8 Key Attributes of a High-Performing Loyalty Program
Brett Tadlock VP of Customer Engagement Schedule Free Consultation
  • Why is there so much hype about the Loyalty Program?

    Let’s figure out.

    A quality loyalty program is a manifestation of a company’s commitment to its customers.

    Be it an enterprise loyalty program or a customer loyalty program; it follows a simple strategy – Reward and Retain. Every brand needs a focused and organized plan to retain its best customers. To achieve that loyalty reward program is the most suitable option.

    Over the years, loyalty marketing has steadily evolved to be a significant component of the customer experience and engagement cycle. It is because loyalty programs have been proven to be extremely successful in driving repeat sales for brands.

    Here are some interesting reports about the effectiveness of Loyalty Programs:

    • 70% of customers consider Loyalty Programs to be part of their relationship with a brand
    • A loyalty program can increase a brand’s market share by 20%
    • 84% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand which has a loyalty program

    As loyalty program software provider, NextBee rightly says –

    “Do not seek to create loyalty. Instead, create the conditions which earn it. Reward the actions that generate it. Value the relationships that keep it. These actions sustain life-long growth.”

    1. Grab Everyone’s Attention When You Launch a Loyalty Reward Program

    You want to begin with a bang, and there are few better ways to do this. We strongly encourage launching your program with sweepstakes that feature a special reward. Remember to be creative – ‘special’ does not have to mean ‘expensive.’ There can also be many ways to encourage and promote the program through sweepstakes.

    Incentivize User Activity – Give additional sweepstakes entries for taking a series of actions, such as liking a social media post, sharing it on your timeline, and linking it through Twitter. You can even add milestones, such as five consecutive days of activity, to trigger more entries.

    Promote Reward Choice – Provide a series of rewards and allow your program users to choose their favorites. Create a mixture of different bonuses, including cash payouts, gift cards, charitable donations, and physical items.

    Segment Early and Message Often – You know your customers best. Use that knowledge to create your customer segments based on the demographics of your best users. For the first three months of your program, and perhaps more protracted, send a unique invitation to each customer to join the program. 

    2. Activating Your Current Customers

     

    Be ready to engage with your customers often in the first few months of your program. Since they are customers already, they are the ones who want you to succeed the most. They have already given you their hard-earned money. They have already invested. Now, your goal is to encourage an emotional investment as well.

    Send Surveys to Your Customers – Ask your users to choose a new reward from a selection of three or four options. Learn how frequently they would like to receive the program’s newsletter. Discover their favorite social media sites (including ones you may not know).

    Provide Ad-Hoc Points – Increase the engagement level for the customers who become early adopters by randomly rewarding to them who show initiative. You can even reward a whole segment for jumpstarting the creation of a community.

    Directly Contact Early Achievers – Those users who achieve the first rewards can offer a wealth of actionable information. Learn their favorite activities for gaining points. Ask what they would suggest to other users. Give them a status reward by featuring them in an upcoming newsletter.

    3. Capture Your Website’s Casual Visitors 

     

    Creating a strong appeal to your current customers places you in an excellent position to capture new and casual visitors’ attention to your website. New customers and program users will likely share similarities with your current customers when it comes to choosing whether or not to join.

    It means that your program can serve as an additional reason why casual visitors may become dedicated customers. You can capitalize on their similarity in support of both your business and your program.

    Add a Specific Page Featuring Loyalty Rewards – People often search for deals using terms that combine product and service names with words like ‘special offer.’ Develop a new page on your site that can direct these users to view the value of becoming a loyal customer. Highlight popular incentives and activities and feature user testimonials where appropriate.

    Create a ‘Something of the Week’ – Almost without fail, a regularly posted an interesting ‘something’ spikes web visits. It can be an image or video related to you, a user submission, or merely the Internet-standard image of a cute kitten.

    Compel Your Casual Visitor to Take Action – Identify friction points and then offer bonus points or special incentives to encourage action at those key points. The easiest step is no action: auto-enroll new users into the program and give them points ‘just for joining.’ The first reward is often the most important; it always guarantees future actions and activities. Work to create a viable way for new users to achieve that first reward.

    4. Leverage All Available Social Media 

     

    As MySpace demonstrates, what is popular today may very well be gone tomorrow. The social media-driven internet moves fast, and new networks develop quickly.

    You can rely on your program users to let you know when a new social media site must be engaged. Aggressively promoting your program through any social media platform revolves around one crucial characteristic: by remaining active. 

