Most people are drawn to what is new and exciting–that applies to brands as well as individual consumers. Even in the best of times, some brands may stray from their predetermined strategies and pivot toward popular customer trends. Now, in the new normal the pandemic has created for customer behavior, there’s intense pressure to quickly adopt what works for other brands–enhanced online experiences, mobile apps, specialized socially distanced services, customer loyalty programs, etc.
With so much more competition in such limited space, engaging with customers to keep them as customers has become a top priority. And that means finding ways to encourage a customer’s ongoing support of your brand. While loyalty programs can be extremely valuable and impactful to your business, before jumping on the bandwagon to launch one it’s important to define the program’s role in your overall strategy.
Examine all the other pieces of your marketing ecosystem and see where your new program can bridge a gap. As with any initiative, you need to start with a solid infrastructure and a plan for integration. How can you use the loyalty program to complement what you’re already doing with customer care, CRM emails and your presence on social channels? And how do you create an experience that anticipates a customer’s needs?
Of course it’s important to use as much data from as many sources as possible to help drive your decision making. If you don’t understand the motivations and habits of your customers, how are you going to provide them with the best possible service? Loyalty is a two-way street. For a program to flourish, customer loyalty has to become part of the culture of an organization. That doesn’t mean an overhaul in how you operate, just a commitment to viewing customers less transactionally.
That’s an obvious benefit to a brand for keeping customers. But there’s no reason the same relevance and customization that customers crave and have come to expect from brands can’t also be used in acquisition efforts. Study the behaviors of your potential customers to design offers likely to entice them to learn more about you and your brand. And be sure that your loyalty program is 1) simple to join and use, 2) offers choices for redeeming rewards, 3) remains relevant and 4) continues to explore ways to excite customers again and again.
Not sure where to start? There are plenty of brands whose example you can follow. But unless their offering and customer base match yours exactly, think about devoting in-house resources or partnering with an external expert like Sparkfly to build the loyalty program that works best for you and your specific goals.
Today’s loyalty programs drive continued communication and revenue no matter where customers are. But to be successful, your program can’t be a singular, siloed solution. How can you best position your loyalty program to elevate the impact on your brand? Our CEO, Catherine Tabor, talks more about this in her latest Forbes article. To read the full text, click here.