a customer service chatbot to your website. These automated conversation systems can run 24/7, and can answer a whole range of product or brand related questions. Some customers even prefer chatbots to live service reps, possibly signaling the end times for customer service departments.
Loyalty is hard to earn online, and even harder to maintain, but if you give your website design the attention it requires, you will have a shot at obtaining this rare commodity.