Best practices learned throughout 6 years of Loyalty Program Experience
Since our entrance into the market back in 2011, we have seen many trends come and go, technologies skyrocket and seemingly brilliant ideas fail. These trends show up overnight, and more times than not disappear just as quickly as they came.
Make no mistake, however – customer loyalty is not a trend. Customer Loyalty is a concept, a core pillar that supports any and all businesses, that has been around from the beginning of businesses themselves. Whether in the form of copper tokens which store owners would give customers back in the 1700s to exchange for a discount on their next purchase, air miles awarded by airlines when purchasing flights or a modern gamified loyalty platform, loyalty strategies date back centuries and have only become more and more important.
Studies have shown us with increasing accuracy that loyalty platforms have every reason to occupy a key position in any business plan. In fact, according to Gartner, it costs a company 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one (other sources claim it to be even higher, depending on your industry). As the old saying goes, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.”
What changes, transforms and trends, are the different ways in which we strive to maintain and grow this loyalty. The age of social media, the internet and free and easy flow of information and communication has only intensified this need for loyalty, as users not only have endless information about your brand and product, but also a whole world of choice. Thankfully, it has also given us priceless and powerful tools that allow us to be in constant contact with our consumers, and make sure that we stay at the top of their mind. Knowing how to work, however, in this ever changing and the complex market doesn’t just take knowledge or intuition, it takes experience – which is impossible to buy or speed up.
So here today are some core recommendations that, based on these years of our experience, failures, and successes here at Social&Loyal, we believe are imperative to have at the center of any Loyalty Strategy.
- Get up close and personal.
Users aren’t just looking for a product, they are looking for an experience. If they do not feel a connection or relationship with you, they will have absolutely no problem in taking their purchases elsewhere in the blink of an eye. So give them what they’re asking for.
Use the tools at your disposal to create a close, tangible relationship with them, which will make them miss you if they were to leave. Start conversations with them to make sure they are satisfied with your product and care, congratulate them and send them points on their birthday and offer them deals and promotions tailor-made just for them. Essentially, let them know that you care and are there for them. Treat them as your friends rather than your clients, and you will see they will reward you with the same kind of loyalty.
- Social media actions.
Make it easy for them. Giving them points for being where they already are and doing things they already love is a sure-fire way of building up loyalty from scratch. Loyalty and trust are built in the long-term and can be quite challenging to jump start. By asking them to do social media actions, you are asking them for a minimum effort (although it is still extremely valuable for your brand), which they will have much fewer qualms or concerns in engaging in.
Doing so will get them used to engage with you and your platform, and will give them a feel of how it works and build their trust – not to mention boost your reputation and get the news out there for all their friends and followers.
- Stick to your brand’s personality.
Every brand has a personality that their customers know, and their loyal customers love. Stick to it. Make sure this personality is consistent and shines through everything you do, including the way your loyalty platform looks, the way you communicate with your users, and even your actions and prizes.
Your platform and way of dealing with clients cannot be the same whether you are selling party decorations for kids’ birthdays or high-class jewelry. Bright, relaxed and fun or elegant, professional and classy – there is no one right way to make a platform, it all depends on who your brand is.
Before setting up your platform, analyze this personality of yours, and make sure it sticks the whole way through. All details from welcome and thank you messages, icons, designs, actions and the names you assign them, prizes and color styles should follow this lead. Be the brand your users fell in love with!
- Actionable Information.
If you’ve got it, use it! Your users are providing you with unique and priceless information, which can be used in countless ways to improve your brand, your product and the way you target your users. Use Surveys to obtain actionable information from your platform users, asking them about topics such as product reviews, customer feedback surveys, purchasing processes, etc., and use this information to improve and optimize your business. After all, your customers are the ones you need to please with your company, so who better to ask them how to improve it than them? Just launched a new product? Ask them how they like it. Did you organize a big event? Get their feedback on how it went and how useful it was for them. Can’t decide what kind of content to write about? Let them tell you. Don’t forget that they will get points in exchange for filling in these surveys, so odds are they will be more than happy to help!
Take it a step further and even create a survey asking them about themselves, their preferences and habits, and use that to create and perfect your buyer personas.
As humans, we are creatures of habit. Once something becomes a part of our routine, it is hard to break, and we do what we can to keep it happening. Make the most of this, and strive to become a part of your users’ routines. Upload new actions and prizes on the same day come rain or shine, and your users will begin to adapt to this. Not to mention the message of reliability and stability that this sends out.
Set a habit of releasing new attractions to your platform on the same day every week, and be sure to notify them so they will pick up on this pattern. It may take a while at the beginning, but is a strategy that sooner or later will get them hooked and coming back again and again on a regular basis and of their own accord, excited to see what you have in store for them this time around.
You may also be interested in reading about some famous brands’ specific loyalty strategies in our article Learn from the Best: World’s Top Loyalty Programs.
Stay tuned to our blog for more tips and recommendations! And if you have any questions at all about your loyalty platform, please don’t hesitate to reach set up a call through this link now!