Customer loyalty programs are a relatively easy way to drive revenue numbers for businesses of any size.
Existing customers are 60-70% more likely to buy your products vs. selling to a new prospect, which is only 5-20%. (The Gartner Group)
Reducing churn from 10% to 5% can raise profitability by 50%.
Word of mouth marketing generated from happy customers trumps other channels – it is the #1 influencer for all buying decisions.
So how do you build a better customer loyalty program? This article presents some strategic ideas for how to improve your existing program or build a new one from scratch.
Multichannel Rewards Program
Don’t rely on a single channel to deliver your customer loyalty program. Customer preferences change, often, so offer your rewards via different channels.
In-app notifications, email, and direct mail are the most common channels leveraged in customer rewards programs. And they all work together flawlessly.
For example, we helped Gap Inc. boost their customer rewards program by automating the print and fulfillment of direct mail based on digital behavior. If a customer didn’t open their rewards email, or respond to (or turned off) in-app notification, we automatically sent their rewards information via snail mail.
It worked, and Gap was able to mobilize a customer segment that shunned digital notifications and got them to increase reward spending by 30%.
Personalized Loyalty Programs
Personalize your rewards program. If you’re already tracking customer purchases, use that data to give them a reward they want. Have a customer that keeps buying the same drink? Give them that drink for free, automatically, when they’ve earned enough points.
But that is just the beginning:
- Personalized birthday discounts.
- Reference a customer’s social media contacts that are also your customers.
- Rewards based on location – PFL is in Montana. If someone sent us an REI gift card that’d be more personalized than a generic gift card.
For small businesses, POS systems like Square and online solutions like Shopify can track and report on these sorts of spending habits. When you want to personalize tactile marketing, PFL is not only the best choice, but we are also the most handsome.
Our most impressive personalization project to date? We allowed a boutique apparel retailer to print an entirely personalized catalog. We captured customer behavioral tracking purchases. Once enough information was collected, PFL automatically printed a personalized catalog, presenting only items they’d be interested in. This was all based on purchasing data. The catalog was a 15-20 page, full-color catalog, printed and shipped the moment enough data was captured.
And it all happened automatically.
Use a Tiered Reward System
Get a little elitist with your rewards program. Offer different tiers, with obvious benefits and perks for rising through the ranks. The trick is, make sure you offer the new benefits right away so a customer can instantly bask in the glow of their new status as soon as they up-level.
A tiered reward system will motivate your most aggressive customers to spend more time with your brand and can rapidly build brand ambassadors. However, this tactic can be both expensive and time-consuming. It doesn’t work for every business but is effective for service industries, many B2B solutions, and luxury goods.
Create Rewards that Benefit Prospects, Too
Rewarding your customers more frequently with buy-one-get-one-free (or similar) discounts is a great way to grow a new user base. Rather than rewarding loyal customers for something they’d do anyway (buy the tenth meal), make it easier for them to share their love with someone new.
This tactic can be rewarding in B2B industries, too. Offer free referral codes to be used within a larger enterprise, invite-only links to see your latest content or beta test your new features, or invites to industry events.
Want some inspiration for taking your customer reward program into the real world? Here’s our Tactile Marketing Idea Book, loaded with effective direct mail campaigns.