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There are various types of consumers that companies should be able to define when looking at their own pool of customers. In order to be able to find new customers, companies need to have a strong foundation of consumers who are dedicated to the company. A strong base of willing and trusted customers can help a small business gain success and get the word out about its products and services.

Many businesses, however, are not able to pick out their loyal customers, and in a worst-case scenario, businesses may think customers are loyal when they really are not. It's important that all clients are defined and companies work to turn borderline customers into full-fledged, dedicated buyers, as well as take precautionary steps to maintain the trust of those who are truly attached to a brand.

Inc. magazine says that true loyalty for companies has to be earned. Here are four things to keep in mind when earning a tried and true consumer base:

1. Emotionally loyal vs. convenient business
Firms can benefit from looking into customer information and purchasing habits and determine why consumers are purchasing products or services. Emotionally loyal consumers, a term used by Rick Ferguson in his post for Direct Marketing News, will be those who are invested in a brand on a personal level, whereas convenient consumers use a company product or service because of its price, location and, sometimes, behavior patterns.

2. Consumer perspective
Inc. magazine says that harboring loyal customers can come from strategizing long-term customer satisfaction, but customer satisfaction may require companies to look at their business ventures from the perspective of the consumer. Taking an outside look at the company and how the brand is represented can help in determining customer knowledge of company procedures as well as grow a stronger relationship with consumers simply by being on the same level as them.

3. Focusing benefits on specific audiences
In order to create and maintain emotionally loyal customers, people have to follow a brand rather than simply wanting their products or services. Keeping consumers engaged can oftentimes mean providing solutions or promotional material they may need before they even know they need it. Specials that are most attractive to consumers are those that appeal to them on a personal level and show that companies are tuned in to what their clients need.

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