Customer loyalty is worth its weight in gold to any business. Find out how to get the most from your customer loyalty program with our handy, step-by-step guide
Jan 28, 2021 · 7 min read
Much has changed in the world of customer loyalty over recent years. From digitalization to CRM systems, how integrated your loyalty program is, and the type of loyalty you reward (and how you reward it) are all as configurable, as your business is unique.
However, the best loyalty program in the world is only useful if people actually use it. Getting clients to join your program is the biggest challenge. Once you have successfully signed them up, a world of opportunity for client retention, revenue and referrals await. Here are our top tips for making sure your loyalty program is the one that your customers want:
Loyalty programs can be anything from collecting stamps on a card for each visit, to complex CRM-aggregated solutions that can offer all manner of things, from customer experiences, to try-for-free products or services (besides the regular money or % off discounts).
The key to a great loyalty program is finding a solution that adds value to your customers. What they perceive as ‘value’ of course, can be completely arbitrary, which is why trialing different incentives and tracking their success is vital to a good loyalty marketing program.
The benefits of a good loyalty program should not be underestimated. As well as attracting new customers with interesting, attainable rewards, loyalty marketing can also help retain customers and help them advocate for your business and services by making recommendations to friends and family too. Loyalty programs can also help businesses to re-engage with lapsed customers, saving businesses the cost of attracting new customers.
This makes the task of creating a loyalty program that matters to your customers vital for success with loyalty marketing.
Loyalty programs can encompass anything, from stamps on a card, to complex CRM integrations or standalone systems. The problem with anything physical, such as a card, is that it requires the owner to remember it. In the early days of loyalty rewards programs, people developed key fobs with a corresponding membership number to help resolve this, but it is still not foolproof. So, thought must be given on how to get customers to sign up for rewards cards. And to make sure it is a program that they will actually use.
These days, customer loyalty programs can operate both on and offline, via physical presence in a shop or via purchases made on the internet. A program that is easy not only for your customers, but also for your staff to administer and remember to use is ideal.
One that offers instant access to customizable metrics for business owners to quickly and easily analyze from a custom reporting interface, that simply integrates with a till or payment mechanism can make the process simple and harmonious.
It should be customizable, so different offers and rewards can be offered or regularly updated to keep customers motivated and incentivized. It should also be quick and easy to set up and configure, not require a degree in IT and software, with a clean and simple user interface that makes it easy for everyone to use and understand.
Likewise, customers do not want a program that is complicated to use. The easier and more accessible it is, the better the results will be and the more likely they will be to use it.
Customer loyalty programs need to be easy to use for everyone, to ensure there is maximum take up and use with minimal fuss and bother.
The best loyalty program in the world is useless, if nobody knows that it exists! Ask yourself how to promote a loyalty program?
Use social media – spread the word and run members-only offers. Include a sign-up link for new and potential customers with every promotion.
Have your customers do it for you – incentivize their referrals to your business with a great reward for every new member that joins your reward program through their recommendation.
A good loyalty program with referrals can really pay off.
Use CRM data to create email marketing campaigns to different segments of your customer base, from your website visitors, to regular, repeat clients, to let them know what is on offer and remind them that you have some great rewards in store for them.
Use SMS – younger people in particular love being contacted this way. A quick message of a special bonus points event or incentive can help remind them about how great you are and trigger unplanned spends or rebookings.
Have a page on your website for loyalty program signups and consider a ‘members only’ section for existing members. And remind people about your loyalty program on other web pages too – a simple sign up box and short text is all it takes!
Trust in video. People love to know what makes your loyalty program great, straight from the horse’s mouth, so don’t be shy! Make an explainer video that tells people all about the program, from how to sign up, to the incentives on offer, and then post it not only on your social media channels, but on YouTube too.
Not all members of your loyalty program will be your best customers. But a good loyalty reward program will have reporting that can will show you the ones who are.
Use that knowledge and make sure your higher spending clients and most frequent visitors are given the best possible service. Make them feel special by making them part of a VIP club with a tiered membership plan.
This can motivate new joiners to spend more, for greater rewards, whilst recognizing your best customers.
These days, rewards don’t have to be bland and boring. A good loyalty reward program can offer any number of things. In fact, non-cash rewards for customer loyalty are proven to be three times more cost effective than discounts or cash prizes.
Think of what you offer as an extension of your business’s brand. What does the incentive say about you as an organization? What can they redeem points for?
Customers want (and need) to feel an emotional engagement with the brands they like the best. By offering creative and interesting rewards that are valued by your customers will help to ensure optimal return on investment and greater client engagement and retention.
How to increase loyalty program sign up? Offer them something they can’t say no to! Think of it as a ‘golden hello’ – offer a free gift, let them accrue or redeem bumper bonus points or give them a special one-off offer they can’t refuse. This is especially important in the early days, to improve loyalty program take up, to help build critical mass and to deliver meaningful business metrics fast.
The more customers that are signed up, the better the data will be to analyze for you to easily see which other marketing promotion techniques and which incentives work and who your best clients are, so you can build an accurate customer profile.
These days, technology has enabled loyalty to be any number of things – from offering experiences and online events, to partnered offers or free gifts and incentives. Loyalty no longer has to just mean ‘discounts’.
CRM technology in loyalty marketing now means that without any extra work, customers can opt in, review, feedback, share and benefit from a whole host of offers, while the team behind the program can manage, view, review and segment data in ways never before possible.
Even small businesses looking for a cost-effective loyalty program can benefit from all of these features and more – in fact, they should expect it as standard.
Systems such as RetentionForce’s loyalty rewards program even offers businesses a free trial of their all-in-one marketing solution, giving those new to customer loyalty or who are looking to upgrade their current solution a no-risk evaluation with no financial outlay.
Customer loyalty can be one of the best ways to keep your customers returning, increase their spend and boost revenues.
The insights it provides can also help cut the costs of other marketing, by easily identifying and profiling the most profitable customers (existing and future) for your business.
By retaining your best customers and attracting new ones, businesses can help protect their current revenues and increase their future ones.
RetentionForce’s loyalty program offers small businesses a free trial, with full support and seamless integration with other software and payment systems.
The rewards can be the difference between having an okay financial year and this being an incredible one.
Co-Founder/Customer Happiness Manager at RetentionForce