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Marketing Strategies For Loyalty Programs

December 22, 2020 Strategy

You understand why and how customer loyalty rewards programs work. You've done your homework by researching and comparing loyalty programs. You've chosen the best rewards program option for your business and you've tailored your unique program to reflect what your brand is all about. You have even developed a rewards structure that includes discounted prices, earned-points systems, tiered rewards, VIP groups, and gamified redemption. Now it's time to get the word out and enroll as many people as possible into your loyalty program. But how?

Marketing Strategies For Loyalty Programs

You understand why and how customer loyalty rewards programs work. You've done your homework by researching and comparing loyalty programs. You've chosen the best rewards program option for your business and you've tailored your unique program to reflect what your brand is all about. You have even developed a rewards structure that includes discounted prices, earned-points systems, tiered rewards, VIP groups, and gamified redemption. Now it's time to get the word out and enroll as many people as possible into your loyalty program. But how?

Marketing strategies for loyalty programs may come in different shapes and sizes, but all of them involve four main promotional pipelines. Namely, these are in-store promos, social media platforms, email campaigns, and mobile app integration. In this article, we'll show you how to utilize all four pipelines while keeping your customer loyalty rewards program simple, accessible, and enjoyable for your customers.

IN-STORE PROMOS

Promoting your customer loyalty rewards program in-store is one of the oldest and most effective marketing strategies. When shoppers enter your retail location, they are demonstrating a commitment to your brand and showing an interest in the products and services you sell. This is to say that your in-store shoppers will be likely to sign up for your rewards program, but only if they are aware your store has one.

There are three main ways to promote your rewards program at your location so that your in-store shoppers are informed. These are, use promo signage, train your employees, and include a call-to-action, such as a website link or QR code that leads to sign-up instructions, on every customer receipt.

In-store signs, whether digital or printed, are a tried-and-true method of alerting your shoppers to the savings and benefits they will receive if they enroll in your loyalty program. The importance of signage cannot be overstated. A shopper might not make it to the checkout register or interact with any of your employees to find out about the program. Clearly displayed promo signs will fill that gap, just make sure that the signage includes a call-to-action with information about how the shopper can enroll.

Training your employees so that they are comfortable articulating your rewards program to customers is a must. To learn more about how precisely to train your staff, we recommend you take a moment to read our articles, Incentives to Motivate Your Employees and How to Build Word of Mouth Marketing. When your sales staff lean on tools such as a script that appears on-screen at the POS, they will be all the more successful with enrolling new members.

Thoroughly educate your sales personnel and in-store staff in these areas:

  • Your loyalty program's exact rewards structure
  • How members can redeem points and take advantage of auto-rewards
  • Use and functionality of the mobile app, including how to assist customers with downloading & setting up their accounts within the loyalty app
  • How to overcome customers hesitating or declining to sign up

And finally, we suggest you include a sign-up website URL link or QR code to the footer of each receipt so that your customers can enroll via your website or rewards program mobile app on their own time.

USE SOCIAL MEDIA

Consumers often search the internet to find retailers near them. Perusing websites has been part of the pre-shopping selection process for most people, but in recent years, rather than scour Google or Bing, consumers are turning to the social media accounts of retailers both big and small to determine whether or not a particular store is offering the best deals.

Knowing that consumer eyes will find your social media accounts for one reason or another, it would be a lost opportunity if you didn't use these channels to promote your customer loyalty rewards program. Ideally, you want to include a fast, easy, and direct way for visitors to click and sign-up for your rewards program from your social media profile page, but depending on the platform, this is easier said than done. Instagram, for example, will allow you to include a URL link within your business profile description, but you cannot use clickable links to external sites within the content of your posts. On LinkedIn, however, you can share website links, including a link to your rewards program sign-up page, by using the share box at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.

In addition to including a call-to-action sign-up URL link on the social media platforms that will allow it, you can also use your posts to promote your business's customer loyalty rewards program. Posts with images will invite the most engagement, but be sure to use hashtags, too. When hashtags are used appropriately and include top-trending topics, you can drive users to your account page without much effort at all.

Keep your branding in mind. When you include the same branded logo across all posts and promotions, you'll help make your loyalty program memorable to users, viewers, and followers, which will increase the chances of those people enrolling in the program.

