Getting started

How to encourage customer loyalty for startups

- October 31, 2019 3 MIN READ

If you already have an online business and you’re getting at least a modicum of customers, the next step you may be wondering is how to keep them coming back? In this digital age, where customers are able to do comparison shopping in just a few clicks, that can be a million dollar question (literally, right?).

So in this article, I’m going to share some actionable advice for encouraging customer loyalty, geared towards the startup business owner. Let’s make it rain! Money, of course. Literal rain is generally bad for business – unless you’re somehow in the bottled water industry, in which case, let it pour!

The little things count, like promotional products

I’m not going to advise you to have great customer service. You already know you should have great customer service! 

But what maybe you haven’t thought about is how to go the extra mile in satisfying your customers:


  • Coupons and vouchers
  • Loyalty points
  • Personalized letters of appreciation
  • Freebies

With ‘freebies’, I don’t mean giving away your inventory for free. I mean practical little promotional products included with a customer’s order. Who didn’t love finding the little toy in a box of cereal as a child?

It could be a pen, travel mug, even a calendar. Just something that says “hey, thanks for doing business with us, here’s a cool little thing we threw in your package”. And of course that cool little thing bears your brand logo. Does this sound crazy? It’s not. Around 83% of people state that receiving promotional products gives them a more favorable impression of a business, and are more likely to remember that business.

A good promotional products company will look at the type of business you run, and lend you some creative ideas for what promotional products would best reflect your brand and message. When browsing for a promotional products company to consult, consider one that belongs to a recognized association, like how Good Things Australia belongs to APPA (Australasian Promotional Products Association).

For more ideas, check out this list of 40 ways to show customer appreciation.

Less email, more social media outreach

Opt-in email newsletters can drive some success, but email newsletters are a very difficult thing to balance.

Email has a pretty low chance of reaching your customer’s eyes. Many email providers now offer a “Promotional” inbox tab, which means that while your newsletters aren’t going into the Spam folder, they still aren’t reaching the Primary inbox. We’re talking about a 12% “read rate”.

Yeah, I know – there are “statistics” that disprove what I’m saying, claiming that email marketing is still amazing, but carefully read this article from an email marketing agency.

If you read between the lines, what they’re basically saying is “Yeah, most people don’t read email, but if you sign up for our exclusive email marketing newsletter, you’ll get up to 4400% ROI!”. They’re echoing the same thing I’m saying, while guaranteeing that their email strategies are truly effective.

Email can be a good outreach, if your emails truly provide some content value. I’m not saying scrap email outreach. Pennies make dollars. But with social media, you can actually engage with customers, and a lot of successful companies are doing things like sharing memes and jumping on social #hashtag trends, and inviting social media users to share back with them.

Off the top of my head: “Who doesn’t #love #travel in #Australia? Share us your best #nature #photography, and win a free hat to beat the #Melbourne heat!” (remember when we talked about the benefits of promotional products?).


Look, I’m on a tight wordcount here, I was given 600 words when I could write another 3000 on this topic. And even though focusing on “promotional products” and “more social media outreach” might feel a bit slim, they really are two excellent starting points for increasing customer loyalty and brand recognition. The main point is, you do little things that make your customers remember you, and then you actively engage with them.

This post was written by Jeremy Chen of Good Things Australia