This article originally appeared in Total Retail on March 8th, 2023.
Loyalty programs are invaluable tools for retailers, but the fact that most brands offer them also means a program alone may not be enough to differentiate your brand — and competition for new members is fierce. Even more challenging? Keeping those customers engaged in your loyalty program long term.
To stand out, your brand needs to identify opportunities to differentiate its loyalty program. Layering in incentives can amplify the reach, impact and longevity of your current loyalty offerings. With 88 percent of consumers more likely to join a loyalty program if they’re offered an incentive, loyalty amplifiers are a highly effective — but often underutilized — tactic for acquiring members and sparking long-term customer engagement.
But what exactly are loyalty amplifiers and how do they drive desired behaviors? In our three-part series, we’ll explore how they help achieve six loyalty goals: acquisition, onboarding/education, sales, point burn, retention, and advocacy.
In this first piece, we cover acquisition and onboarding/education — and how loyalty amplifiers help you engage new members right from the start.
Goal 1: Acquisition
The first stage of any loyalty program involves acquiring members. This is typically accomplished by increasing awareness, generating referrals, and motivating loyalty program app downloads and site visits.
Loyalty amplifiers like sweepstakes, instant-win games and referral programs go a long way toward achieving these objectives without posing a high barrier to entry for members. For example, to inspire loyalty program signups, make customers eligible for an instant-win contest when they create a loyalty account. Or reward a customer with points when they download your loyalty program app.
Once you establish these relationships, you can incentivize existing members to further increase brand awareness. User-generated content (UGC) contests and referral programs motivate current members to act as brand advocates. In fact, 78 percent of consumers will refer a brand’s loyalty program to friends and/or family in exchange for an incentive.
Related story: Want to Amplify Your Loyalty Program? Don’t Overlook Sweepstakes
Goal 2: Education and Onboarding
The next stage involves keeping your members’ excitement from waning after initial signup — requiring program education and onboarding to keep customers coming back for more while collecting valuable zero-party data to deliver the best experience.
For example, encourage members to explore your program and website through experiences like trivia, multi-action dashboards, polls and surveys. Fun activities like watching videos in exchange for loyalty points or special, timely offerings can also motivate members to learn more about your brand’s new products and services.
Loyalty amplifiers during the education and onboarding stages can help personalize your loyalty program, too. For example, personality quizzes are an engaging way to gather data and insights about your customer base and create more tailored offers — simultaneously strengthening relationships between your brand and its target audiences, while also reinforcing the value associated with ongoing loyalty program membership. In fact, in exchange for an incentive, 66 percent of consumers are likely to provide brands with more personal information and preferences to better personalize future loyalty program experiences.
As a bonus, these data-driven market insights can fuel more effective and targeted business operations beyond your loyalty program — from sales and branding to customer service.
Stand Out From the Crowd With Loyalty Amplifiers
Loyalty amplifiers help your loyalty program stand out. They also drive member acquisition and retention. With loyalty amplifiers like UGC contests, personality quizzes and sweepstakes, you can deepen the quality of your customer relationships, while making the relationship-building process fun and personalized.
In the next installment of our three-part series, we’ll dig into how loyalty amplifiers help your brand achieve two additional important loyalty program goals: sales and point burn. And stay tuned for part three, where you’ll learn how to increase retention and advocacy.
Tyler Haskins is the executive vice president of marketing at ebbo, an all-in-one loyalty company that has helped leading brands build unforgettable customer experiences for over two decades.