Small Businesses Support Each Other with Disloyalty Programs

I’m a third-generation entrepreneur and small business owner. Supporting other small businesses is in my blood. As big-box retailers with big-box budgets continue to crowd out small and mid-sized businesses, it’s more important than ever for us to band together and support each other. The store next door or across town doesn’t have to be your competitor, they can be a partner in an effort to grow business and thrive.

Small and large businesses alike have long run loyalty programs. These programs reward shoppers with points and prizes for each purchase, but what if small businesses banded together to create a program that encouraged shoppers to visit more than one independently owned business?

In Washington, D.C., six independent coffee shops created a partnership and offered their customers “disloyalty” cards. When a customer gained stamps from purchases at each business on the card, they earned a free coffee at one of the participating locations. The goal was to encourage coffee-lovers to try new locations and to increase business from new customers for everyone.

You’re not a coffee shop, so how does that help your business? In lots of ways. 

Choose Creative Partnerships

I’ve long been an advocate of like businesses partnering with each other to grow both companies. Businesses don’t have to choose other companies just like theirs for partnerships. Instead, choose businesses in similar industries or who share your target market. For instance, a furniture store, lighting store, paint store, and flooring store could create a partnership that encourages customers to shop at all four locally owned businesses. Your stores could create a pool of funds to reward customers with a gift card after they shop with all involved businesses.

Set Your Goals

Goal setting is imperative to any advertising strategy. All involved businesses should meet to write out clear goals for the program. SMART goals mean you’re looking at Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. If everyone’s on the same page about what you want to accomplish, then you’ll have a clear answer about whether or not you achieved your goal.

Share the Promotion

If every business in the partnership shares about the promotion on social media, through their email marketing, and in their businesses, each business will gain exposure and possibly new followers. Before anyone shares ensure that everyone’s giving the same message. Each business could write a few sample posts in their company’s voice and share so everyone keeps all messaging similar to eliminate questions and confusion.

We love the idea of disloyalty programs, but we can’t take credit for the idea. American Express wrote a great article with tips for making your program stronger. It’s more important than ever for small businesses to support each other. If your group needs help generating ideas or putting together the promotions, shoot us an email. We’d love to help!

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