Customer Loyalty Program Ideas
Many customers spend a lot of money attracting new customers. But what about current customers? Don’t forget about that segment of your business! Here are some customer loyalty program ideas to consider.
I used to go to this same nail salon every week. I would bring my children too, and I spent a lot of money in this salon between the pedicures, manicures, massages, and the special designs on my daughter’s nails. One day when I showed up I was in a bit of a hurry, but I knew they would fit me in. After all, wasn’t I a loyal weekly customer? Wrong! I arrived just before a new customer with her coupon for first time customers only. I watched the manager go out of her way to accommodate the new person and slot her in before me, leaving no empty stations left to get my manicure or pedicure done. Where was the loyalty to repeat customers? “It’ll only be about 15 minutes,” she told me. “You can wait.” Um, no, I could not. I walked out and I never went back. I found another nail salon that appreciated my business and treated me with the same loyalty I gave to them.
The moral of the story: don’t take your current customers for granted! By creating a loyalty program, you provide your current customers with the incentive to come back, and allow them to feel as appreciated as you should feel that they are choosing your brand over all the other choices out there.
Not sure if your business is big enough, or that your brand is so big it would be too complicated to run a loyalty program? No worries. There are as many customer loyalty program ideas that fit any size company or budget.
Here are a few fairly simple ideas to implement:
Give your loyalty customers preferential treatment.
Rejoice in your repeat customers and give them something. For a service company that may be a small discount every month. For a restaurant it’s the free appetizer to the couple that comes in every Friday. I use Grove to deliver cleaning supplies to my door every month, and they frequently add free product like soaps or tea towels to my order just because I order every month.
Surprise customers when they review your services or products.
When customers review your product or services, surprise and delight them with a little something for that glowing review. A free dessert or a $2 Amazon code could make them a lifelong customer! NOTE: if you solicit a review for compensation they have to disclose that in the review per current FTC guidelines.
Create offers just for members.
While coupons for first time customers may get you that new business, try to think of offers and coupons for those returning customers. My yoga studio hold challenges every so often to give members a monthly fitness challenge when they come more often for a reduced monthly fee. And that little price break always gets me to accept the challenge! Remember: terms and conditions are a good idea to include in any offer you create.
Create a social responsibility program.
Studies have shown that Millennials and Gen X’ers are very social and environmentally conscious. Give your customers a reason to choose you over your competition by offering a genuine way to give back to the community. Not sure how to do this? Ask your customers what is important to them – planting trees? Giving scholarships or free services to the needy? Donating or delivering meals? Once you discover what your customers want, then building a rewards program around it. For example, if your customers want to see you invest in planting trees, set up a way to plant a tree for every $25 your loyal customer spends at your store.
Finally, you should consider allowing your customers to share the wealth by letting them create affiliate links that you can track to give them a share of any revenue they generate. It works like this: your customers each get a link that has a special URL you can track back to them. When they give it to friends and family and a purchase is made, the customer link is credited with the sale and a portion of the sale can go directly back to the originating customer’s account so they can use the credit on future purchases, or even get cash back. That Grove link listed above is my affiliate link – and every purchase people make from it earns me free credit to use at Grove – so feel free to use it!
And if you want to make a more long-term commitment to loyalty you should consider creating a point system:
Points programs are the types of loyalty program most of us think of when we think of loyalty programs. Airlines give points for miles. Credit cards give points for dollars. Sales teams give points for internal rewards programs for sales leads generated. Food and beverage companies give points on packaging or on caps. Almost any industry can translate sales or dollars or other goals attained into points earned. And although tracking points can be challenging, there is a lot of flexibility to be had in rewarding people according to the number of points earned.
Use points to earn merchandise.
The classic model is to save points to earn items, where the more points you have the bigger the item you can earn. For this type of program it is always good to consult with a promotional marketing company to ensure that your reward items fit within your budget and that you have control over how many items can be earned or given away. Without this expertise and budgetary limits you could outspend the money coming in and defeat the purpose of your program.
Use points for sweepstakes entries.
One way to control budget and keep people engaged is to allow your loyalty program members to spend their points as sweepstakes entries. That way, someone with only 5 points can still allocate his points toward getting a high value sweepstakes prize instead of settling for a small token through a more traditional rewards program where 5 points = a pencil, or similar.
Allow bonus points for referrals or for actions.
Another way to engage customers outside the traditional model of spending money on goods and services to earn points is to allow members to earn bonus points for performing actions like sharing about your company or goods or services on social channels, or performing actions on your web site, like watching videos or downloading content.
Want more ideas? Marden-Kane has created points for entries loyalty programs, as well as loyalty offers, surprise and delight programs, and other custom loyalty solutions. We can help you customize a program that fits your budget and goals. Contact us to get started.
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