3 Customer loyalty program musts to drive participation

Customer loyalty programs are often challenging to create. There’s the picking of rewards, the marketing ideas and then the rollout and administration process. But if you’re like us, and you’ve realised that there something wrong with the sequence mentioned above, then you’re likely looking for a simple but effective way to build your program and make it a successful one.

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In this blog post we’re going to focus on just three elements that can help you create a successful customer loyalty program. Three elements do not make a complete recipe for success, but if applied these three elements can help you gain traction with your program.

We’ll look at ideas on how to think about who your program will be for, what you need to be considering as you plan to market your program, and why your front line is so integral to your program’s success.

How customer loyalty programs impact businesses

An incentive program is a plan or strategy utilised to promote or encourage specific behavior by a specific group of people during a defined period of time.

In the context of consumer loyalty programs, you’re looking to influence your customers to behave in a certain way to create economic benefit for your organisation.

Customer reward programs can be used to drive revenue. In fact, loyalty programs are a large part of how most businesses around the globe achieve their financial goals. In the United States 75% of companies with customer incentive programs generate a return on investment.

Equally attractive is the amount of growth that your business stands to gain from running a successful loyalty program. Research shows that a 5% increase in customer retention rates can boost revenue by between 25% to 125%.

Customer loyalty program

Image source: Selfstartr.com

But not just any loyalty program works. To make yours successful, you’ll need to do some thorough planning. You’ll need to dig deep and make sure that you have the very best data on your customers to be able to make the right decisions about which direction to take your program in.

Choosing rewards, marketing your loyalty program and driving traction with the help of your front line are three ways we’ve seen businesses manage successful customer loyalty programs.

1. Choose the right customer loyalty rewards

Customer loyalty programs thrive when the rewards on offer are what consumers actually want. While it seems like a straightforward concept, most loyalty programs struggle to gain traction because the rewards are just not incentive enough for consumers to want to participate.

According to Collinson Latitude, 63% of consumers believe that a wide range of rewards forms the foundation of what makes a loyalty program worthwhile.

There are two important pieces of information to derive from this finding. Firstly, consumers clearly want loyalty programs that offer valuable rewards; secondly, they want programs that offer rewards that they can choose — rewards that give them as many ways possible to extract the most value for their loyalty.

Did you know?

TuYu offers brands the ability to incentivise customers with cash rewards delivered to their mobile phones, providing a wide variety for consumers who can use their cash rewards at over 70 000 till lanes across South Africa. TuYu also has a 92% redemption rate which is leaps and bounds above industry standards, showing that cash rewards are highly favoured by consumers.

So, what do you offer your customers for their continued loyalty?

A holiday away for a family of four?

A R500 gift voucher?

The latest Sony home theatre system?

The answer is: None of the above.

Making the right the decisions about which rewards to offer your loyal customers starts with data. You need to know who your customers are. You need to know what they want. You need to know what they label as “valuable” when rewards are on offer.

Using data to understand your audience

Understanding which rewards your customers want depends on the types of customers you have. Establishing groups of customers will help you glean insights that can guide your decision making.

For example, if you find that your customer base is broken into three kinds of customers, you’ll want to explore what makes each group unique. Leading with demographics, you could determine what the average age of your group is. You’re also likely to determine whether or not your average group member has a family and what their household income is. Answers to these questions will help you ask other insightful questions, such as:

  • What is the age group of this customer’s children?
  • Does this customer own their home or rent?
  • How often does this customer go on holiday with their family?

As you develop a clearer picture of your customer profiles, you’ll begin to notice two things. The first thing you’ll notice is that your understanding of what matters to your customer profiles grows, helping you become a smarter marketer; secondly, you develop a treasure trove of data that you can turn to and make meaningful decisions on how to structure your customer loyalty program.

2. Market your loyalty program with intent

Once you’ve used your data to align your rewards with specific behaviours that your customers must perform, you need to get the word out there.

Marketing your consumer incentive program is integral to its success. Put into marketing speak, promoting your product is what will help drive participation.

Promoting your program should be approached as you would a new product. With data previously collected in hand, your insights into your customer profiles will help you determine which channels to use, how often to use them, and what messaging your customer profiles respond to.

As part of your integrated marketing plan, be sure to keep your objectives in mind. Rolling out a consumer incentive program can be taxing and can result in finer details being forgotten and execution steps not being carried out. As a rule of thumb, document all activities as thoroughly as possible.

You should know how often you send a tweet, make a Facebook post or post an image on Instagram. You should know how many posts you need to publish each day, each week and each month.

You should also know which technologies you’ll use (beyond social platforms) and how they fit into your customer engagement strategy. For example, will your program have automated emails that notify customers when they are rewarded? Is there an application that you will use to manage the distribution of rewards?

Preparation and consistency are key when it comes to promoting consumer incentive programs. Get the planning out of the way and then focus on execution.

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3. Train your team to drive customer participation

Staff are likely the most underutilised resource when it comes to delivering the value of consumer incentive programs. This, in part, has to do with the common disconnection between the marketing department and the rest of the operations team. Bridging this divide can help your program’s success grow exponentially.

As your front line, your customer facing employees spend the most time with your customers. They have the most opportunities to engage your customer base and therefore are perfectly positioned to share the value of your incentive program.

As part of your marketing plan, take time to educate your front line staff on the value behind the program, why it matters to the organisation, how the program outcomes benefit the staff directly and indirectly, and how to introduce the program to customers.

Tip: Create cheat sheets that staff can use when they engage customers over the phone. Often, a few talking points is more than enough to get the idea across, with the promise of more information to follow.

The success of your customer rewards program relies on more than the three practices above. But if you can get these three practices going within your organisation, you’re bound to see results that can help you tweak your approach for even higher levels of success.

Looking for a fast and easy-to-deploy consumer incentive program solutions?

TuYu offers brands a way to reward consumers directly to their smart and feature phones at either the click of a button or through an automated integration, making rewarding a quick and simple process. Our solution is a streamlined and innovative way to reward consumers instantly, ensuring a quick turnaround time between qualifying for a reward and being rewarded appropriately. Rewards are redeemed in-store at 70 000+ till lanes, using a mobile phone.

Speak to us today by calling 021 812 1495/6 or email us for more information at sales@tuyu.co.za.

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