One of the biggest benefits of being a franchisee is that you can leverage the recognition and awareness of an established brand. Brand awareness is a huge driver of customer referrals, which is a critical element of your overall growth.

What’s the best way to generate more of those referrals? Focus on customer loyalty.

The most effective and efficient way to grow your bottom line, based on my experience, is to retain the customers you already have. Keeping current customers and generating referrals from them will likely always be less costly than new customer acquisition.

Here are my top five strategies for increasing customer loyalty in a franchise business.

Share your expertise in a way that provides added value for the customer.

Ask your customers what they want to learn more about, and then put together a content marketing plan to address their needs. Your expertise and value can be effectively communicated to your customers through social media channels, a blog on your website or in your email marketing.

For example, for our personal training brand, we want to position trainers to be seen as experts and focus on providing value that goes beyond the studio — whether it’s sharing tips on how to eat healthy while on vacation or explaining the truth behind the latest fad diet. By adding more perceived value than your competitors, your business will stand out, and it can increase word-of-mouth referrals from happy customers.

Create personalized experiences.

According to a recent report by Segment, consumers’ expectations for personalization are often greater than their actual experiences with the brand. The report states that “On average, 71% express some level of frustration when their experience is impersonal.”

If you are in the massage therapy business, for example, you can create personalization by hiring well-trained massage therapists who assess a client’s massage requirements and then capturing those needs systematically after the client leaves and focusing on them during their next visit. This allows clients to receive highly personalized, cohesive experiences and strengthens their relationship with your brand at every visit.

When you create personalized experiences for your customers, they know they can expect consistency from your brand, which can connect with people on an emotional level and lead to more brand trust, loyalty and referrals.

To read the rest of the article featured in Forbes by Trever Ackerman, Chief Marketing Officer of WellBiz Brands, Inc. and FIT36®, click here.