The greatest advantage of getting active on social media to promote your loyalty program is that these social platforms can do far more than invite people to enroll into your program. You can also use your social media posts to communicate with your loyalty members and keep them engaged with your brand. Posting is an immediate and highly effective way to alert your loyalty members to upcoming sales, deals, and exclusive discounts. 

LAUNCH EMAIL CAMPAIGNS

Email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses seeking to connect with customers, drive website traffic, and ultimately increase revenue. When email campaigns are executed correctly--and ethically--subscribed recipients develop real customer loyalty towards the business's brand.

The foundation of successful email marketing is having a strong email list with hundreds if not thousands of subscribers who actively act on the information they're presented with when they open every email. For this reason, using emails to invite subscribers to join your store's customer loyalty rewards program is a worthwhile marketing strategy.

First things first, however. How will you get customers to sign up for your email list, and sign up fast, so that you grow your recipient list as quickly as possible? Put simply, the following are the top three methods:

  • Use Pop-Ups
  • Create Lead Magnets
  • Run a Contest

Interesting your email subscribers in joining your rewards program can go hand-in-hand. This specific marketing strategy of using email as part of your enrollment effort is so important and complex that we're in the process of putting together an entire article on the subject, so stay tuned for when we publish that blog post in the future. 

When you implement a customer loyalty rewards program, your rewards campaign emails that contain exclusive loyalty deals and fast, fun ways to redeem points will see an engagement rate that is measurably higher than standard email marketing endeavors. The reason for this is because loyalty programs offer two massive benefits, as opposed to only one. With standard email marketing campaigns, the one benefit offered is savings-upon-purchase. By contrast, loyalty rewards email marketing campaigns come with two benefits, which are, savings-upon-purchase now plus rewards points that the customer can redeem later. When every purchase comes with accruing rewards points, the savings has the potential to double.

MOBILE APP INTEGRATION

Technology only moves forward. Never sideways and certainly never backwards. Traditionally, customer loyalty rewards programs use plastic scan cards, which are still in effect today. But these physical cards are rapidly losing their relevance. Why? Because as society shifts towards a WiFi lifestyle where people can accomplish the majority of their errands by using their mobile phones, companies are fulfilling that very consumer need. And the perks to the seller are just as great as those for the buyer, if not more so. What retailer wouldn't want to be able to contact all of their loyalty members with the touch of a button?

Building trustworthy relationships with customers is the core goal of any good loyalty rewards program and when loyalty programs are aimed at strengthening the connections between retailers and customers--and not only focused on strengthening sales--those retailers have a far greater shot of retaining loyal customers. Looking at what shoppers want, your loyalty rewards program must stay up to speed. Mobile payments have been growing in popularity. More and more consumers are getting rid of their physical wallets and transferring as much as possible into the digital space of their smartphones.

When you integrate your rewards program with a mobile app, you expand the channels of communication with your loyal customers. Retailers can send push notifications through the app, which is perhaps the most immediate method of contact that yields the highest open rate. Another channel offered with loyalty mobile apps is SMS text messages, which are equally immediate. You can launch SMS text messages and push notifications straight from the loyalty program dashboard, which means you can potentially schedule your loyalty promotions days, weeks, and months in advance.

Customer loyalty apps also offer:

  • Instant incentives
  • Location-based notifications of promos
  • Repeat & recurring purchases options
  • Integrated checkout redemption

While utilizing a loyalty program mobile app will emphasize marketing to already-enrolled members, as opposed to attracting brand-new customers to sign-up, the fact that your business offers a mobile app as part of its loyalty program will help "sell" the program to customers who aren't yet enrolled. Technology is hard to turn down. If you're interested in learning more about how to integrate a mobile app into your loyalty program, be sure to check out our article What Is White Labeling & Does Your Loyalty Program Need It?

The bottom line is that when you include a mobile app, you empower immediate and successful communication with your loyalty members through robust drip notifications. Loyal~n~Save offers white label options that tailor mobile apps to our clients' customer loyalty rewards programs. Our services also come with all of the marketing strategies that we covered in this article. If you would like to learn more about Loyal~n~Save, the Industries we serve, and our technologies, feel free to Contact Us anytime.

This article was written by Loyal~n~Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.
Mira Gibson
Mira Gibson

Mira Gibson is a Loyalty Strategist at Loyal~n~Save where she develops innovative marketing strategies for small businesses. She is a content machine and advocates that marketing consistency and frequency is tantamount to success. She’s a passionate writer, avid reader, and she also manages a political blog in her spare time.