Building a Loyal Fanbase: Beyond Discount Codes

The band futurebirds who use shopify to power a fan club that rewards superfans with content, blogs, and more

Hooking new email subscribers with discount codes is a common tactic.

But this approach is a dead end for building real fan relationships that last.

In this post, we'll explain:

  • Why discounts have major drawbacks for fan retention
  • How to shift to a connection and community-driven model
  • Examples of delivering genuine value to fans over mere promotions
  • Actionable tips to start nurturing lifelong fans


Why Discounts Are Not the Key to Loyal Fans

It's tempting to offer discounts in exchange for emails. But this transactional approach has big downsides:

  • No real connection: Discounts encourage impulse purchases, not meaningful relationships. Fans forget about you as soon as the promo ends.
  • Short-term gains: Temporary sales spikes and email signups don't build stability. Discounts condition fans to only engage when you offer promotions.
  • Cheapens your brand: Overusing discounts signals low confidence in your product quality and value. It looks desperate rather than exclusive.

The truth? Most fans visiting your store already want to buy. Discounts should be the cherry on top, not the sundae.


Shift Your Mindset to Lifelong Relationships

The key to loyal fans is making them feel invested in your mission long-term. 

If you only throw discounts at your fans, you're missing out. Your biggest fans crave more. They want to feel like they're part of your community, getting exclusive stuff, and having insider access.

This means your direct line to fans – your mailing list – should deliver this kind of value. Sure, selling's part of the mix, but the real magic happens when you start building genuine connections. Think:

  • Early access to sales and content
  • Behind-the-scenes looks
  • Community with other superfans
  • Ways to get involved and support you

This way, signing up becomes more than just a transaction—it's the beginning of a lasting bond.


Check Out How Futurebirds Does This

Take a page out of Futurebirds' playbook. They recently rethought their strategy for building better connections with fans who visit their merch store.Birdfam screenshot: Homepage of the Futurebirds fan community showing exclusive content and mailing list signup.

Instead of leaning on discounts, they launched a free fan club called 'Birdfam' through Shopify with Single. This club hooks fans up with:

  • Exclusive updates straight from the band
  • Early access to ticket sales before the general public
  • Special content found nowhere else

Running this all through Shopify gives the band insane insights into what their fans want, among other perks. Fans happily give their emails to gain access.

Even better, it cost $0 to set up. And Birdfam keeps 100% of profits from any merchandise sold through the fan club.


Do you want to go beyond discounts?

First, know that promos have limits. To convert fans into dedicated supporters, you need a direct, value-driven connection.

Here are a few tips for getting started:

  • Focus on access and exclusivity - Give fans VIP treatment through private content and merch.
  • Foster a culture of engagement - Encourage community with forums, live events, and ways to interact.
  • Provide ways to contribute - Let fans support you through memberships, donations, merch purchases.
  • Nurture personal relationships - Put faces and personality behind your brand.

Invest in fans for the long haul, and they'll repay you with loyalty. 


Want more hands-on help?

Book a call with our team - we're here to provide strategy and white-glove support to help you take your fan engagement up a notch. 🫡

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