Sophisticated consumer buying behavior has created expectations that brands will consistently reward their loyalty. Adopting an omnichannel loyalty marketing strategy is the strongest way to continually reward your customers, keep them happy and incentivize spending.
To optimize a high-performing loyalty marketing strategy, it’s crucial to pay attention to each segment of your user base in turn: the established customer base, the new brand ambassadors and those that are in line to become brand advocates through associations with existing customers.
This piece is going to give examples from prominent e-commerce brands that are excelling within their loyalty programs. We’ll examine each relevant channel in a loyalty marketing strategy, from landing pages, email, push notifications, in-app messaging and websites. Read on for an actionable examination of the tactics to employ for both short and long term increases in customer retention, satisfaction and revenues.
The Key Elements of a Loyalty Marketing Strategy
The goal of the loyalty marketing strategy is to reduce churn rates and keep spending consistent. This is effort well spent, as it’s been shown that it’s 10 times harder to obtain a new customer than to sell to a current one.
How to do this?
Emphasize the customer experience throughout each channel of your brand. According to Gartner, a solid 89% of companies are already guided by the idea that the quality of the customer experience is the key factor in determining competitiveness in the market.
Customers who are in communities associated with a company – a loyalty program – have been studied to spend 19% more than those who are not involved closely with a brand.
What can you offer users to increase their brand satisfaction? Here are a few ideas to try:
- Points. This is the “frequent flyer miles” classic, great for utilizing within your existing customer base. These can be used for a wide variety of offers to appeal to a wide set of demographics. You can be creative since these points are open for interpretation.
- Giveaways of internal or third party products. Creating original content for your customers is always appreciated and reinforces how unique your brand is.
- Partner offers. Pair with partner or affiliate programs to offer exciting materials for extra engagement and spending.
- Discounts and giveaways. People love free stuff, savings and relevant money savers to show up in their email or mobile device; however, ensure the offers are relevant and appealing.
- Conscious rewards. Millennials especially orient themselves through brands with strong social values. Appeal to your customers’ sense of civic, environmental or social responsibility to stay in touch in a PR friendly way.
- Referral rewards. Giving is more fun than receiving, but pairing together equals a recipe for repeat success. Combining referral rewards with loyalty strategies is organically scalable and solves the short-term lack of loyalty spending by infusing the campaign with new users immediately. You can use every option above in conjunction with referral incentives.
5 Ways to Optimize Your Loyalty Marketing
#1 REI – Website
Outdoor outfitter REI makes it clear that their members are on top of the world and on top of their savings. Nestled next to the socially conscious “Stewardship” tab in the website menu, the rewards program page emphasizes that the more fun that’s had, the more that’s saved.
Visitors find the rewards page easy to navigate, the big 10% annual refund button at the center is supported by “Deals” and “Tools,” two things the outdoor crowd will use. The minimal and very readable grey and white design palette offsets the copy against itself. Nothing too flashy here so the words speak for themselves and the action shot of the members communicates just where an REI membership can take us.
Those in search of details see an up-close readout of the contract specifics. It’s always a good practice to make the nitty gritty available for inspection so customers can move through the conversion process in one-go-round. REI does well to keep this text small, but present.
#2 Gilt – Landing Page
Offering viewers the “Insider” perspective, Gilt offers to elevate the customer experience with exclusive benefits. The copy of this page says it all: Not only is something better waiting for shoppers willing to make the move, but it’s free! According to Campaign Monitor, 65% of consumers say that receiving rewards impacts the frequency of their purchase. The goal of top brands is to simply offer the right offer at the right time.
With seductive, minimal design aesthetics, the ecommerce retailer doesn’t need to be an abrasive loudmouth, it simply allows the looks to do the talking. The gilded gold CTA button is all the action the page can handle, and it’s paired perfectly with the matching gold free shipping text at top. A subtle, well-crafted hierarchy of visual and verbal cues seals the deal for Gilt.
#3 BirchBox – Email
This romantic email from Birchbox reminds us why sharing and caring go hand in hand. With plenty of light colors onscreen, the eyes are drawn right to the pair of black, action-oriented CTAs, making it easy to gift a personal, premium hygiene subscription. The company offers personalization, knowing that modern customers expect a special, uniquely crafted experience.
Well-optimized email makes use of referral tactics, targeting active brand advocates and encouraging them to make use of their brand experiences and thereby encouraging others to follow their lead. Engagement increases when customers share with their friends and loved ones and leads directly to more customers.
#4 Ticketmaster – Push Notifications
Members in the Ticketmaster Audience Rewards program receive numerous exclusive offers. Benefits like front-row seats, private invites, artist meetings and limited edition merchandise all await, but members also get first crack at tickets from the convenience of their cell phone home screen. When “Just Announced,” loyalty members enjoy a special purchasing window to select their seats to choice shows.
Optimized push notifications make the most of limited space, and the ticketing giant does a good job of keeping their banner messaging succinct, yet complete, with all the relevant information. The copy is piloted by a mention of the big name who’s playing, where the event is scheduled and when it’s happening.
#5 Starbucks – In-App Messaging
Starbucks knows that people who love coffee really do love coffee. So much so that the referral tab “Gift” is prominently displayed at the top of their app menu for users to share the buzz of reciprocal loyalty rewards. Three large, straightforward and active CTAs on the screen at the right keep users on track throughout their daily coffee habit.
The coffee chain took the lead with millennials and those looking to save time with coffee purchases when they introduced the app. Loyalty members receive additional benefits from users such as weekly song updates, a personalized account history and a mental pump from the gamification of Starbucks Rewards.
The overall app experience improves and makes novel again the experience of drinking coffee. A Venti PSL may cost $6, but this customer-centric experience is priceless and well-worth the beverage shares that consumers can trade amongst others. Optimizing the in-app messaging interface brings users back for more.
How to Unite Referral and Loyalty Marketing
Loyalty marketing excels in the long term and referral marketing is great for bringing new customers into the fold through mutually beneficial exchanges with existing members. Here are several ways to encourage more referrals and more loyalty:
- Have active members refer new loyal customers. Loyalty members are already into your product or service and are likely looking for more rewards; therefore, target these individuals and they’ll be happy to bring their friends along when incentivized. Just be sure that these rewards arrive quickly to referring members.
- Encourage everyday referrals. Consider establishing a continuous reward program for when members bring on a new customer. If your brand advocates know they can act freely to earn a few extra goodies – points, discounts, credits, a free month – they’ll act on their own accord to max out their utility.
- Use double-sided rewards. We’re altruistic creatures that enjoy helping those closest to us. Allow your members an emotional boost from assisting their friends with each new referral. For every successful sign up, you’ll be multiplying the brand loyalty, both with the existing customer and with the new one as well.
When approaching a rewards program, make sure to acknowledge your existing customer base first – then look for tactics to branch out to new users. By taking advantage of an omnichannel marketing strategy your brand can deliver relevant and exciting opportunities to your customers.
When crafting reward programs, focus upon the rewards and the action you’d like them to take. Whether it’s points, discounts, free services – referrals always make for great opportunities to reaffirm a bond with the most loyal members. They also have the added benefit of bringing new, valuable individuals into alignment with your company. Making offers unique and creating customer-focused experiences that personalize the interaction wins loyalty every time.