10 Tips for creating and running a successful Loyalty Program

Successful loyalty program tips (top 10):

10 tips for creating and running a successful loyalty program

1. Understand Your Customers

Have you ever been to a business and felt like the staff and owner did not understand what you wanted? You would be surprised how many businesses do not actually understand their customers. A sports franchise might be jamming a mobile app down their fans’ throats, but all those fans want is the opportunity for a free game, team merchandise or upgraded parking!

Always be listening to your customers. Integrate simple surveys in-store or through your texting and email campaigns with customers. Give your customers the chance to let you know what they want, what they are happy with and what they think you could do better. In addition to helping you create a successful loyalty program, this information will help you run your business better.


2. Know What You are Trying to Achieve

Even if you are just wanting to help your customers have a nice day, it is necessary to identify what you want to achieve and determine the best way to get there. Using the sports franchise as an example, if I was a fan wanting a better deal on my favorite player’s jersey, I might not be happy that I was offered a super platinum fan badge in an app that rewarded me for tweeting in-game photos.

Identify the outcome/goal of your loyalty campaign and use your knowledge of your customers to create a successful campaign. If you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve for your business and your customers, you are better prepared to create the right rewards and promote the campaign in the best way.


3. Offer Diverse Rewards

Can you remember a time when you were disappointed? How about super happy or excited? Odds are, those situations are unique to you, and they will be unique to many others as well. Aside from a fountain of youth, there probably is not a reward that everyone will like equally.

Creating your rewards is a great opportunity to put on your entrepreneurial thinking cap and come up with some great ideas. Involve your staff, friends and maybe even family. Look around your community and/or online at what other successful loyalty programs are rewarding their customers with.

Some of your customers will be happy with points that they can redeem at their next visit. Other customers will love the fact that they can reach different levels of achievement in your reward program. Charity and gifting are also popular options as a reward, allow your customers to donate their reward to a local charity or community program.


4. Make it Simple

Have you made it to this section? Can you remember a day when you weren’t busy? Everyone is busy and they do not have time to figure out your loyalty program. Unless you are giving away free iPhones, you want to make sure that your customers understand your loyalty program quickly. Any customer should be able to engage/register with your loyalty program and understand what their status is in under a minute.

A very simple way to do this is with punch cards. After X number of punches, you get a reward. Although punch cards are one of the simplest ways to run a successful loyalty program, they can be hard to track and manage so you might want to consider using loyalty software.

One of the most popular features of Social Spiral is the ability to simply text a keyword to join or engage a loyalty program. Give it a try (demo), just text “join” to 306.600.6000.
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5. Add a Digital Component

Although it is possible to run a grassroots loyalty campaign using punch cards, your customers are ready to engage with the smartphones. There are a lot of options out there and you definitely want to take advantage of any social networks your customers might be using.

A punch card cannot get you an email, Facebook share or an electronic referral from a friend.

Whatever you decide to do on the digital front, make sure it is simple and reflects your brand. Social Spiral customers have many options. Texting, social media, email, and all of this without your customers having to install yet another app on their smartphone.

Here are some of our favorite digital components for Loyalty


6. Marketing and Presentation

Once you have decided on what your customers want and how you are going to reward them, you now have to get out the word. In addition to getting out the word, you want to make sure that your marketing and awareness efforts are clear and easy to understand.

If you have physical locations, you will definitely want to leverage that with your existing customers and new customers. If you have street presence, do what you can to catch the attention of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers without breaking any local bylaws.

For most businesses, you can get a lot of bang for your buck with social media. Facebook is a platform that works well for most demographics. You know your audience, maybe SnapChat or Twitter are better avenues for your line of business.

Regardless of in-store, print, radio or online, Social Spiral loyalty software gives businesses the ability to engage your audience and track results from all of these channels. [Learn More]

Make sure your message is clear and inviting. Get your message out regularly at your locations and across your marketing channels. If you can, track your results.


7. Encourage Referrals

Have you ever told your friends about a great deal? Odds are that if you like an offer, incentive or loyalty program, you would be willing to tell friends and family. As a business owner, you want to do whatever you can to make this as simple as possible for your customers.

Nothing is more powerful than word of mouth marketing and you want to do whatever you can to encourage your customers (without being annoying) and get those referrals. You might reward the referrer, the recipient, or both! It’s up to you.

A great example is a local restaurant that gives both the referrer and the recipient a free appetizer for joining the loyalty program. The offer makes sense because the free appetizer only comes with a meal of a certain value. Some people might be upset that they don’t simply get a free appetizer, but the owner of the restaurant knows that those people are not his ideal customers. His ideal customer would be tickled pink to get a free appetizer in addition to the meal that they already planned to have. A great way to help guarantee a successful loyalty program.


8. Keep in Touch

Can you remember seeing an ad, or overhearing a conversation and thinking, “Oh yeah, that place! I haven’t been there in a while!” Getting customers to join your loyalty program is just the first step. You want to nourish that relationship by providing valuable communication with your customers. Depending on your business, the information you share and the frequency of that information will vary. The main point is to keep in touch.

A great example is an oil change franchise that rewards its customers in a few ways. One of the rewards customers can get are points toward future service. The company has their customers text in to join the loyalty program, or the employees simply add the customer at the oil change bay. After a period of a few months, those customers will receive a friendly text and email reminder that it might be time for another oil change. In addition to that, they receive a customized gift for when they come in for that oil change.
You have a lot of choices for keeping in touch with your customers. Texting, email and social media are all great avenues to keep your loyalty audience in the loop and wanting more.


9. Monitor and Adapt

Adapt and overcome! Odds are you might not get it 100% correct the first time. Even if you have chosen loyalty software you are happy with and put a lot of thought into your rewards and marketing. No big deal. The learning process is all part of it, and it is highly likely that you will uncover some new business opportunities when you reevaluate.

If possible, use loyalty software like Social Spiral so that you can track your loyalty program progress and get a good idea of what is working and what isn’t working. One of the really nice benefits of using a digital loyalty program is you can make changes without the overhead of having to take into account a bunch of punch cards that are out there …. Somewhere.

There are many options to track and ensure that you you have a successful loyalty program. Pay attention to the data along with feedback from your staff and of course your gut feel!


10. Keep at it

Don’t stop when you are a foot away from striking gold! If you are lucky, your very first loyalty push will be a big success. If you are normal, it will be good, but you will learn from it and realize that you could do this and/or that better next time. You will go back to the drawing board (it will be much easier this time), make a few small changes and then try again.

Loyalty is a great way to grow your business and gain a better understanding of your customers. If you would like to see how Social Spiral is helping businesses just like yours create successful loyalty programs, feel free to contact us anytime.