Loyalty rewards programs can significantly increase customer engagement and retention.
However, to make a loyalty program successful, you must promote it aggressively and get your users to adopt it and engage with it.
The objectives for a good loyalty program promotion campaign are twofold: creating awareness about the program for new customers; and engaging already-enrolled customers through targeted campaigns.
Here is a proven five-step loyalty program promotion process that creates fiercely loyal customers:
1. Create: Invest in building a catchy loyalty program explainer page
Consumers are enrolled in an average of over 30 loyalty programs each but they are active in fewer than half of those! The first step in making sure your program belongs to the right half is to create an exciting rewards program page, with a dedicated URL, that concisely explains the program and makes users feel special.
The three key elements of a loyalty program explainer page are...
- Earning points. Rather than creating a simple "points for purchase" program, allow users to earn rewards for other actions, such as social advocacy, writing reviews, etc. Also offer an enrollment bonus to get them started.
- Redeeming points. Provide attractive redemption options that are both achievable and valuable.
- Loyalty tiers. Design the program to make your best customers happy. Include both material and experiential rewards for higher-tier users so they feel truly special.
The explainer page should also have a clear call-to-action button for interested users to enroll in the program.
2. Display: Feature the loyalty program prominently on your website
Well-implemented loyalty programs help increase repeat sales and improve conversion rates. Customers are much less likely to abandon their shopping carts if they are earning loyalty points for future discounts, so users landing on your website should immediately know that they can take advantage of a loyalty program.
Here are three ways you can alert them to your program:
- Banner: Display a prominent loyalty program banner for the first three months after the program launch.
- Link in header and footer: Include a link to the loyalty program explainer page in the header and footer sections of your website. Often users proactively search for "rewards" to see whether the retailer has a rewards program they can take advantage of.
- Hover button: A hover button can significantly increase the visibility of the loyalty program. It is always present on the website regardless of the page the user is on.
3. Engage: Call out opportunities to earn points
Embedding callouts to earn points at different places on your website will increase engagement. The more points visitors earn on your website, the less likely they are to shop elsewhere.
You can display callouts for opportunities to earn points on the...
- Product page: A product page callout shows points that can be earned by purchasing, along with an expandable tool tip that shows what the points are worth.
- Review section: Reviews increase conversion rates, so give points for writing reviews by including a callout on the product page to engage users.
- Email signup: Award points for subscribing to the newsletter, which is a great way to reach your customers.
- Shopping cart: Display points earned on the shopping cart page to give users the satisfaction of having earned some appreciation for their purchase (this approach also reduces reducing cart abandonment rate).
4. Promote: Create a big introductory splash to maximize enrollment
Launching a loyalty program is just the first step. As soon as the loyalty program is available on your site, you should plan a massive push to maximize enrollment. The larger the enrollment, the greater incremental revenues from the loyalty program will be.
To promote the loyalty program in its early stages, you can...
- Seed users. Do a 24-month look-back and auto-enroll users who have bought from you within that time frame. Auto-enroll those users into the program with an option for an optout. Give each of those customers an enrollment bonus. For example, award 500 points initially. A user should be able to redeem the 500 points immediately for, say, a $5 coupon. This strategy of instant benefit creates engagement and induces users to make their next purchase immediately. That type of launch will also revive dormant customers.
- Send a program introduction email. Send a three-part email campaign to the entire user base to introduce them to the features of the newly launched loyalty program. Auto-enroll users when they log in; doing so reduce the barriers to signup.
- Give bonus awards for purchases. Award additional bonus points for purchases made within the previous six months to get the seeded users excited about the program and encourage them to engage immediately.
5. Gamify: Use gamification through ongoing marketing promotions
Use the loyalty program as a way to not just increase purchases but also maximize user engagement. Higher engagement will automatically translate to greater loyalty.
Keep customers coming back to your website and buying more by giving points rather than discounts: Points are redeemable only for a future purchase, which keeps users hooked to your website.
Run promotions at least one or two times per month. Examples of such marketing promotions are...
- Double-points weekend: Award double points for purchases made during a promotional weekend.
- Bonus points for select products: Award bonus points for products you want to push. For example, "Summer Sale: Triple points on all swimwear purchases."
- Bonus points for high-value orders: Offer an extra 500 points for purchases of $300 or more.
- Triple-points days: Energize slow days by running special promotions, such as "Triple Points Wednesday."
- Contests: Offer special rewards to members who earn a set number of points in a given month.
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A good loyalty program can go a long way toward increase repeat sales, reducing discounts, and making your users stick. Use the techniques described in this article to maximize the ROI on your loyalty program.
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