Whether consciously or not, almost every small business runs some kind of loyalty program. It seems only natural to show our appreciation to regular customers, occasionally saying, “no charge for this one today”, or “here’s a little something extra”.

As a small business grows however, it becomes harder to spot “ad hoc” opportunities to reward loyal customers so we must to turn to more formalized loyalty programs.

If you have been thinking about starting a loyalty program or updating your current one, a recent blog post includes insightful data from Forrester and helpful tips for planning a loyalty program.

According to Forrester, almost a third of customers say that loyalty programs don’t influence their purchases at all. And, this number has risen 50% in just four years.

What should loyalty marketers make of that? First of all, if your loyalty program has been flagging in recent years, you are not alone. The big question is why, and the post suggests a straightforward answer: businesses simply aren’t delivering thoughtful and effective loyalty programs. Case in point: a massive 85% of loyalty program members reported that they never heard back from the company after they signed up!

Successful loyalty programs must be about more than the card and the occasional offers and that includes regular communication. The other critical part is the substance of the program itself – how does it add value to the customer? The post wraps up with a smart, practical suggestion planning this part: simply put yourself in the shoes of the customer and think carefully about what you would want from your company.

What Next:

For more helpful information on loyalty programs, download our free guide: How to Set Up a Customer Loyalty Program: Tips for Small Business Owners, or watch our recent webinar on demand: How To Get Started With Your Own Customer Loyalty Program.

What about you? Are you running a loyalty program for your small business? Has this article inspired you? Please share your thoughts below.