Your competitors will take every opportunity to tempt your customers away with promises of better deals, lower prices and more perks. Your regular customers are likely your most significant profit source, so keeping them happy and convincing them to return is crucial.
Many SMBs run loyalty programs that reward customers with discounts, perks and other benefits to increase engagement and help sustain and grow customer relationships. We’ll explore five tips for creating a robust loyalty program to maximize customer happiness, improve retention, and boost sales.
Returning customers spend 67 percent more than new customers, which makes recurring sales a critical priority.
5 ideas for your loyalty program
Consider the following five loyalty program best practices to maximize customer loyalty, generate more revenue, and create a great customer experience.
1. Plan unique offers in exchange for loyalty reward points.
Build a customer loyalty program in which members can exchange points for special offers. If you make these offers exclusive to customer loyalty program members, you’ll demonstrate that your loyalty program is something worth joining. Additionally, you’ll encourage members to spend more to gain additional points so they qualify for more offers.
2. Give special rewards for loyalty program referrals.
Ask members to spread the word about your membership program and persuade friends and family to join. As soon as you get a referral, sign them up for your loyalty program so they’ll receive the same discount as their friend or family member. Consider offering a discount on their first purchase to encourage them to spend more than they might have intended to initially.
Remember to reward the referring customer. Incentivizing referrals creates a brand advocacy feedback loop that spreads the word about your loyalty program to more and more people.
You may not have a full-featured, multilayered loyalty program, and that’s OK. You can still set up a straightforward program that rewards loyal customers with coupons, discount codes and referral offers.
3. Roll out a bonus point campaign for your loyalty program.
Bonus points are an excellent tool for drumming up excitement about your loyalty program. Customers are usually eager to earn more points.
Here are some tips for running a bonus points campaign for your loyalty program:
- Focus on a product or service. Promote a particular product or service. When members buy the offering, they’ll earn more points.
- Reward multiple product purchases. Award extra points to loyal customers when they buy multiple products from your online or brick-and-mortar
- Promote your bonus point campaign on social media. Use social media marketing to promote your bonus point campaign to encourage people to visit your store or website. Additionally, highlight the bonus point campaign on your website’s home page and across product pages.
- Tell loyal customers about your bonus point campaign. Use opt-in email marketing or text message marketing to ensure your current loyalty program members know about your bonus point campaign. This is also a great opportunity to thank them for staying with you through your journey.
- Target high-value customers with your bonus point campaign. Aim your bonus point campaign at a specific high-value customer segment.
- Use a bonus point campaign to get more loyalty program members. Offer extra bonus points to repeat customers who haven’t yet joined your loyalty program. Include an invitation to the program so it’s easy to join.
When emailing or texting customers, follow email marketing best practices and abide by text message marketing laws.
4. Organize a prize draw for your loyalty members.
Enter loyalty program members into a prize drawing, giving them a chance to win something significant to thank them for their loyalty. You can also include customers who have recently purchased from your store.
Prize draws are an excellent way to create buzz around your business and generate brand awareness. You’ll cater to loyal customers while expanding your reach to attract new customers.
5. Openly favor your loyal customers.
Consider giving loyalty program members priority during sales. Let them take advantage of reduced prices and get the first pick of the stock. Promote your early-bird deal by emailing or texting loyal customers to let them know they’re at the front of the line.
Members will appreciate the gesture and enjoy being prioritized. This approach will help you win customer confidence and trust while encouraging others to join your loyalty program.
Approach your customer loyalty program as a way to create brand advocates by delighting the customer.
More tips for loyalty programs
Consider the following additional tips to boost your loyalty program’s effectiveness:
- Create a social club for loyalty program members. Luxury brands often invite members and favored customers to social events in glamorous places to help them feel part of something special. You could arrange invites to an event like that once or twice a year. Alternatively, host after-hours get-togethers on your premises to launch a new product or service to members first. Ensure there’s plenty of food and drink!
- Build an online community for loyalty program members. Create a 24/7 online community where customers can become acquainted and discuss common interests surrounding your brand. Use a forum, Discord channel or Facebook Group to host your community. Ensure your online community is invitation-only so members feel exclusive.
- Use POS tools to support your loyalty program. The best POS systems match customer contact details with their purchase history. Use this information to create a seamless experience for members in-store, on your website, and on your app. Check out our review of Lightspeed Pro to see how modern POS systems integrate loyalty tools on their platforms.
- Create a tiered membership approach for your loyalty program. There are loyal customers, and then there are super loyal These customers’ joint spend contributes to a significant portion of your annual revenue. Create your own loyalty royalty by offering these customers additional spend-related discounts.
- Create loyalty program partnerships. Partner with other businesses that have similar customers so loyalty program members get discounts at both venues. For example, if you run a sports shop, partner with a local sports club or health food store.
- Revise your loyalty program periodically. Your loyalty program should boost sales and customer loyalty. Revise your campaigns and program elements as needed to keep things fresh.
- Don’t overdo loyalty program discounts. Ensure you don’t overdo your discounts and giveaways. You don’t want to adversely affect your bottom line.
Loyalty programs may be challenging to manage. However, they can set your business apart and become the unique selling proposition that separates you from rival businesses.
The benefits of offering loyalty programs
Successful loyalty programs increase customer retention and help you earn repeat business. They also provide the following benefits:
- Loyalty programs boost revenue. Happy customers who receive discounts return often and spend more. Plus, if you charge customers to join your scheme, they may buy even more because of the sunk costs fallacy.
- Loyalty programs are inexpensive to market. Sending out special offers via email and text message marketing to shift inventory is far cheaper than using online or print advertising to attract new customers.
- Loyalty programs provide valuable data. If your POS system captures data on who’s buying what from you, you can segment your customer database and run targeted promotions.
- Loyalty programs keep customers loyal. It may seem obvious, but the benefits of loyal customers can’t be understated. Loyal customers are more likely to stick with you even if you must raise prices at your business, or through times of economic downturn. Keeping your loyal customers — and keeping your customers loyal — is crucial.