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One Loyalty Program Coming Right Up: Your Step by Step Guide

Loyalty Programs

These days, it seems like with every purchase you make you are prompted to join that company’s loyalty program. Has the loyalty program become the new “Do you want fries with that?” question? It doesn’t have to be. It’s not about if you have a loyalty program, but if you are doing it for the right reasons and if your customers will actually find it valuable.

Well, how do you know if a loyalty program is right for you? What are your first steps to identifying if there is opportunity staring you in the face? It primarily comes down to these 2 simple questions:

  • Do you have something to offer your customers that they really want?
  • What are things that you would want in return from your customers?

In order to make a successful loyalty program, whatever the details, you want to ensure that the answers to these 2 questions result in a mutually beneficial relationship between you and your customers. This doesn’t always mean you have to give away free product, although that never hurts. Take a look at Caribou Perks. They didn’t get 100,000 Perks members in about one week just because they have fantastic coffee (which they do!). They gave away one free medium drink to anyone that joined. And let me tell you, I am a member and have gone to Caribou at least 3 times as much because of their loyalty program. I am rewarded with discounts and they get my increased business. Mutually beneficial, and delicious. Perfect combination.

Ok, so I may be over-simplifying this a bit. I don’t want to make it seem like this is a decision you should take on lightly because ultimately there will be time, money and resources to invest and expectations to meet if you decide to take this on. You need to make it all count. You don’t want your brand to fall short because you didn’t think through the details. Take a look at the steps we take when putting together our clients’ customer loyalty programs and see if it sparks any ideas or inspires you to start having these conversations with your team or with us.

Step 1: Define what your ultimate goals and objectives would be for having a loyalty program. Do you want this program to achieve increased awareness, revenue or market share? Or improve the rate of repeat purchases or stimulate larger baskets size purchases? Determine what you want and then you are able to outline how you are going to achieve it.

Step 2: Define your audience segments. Who do you want to participate in the program? Are there opportunities to break your audience into tiers based on past loyalty or desired outcomes? Once you understand your goals and your audience segments you can start defining program details, such as the actions that you want your audiences to take and how they will be rewarded.

Step 3: This step is all about the details. How will you actually implement a loyalty program? What tools will you use? What will your messaging be? How will this integrate into your current touchpoints? The process needs to feel seamless and effortless to your customers. It needs to intrigue them and initiate action. This doesn’t happen unless all the details have been ironed out.

Step 4: Design and execute a launch campaign. You want to start off with a bang and you need a plan that makes it happen.

That’s it! Follow these steps and you are up and running. Now the trick is to never stop learning from your customers. Continue to monitor your program, see what is working, what may not be working out like you planned, and remember to ask your customers for feedback and optimize accordingly. Every day they provide you with the knowledge to not only make your loyalty program better, but also your entire business. Don’t take that for granted and you will do just fine.

Photo Credit: Loyalty Programs/shutterstock

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