3 Ways to Cultivate Customer Excitement With Loyalty Programs
Posts, tweets, snaps, oh my!
Unlike any time in history, your customers today have a constantly increasing number of distractions vying for their attention. Add in just how easy it is to switch to a new service provider, and your marketing or sales job got a whole lot harder.
The good news? Instead of allowing your brand to get lost in an avalanche of content, there are several simple and straightforward ways you can capitalize on modern technology and drive sustainable results. When done right, there’s also a unique opportunity to truly engage — in a meaningful way — with customers across a variety of touchpoints, building brand loyalty and driving sales.
While I could probably write a book on various tactics to consider, I figured for this rendition I’d start with just three tips that you can begin employing today.
Personally, I dislike most connotations around the word gamification. Not because it’s a bad term, but because it’s a badly misused term. While some may consider gamification adding in badges that nobody really cares about, to me, gamification simply means creating a rewarding and enjoyable customer experience.
The most important thing to ask yourself is, “What is my customer getting out of this?” I often find marketers tend to consider their own needs while ignoring what’s important to their customers.
Creating an enjoyable customer experience is much more about the, well, experience. Is your registration elegant and smooth, or is it punishing? It’s no surprise that the harder you make it for your customer, the more likely they are to give up without taking the desired action. A beautiful presentation with unobtrusive transitions, playful coloring, and a human message can really help drive conversions.
We’re a very rewards-based people. It’s not our fault, it’s simple evolution. No need to shy away from this fact. Instead, think about what your customers consider rewarding, what behaviors you want to incentivize, and how these two things can align.
The most important thing to consider when determining what rewards to offer is to make sure you’re offering a rule that's actually, you know, rewarding to YOUR target audience. Rewards don't necessarily need to be a huge cost. In fact, oftentimes “free” things like highlighting customer content through social media may be even more rewarding than a trip or car (well, maybe).
Finally, once you’ve created an enjoyable experience and have provided a few great rewards, the last step is spreading the word. And assuming you’ve done a good job at the first two parts, the third should almost take care of itself … though I don't recommend assuming as much.
Instead, if you want your customer to do something, incentivize them. If you’re running a promotion, depending on the ever-changing rules of the platform you’re using, you may be able to offer additional entries for people sharing with their friends and families across social media, as well as incorporate custom hashtags for searchability. Providing the opportunity for user-generated contact (e.g., photos, videos, memes) let’s the customer be creative, spread your message and add their own personal touch to the campaign. Lastly, another strong way to build brand affinity is by providing daily incentives to win smaller prizes through instant-win games. After all, the more you can get customers coming back, the more immersed they’ll be with your brand, and the better chance to win a lifelong fan.
Joe Breslin is vice president of Realtime Media (RTM), a digital promotions company, creating sweepstakes, user-generated content campaigns, and custom development solutions.
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