The Top 7 Ways to Grow Your Loyalty Program Membership
Summary: You don’t have to look far to realize that loyalty programs do more than simply generate repeat customers. When applied correctly, they give you the type of deep understanding about how customers engage your brand which helps build a better shopping experience, enables you to spend your marketing dollar more wisely, and finally, generates incredible word-of-mouth.
Investing in the expansion of your loyalty program, therefore, is one of the most effective ways that marketers can amplify the return on their investment. In this post, we describe proven methods for increasing loyalty program signup through omnichannel loyalty software.
One of the most frequent misnomers we run into when helping implement a new customer retention strategy is the notion that it can only be leveraged to bring back existing shoppers. In fact, the benefits your loyalty program offers may be just the ticket for driving new customers in.
No, a loyalty program membership, in and of itself, will not do anything to move the needle on your financial goals. But this isn’t unique. There are many other types of transactions that may not lead to an immediate purchase, but do drive significant value. Earning an email subscriber, for instance, may not immediately drive your bottom line, but the customer has given you a foot in the door and an opportunity to earn their business.
Similarly, building membership in your loyalty program can (and should) be a goal unto itself. In addition to simply receiving information about a shopper with which to make further contact, you’re receiving a virtual treasure chest of information in terms of who that shopper is, what they’re interested in, and how they buy.
Get started with advertising your loyalty program by building program-specific landing pages. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a landing page, it’s essentially a highly focused webpage that provides a specific segment of your potential audience with just the information they’re looking for and allows them to quickly convert. In this case, your conversion would be a loyalty program signup.
Once you’ve created a loyalty or club-based landing page (Our friends at Unbounce are a great place to start), it’s time to start driving visitors with targeted ad spends.
Search advertising is a great place to get started. According to Google’s “Keyword Planner” the phrase “loyalty program” is searched over 7500 times a month. Don’t stop there, however. Remarketing campaigns can help reach people who have visited your website, but not purchased anything with a great incentive to buy.
Social media advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter offers similar opportunities for growing your loyalty program. We’ll talk about the specific benefits of social media further down this post, but many of the strategies are the same.
Whether you do business online, in-store, or through an application, merchandising is incredibly important to growing your loyalty program customer base. There are a couple of known strategies here, but don’t be afraid to get creative.
You’ve probably seen examples of comparative pricing at your local grocery store. When viewing an item, shoppers are presented with both a retail and ‘club’ price. Comparative pricing makes a quick, clear case for what’s to be gained by joining your loyalty program.
Comparative pricing should be reinforced in your checkout process by showing customers what they have or could have saved by being a member of your program.
Your customer is about to checkout. It’s a good time to reinforce your comparative pricing model, but you also have room here to let customers know about other loyalty program benefits, including:
- Early Notice on New Products
- Exclusive Loyalty Member Benefits
- Free Shipping Guarantees
- Priority Entry to Special Events
This can be done through P.O.P signage, POS system notifications, verbal asks, etc.
Let customers who travel near or enter your store know that they can join your program with a loyalty-based call to action notification. There are a couple of ways to execute this and it will depend on how integrated your system is:
- Push Notifications
- Social Media Location-Based Advertising
This has shown to be an incredibly effective tool for converting window shoppers to customers.
It’s vitally important to build loyalty program assets and calls to action directly into your outbound marketing campaigns. This means that your program should be a component of all outbound communications including email, text, push, and even receipts.
In order to get the most return from these campaigns, we recommend using a passive voice. That is, we don’t explicitly want to sell our loyalty program through this messaging. Rather, we want to expose benefits.
- Scarves Now 10% Off for Club Members
- Get 10% Off Your Scarf with Our Loyalty Program
- Love this Scarf? Get 10% Off
Add a loyalty program tab to your branded application. This is a soft sell and feels organic. It provides the option of joining your loyalty program without the pressure.
For those with the resources, we’ve found gamification to be of enormous benefit here. For example: Assign badges or points for each part of your application that a customer engages with. As customers travel through the app, they will discover your loyalty program. Applying point multipliers for taking the next step can also have a huge impact on your overall join rate.
There are several ways to implement loyalty as part of your application development process. bLoyal, for instance, makes a loyalty SDK that sits directly within your existing app, allowing customers to join your loyalty program, check their balance, and change personal settings, all without leaving your app’s interface or UI.
Word-of-Mouth is one of the most powerful drivers of new shoppers Loyalty based ambassador programs are one of the most oft-overlooked ways to generate interest in your customer retention marketing strategies.
One of the most powerful aspects of social media for many retailers is that it allows brand evangelists to amplify the reach of their content through ‘sharing’ across all the platforms where customers spend their time.
As with all inbound content strategies, however, it’s highly important that your offers don’t appear too ‘salesy” or contrived. Here are some more ways to leverage social media when growing your loyalty program:
- Optimize – Ensure that your loyalty program landing pages are optimized for social with the correct Open Graph markup. This will allow them to be shown with big pictures and increase shares by up to 80%
- Advertise – Organic reach on social media runs about 5% to 7%. Just because you’re posting loyalty program content to social doesn’t mean that everyone is seeing it. Try utilizing Facebook’s “Look-a-Like” audiences and “Offers” features to make a real impact here.
- Strategize – Use targeting options to filter content so that your most active segments see it. When you show content to more relevant audiences, it increases engagement and garners more organic reach.
51% U.S. retail professionals said social media drives customer acquisition and 44% said it drives retention
Every business has its own fan base. Sometimes it can be difficult to break out of your ‘zone’ and reach new customers, however. Just like there are other businesses that compete directly with you, there are many more that compliment you. For instance: A restaurant may have a competitive fan base with another local restaurant, but a complimentary fan base with a local movie theater.
Merchants who use these complementary businesses to leverage growth in their loyalty programs have an opportunity to reach a whole new set of customers in a symbiotic way.
For instance, in the example given above:
- Your restaurant could work with the adjoining theater to offer triple points if someone shows their theater tickets when joining your program.
- The theater could provide early access to their next theater if they show that they’re a member of your loyalty program.
The promotion benefits both businesses equally and helps to grow your loyalty program.
Increasing loyalty program penetration is one of the most important things you can do to get more out of your customer retention strategy. Growth is often just a matter of letting people know that it’s there and how it can benefit them. Moving forward, it’s important to build loyalty-based calls to action, benefits, and strategic partnerships directly into your marketing mix, in order to take the next steps.
If you’re looking to grow your loyal fan base with omnichannel loyalty marketing software, bLoyal can help. Simply click on the “Request a Demo” button at the top of this page or contact our sales team, here.