    Letting your followers know they can rely on you to post quality content consistently is the first step towards gaining a dedicated following. Here are a few more ways on how the following can be attracted and grown:

    Do the Maintenance Work – It’s not all about just posting adorable cat videos. Consistently use a program-specific hashtag and always retweet those who use it too. Be ready to give adhoc points to encourage viral behavior freely.  

    Be a Resource to Your Followers – Provide useful information related to your market or industry, and encourage your followers to share. Let your users know that you appreciate them by posting ‘thank you’ messages to the Facebook wall.

    Follow-up as quickly as possible whenever a user poses a question to you on social media. Whenever interacting with users, ask them what they like about the program and tweet their answers.

    Anticipate Viral Images, Gifs, and Videos – Sites like reddit.com, imugr.com, and the cute kittens featured on icanhas.cheezburger.com are often the first to display top-ranked content that goes viral on Facebook and Twitter later in the day. Use those sites to anticipate and capitalize on viral messages.

    5. Sow the Seeds for Your Success 

     

    Many more strategies remain for promoting your program to a growing community of dedicated users. No matter what your strategy is, we often encourage our clients, as well as ourselves, to keep the following points in mind:

    Display a Sense of Humor – Note: this is different from ‘Be Funny.’ It essentially means provoking laughter while also being friendly. Humor that mocks will quickly backfire. 

    Provide an Ego Boost – Go out of your way to design a program that reminds users what a great decision they made by joining the program. When users consider your brand, it should work as a mirror that reflects their best characteristics.

    Remain Useful – Offer important information, and keep your users updated on current trends. Work to develop a program that becomes a useful resource for your users by helping them to remain up-to-date and connected with what matters in their lives.

    Controversy – Don’t go courting it, but don’t be afraid of it either. A program that is afraid to ruffle feathers to pursue its goals does not inspire its users’ confidence. Make bold decisions and stand by them.

    Be Dramatic – Especially on social media posts. Write with a flair; you usually wouldn’t and reference events in flamboyant terms. It’s amazing!

    Aim for the Heart – Humor works well because it provokes socially acceptable emotions. Pulling the heartstrings with a touching message can have a similar effect.

    You do not need to take this general approach and posture always, though it is often useful to deploy a healthy mix of many of these suggested items. If you have reliable messaging that works and suddenly starts to go stale, it’s a good list to remember to ensure you are still following core principles.

    The strategy you use to engage and grow loyal users’ active base will change as your program progresses. A successful launch is only the first step. Consistently following a well-defined plan will encourage the likelihood of a loyalty program’s growth and success.

    6. Notifications Through Mobile Apps 

     

    Push notifications are set to drive loyalty program user engagement and interaction like never before. By pushing your message directly to the most compelling screen in use today – our phones – engagement has become more direct, personal, and relevant than ever before.

    You can develop your own branded mobile apps that place your program directly into the purse and pocket of every one of your customers. Now, when you want to get an important message out to your top program users, you can add push notifications to your arsenal and guarantee greater promotion penetration than ever before.

    Beyond superior promotion control, a branded mobile app with push notifications gives you the ability to interact with your program users in a highly personalized manner. Allow your program to leverage an entire community of engaged users. 

    Stay in touch across multiple platforms – send automatic notifications when a user’s program related post on social media is liked and shared by their friends, family, and colleagues.

    Push motivational updates – automatically inform every program member whenever there’s a change in the top 5 leaderboard positions.

    Creatively use innovative features – develop geo-targeting activities and games, such as rewarding users merely for visiting a particular store or area multiple times.

    Program users rely on their smartphones to keep them connected to the most important people, activities, and events in their lives. It’s the best platform for fostering a close personal relationship that will provide a lifetime of value for both the user and your program.

    Instead of encouraging your program users to interact with the program through your website, you can push important information and activities directly to your users.

    When new rewards are added or earned, you can automatically push an image of the reward out to your users. When they are one social engagement away from earning bonus points, your program can move a one-click method for achieving the incentive.

    If you want to form your users into teams and entire cities into game boards, you can push your imagination to limit the possibilities that mobile enables.

    Mobile platforms continue to develop innovative ways of facilitating activities and tracking your program user’s preferences.

    By relying on an equally adaptive cloud-based platform, and by designing loyalty program features as plug-and-play software modules, NextBee remains well-positioned to continue to merge the newest technologies with advanced features.

    7. Personalized Incentives and Rewards

     

    The excitement in loyalty programs often centers on rewards. Whether a grand prize or public recognition, it is the incentives that your program deploys that will maintain your users’ excitement for as long as your program runs. 

    An incentive does not necessarily have to translate into something with an exact monetary value. The right motivation, or series of incentives, involves three primary characteristics: 

    Thoughtfulness – The incentive should express a deeper than casual knowledge, much like choosing a gift.

    Understanding – A shared point-of-view demonstrates empathy beyond the mere knowledge of what your users value. An incentive can show an outlook on the world that you and your users share. Sometimes, the real reward is helping others.

    Reflection  Your users, clients, and employees must see themselves in the incentive. The rewards must invoke those values you actively wish to see expressed in this world.

    Incentives are an investment. They induce future behavior that will be profitable. Keeping your incentives fresh is how your loyalty program will remain relevant in the lives of your users.

    Again, this does not mean providing always-greater rewards with an increasingly expensive price tag. An engaging incentive can be a badge on a profile, special access to VIP offers, public acknowledgment, encouragement, or something as simple as a one-phrase, hand-written, thank-you note sent to a single random program user every month.

    An abundance of attention to detail is typically required when designing a new loyalty program. It needs to be technically integrated and aesthetically pleasing; it needs to offer initial messaging and include incentives that grab casual users’ attention and long-term customers.

    When designed well, a program will always create excitement and gain some of the needed attention on its own. A solid execution plan will certainly accelerate results.

    8. Best Loyalty Reward Program Features

     

    A) Key Motivators for Program Participants

     

    • Track all loyalty rewards activity, both online and off, through a personalized dashboard customized to fit your program’s needs
    • Give a choice as the first reward – your setup can include a nearly unlimited number of options that let users choose their loyalty reward
    • Follow every purchase, and loyalty points credited, no matter where the purchase occurs – offline, online, and even through phone sales
    • A positive feedback architecture means a high reward per dollar spent, leading to increased activity that is sustainable in the long run
    • Offer unique bonus points to jumpstart activity and encourage already active users to do even more with your loyalty program
    • Segment high performing users and allow access to special VIP offers, raising the status of top loyalty program users and the desirability of increased engagement

    B) Guaranteed Results through Smart Controls

     

    • Use our flexible rule configurator to give bonuses for any number of loyalty program activities, including interactions with a specific brand, category, and time of purchase.
    • Uncover valuable insights with advanced analytics that help you segment and analyze patterns of activity and user behavior in both repeat and new sales
    • Re-engage dormant customers through notable promotional credits that entice the user to again benefit from the loyalty program
    • Utilize quality customer service for its loyalty, creating potential with ad hoc loyalty rewards provided during or after customer service interactions
    • Generate new revenue by offering a loyalty rewards club as a premium that provides greater access to your brand
    • Generate a personalized monthly points credit statement for an at-a-glance snapshot of how your loyalty program is growing regularly

    C) Best of the Breed Technology Platform 

     

    • Generate a personalized monthly points credit statement for an at-a-glance snapshot of how your loyalty program is growing regularly
    • Automated tracking of every purchase, including returns, charge-backs, and customer installment payments
    • Secure APIs automatically pull and push order data, allowing customers to see and redeem their loyalty rewards points quickly
    • Integrated data integrity protocols and double redundancy tracking ensures every segment, channel, activity, purchase, credit, and loyalty reward is conducted with accuracy
    • Readily available integration with all major ESPs and CRM systems provides your loyalty program can track every interaction and activity
    • Customizable features allow you to segment loyalty program users based on purchase amount, shopping frequency, and more

    D) Commitment to Success of the Program

    • Expert assistance in designing an optimized loyalty rewards structure that ensures your loyalty program entices users with the right mix of incentives
    • Specialist graphic design resources and professional messaging aid in support of both broad promotions and targeted engagement of your loyal customers
    • Analytical tools to identify and re-activate dormant customers through a mixture of interaction, engagement, and incentives
    • A/B testing and evaluation integration to support continual improvement with loyalty messaging, incentives, and periodic promotional offers
    • Support for providing guidance and encouragement through all customer service queries on the loyalty rewards program
    • Our knowledgeable personnel with extensive experience offer the best practices for promotional campaigns based on successful loyalty programs

    Conclusion

    Developing a successful loyalty program is the primary key to success. It establishes emotional touchpoints that lead to customer loyalty towards the brand and, thereby, users taking action. 

    The benefits of the loyalty program are, of course, a two-way street. A robust loyalty program provides essential and actionable data. Companies can quickly learn which messages, incentives, and rewards increase sales most effectively. 

    They can also ascertain essential details on their top program users’ demographics and psychographics, which leads to the design of more effective promotions and an increase in customer involvement. 

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