Acquiring new members for your loyalty program is hugely important, but retention is where a lot of retailers struggle.
Once someone has joined your loyalty program, how do you keep them actively engaged and getting the full potential out of their membership?
This is a problem that we help retailers figure out.
And as a person responsible for managing engagements on behalf of our retail partners, I thought it would be great to talk about how we do that.
It’s great once we get a new member in the door, but what happens after that?
Well, that’s where I come in.
My goal is to make sure that every member feels special and understands how to use our program. We want to celebrate them every step of the way and be there for them when they have questions.
With that being said, here are some touch points to consider:
1. The New Loyalty Member Welcome Experience
To me, this is one of the most crucial points of communication.
The first thing to say is “Welcome” via an email which also houses a quick breakdown of the program benefits and how-to login.
It’s important that this initial communication be simple and easy to understand. The last thing we want to do is overload your new member with too much information.
But it can’t and doesn’t stop there.
Your new member is also provided a booklet full of program information and details which is either sent via mail or included in that first Welcome email.
The next step is to “show the member around” when they log in to the web experience for the first time.
How many times have you logged into a new website and been completely lost and wondered where to go or what to do next?
We answer those questions with a brief navigation and site tour. I like to call this out because it’s completely optional for the member but will always show for them the first time that they come to the home page.
Now that we have welcomed your new member and provided them with plenty of education about the benefits and how to navigate the site, we want to keep the excitement going!
2. Ongoing Communication & Engagement
This is where the fun really starts to ramp up!
We want your members to always know where they stand with their premium loyalty membership. To do that, we create new and better ways to communicate and engage with your member base.
We have created a series of emails that lets someone know when their claim(s) have been approved as well as when to expect their payouts.
We don’t stop at just email updates for your members.
When we have a product update to enhance the member experience, we always call it out. We want to show them that you are always innovating to create the best premium loyalty experience.
We leverage the same tool we use for the initial welcome and navigation tour to call out and explain the update on your member website.
We make sure that it is optional and easy for someone to close out if they would like to continue their online session without the new information, but we feel that it is extremely important to keep your members up to date with every change we are making.
3. Promotions to Keep the Excitement Going
Throughout the year we love to sprinkle in promotions for your members.
These can range from a higher cash back percentage on a specific category, to bonus rebates for those using the program, to double points and/or double cash back events.
Promotions take careful planning, but it’s so worth it in the end.
Let me break down how these promotions usually work.
On your member site, we typically have multiple locations where we utilize “above the fold” space to call out any promotion that you would like.
These are planned out about three months at a time. We use Google Event Tracking to monitor click traffic and, when provided, we use specific coupon codes to see how many members took advantage of the promo.
As we plan for double points, double cash back and/or bonus rebate promotions, we also create a string of communications that coincides with the banner placements on the site.
These communications are a mix of print and digital pieces. When we talk about print for something like this, it is usually a post card style, but for digital, we create an entire email campaign with specific targeting.
A basic outline would be something like: An Announcement Email – A Reminder Email – A Kickoff Email – A Countdown Email – and a Final Celebration Email.
Once the dust has settled and everything is complete from a marketing perspective, we dive into the results and performance of that promotion.
We analyze how each communication affected the members, their interaction with the pieces, and talk through if we would do that same event again, not at all, or if we would make modifications to it in the future.
This brings me to my final touch point for member communications: Testing & Optimization.
4. Testing & Optimizing Your Program
We started with the Welcome and Onboarding Experience. The initial email and/or booklet that is sent to a member is so important and we know that it truly sets the tone for a member’s overall experience with the program.
But even before members receive that, they see what is on your “Join Page.”
This is an ideal testing and optimization location. We are always looking to see which of our listed benefits is really driving traffic, so we will change it up from time to
Somewhere else we are constantly testing are email subject lines.
We usually do this with our Announcement type emails. When we are announcing a new benefit or a promotion for your current member base, we want to make sure that we are creating and rolling with the best subject line at that time.
Once we have defined our target audience, we will take about 5% – 10% of that total and send out a handful of the same emails, but with different subject lines.
We will monitor the performance and then roll out to the other 90% – 95% of the target with the subject line that had the best overall performance. We don’t just test basic copy changes, but also dabble with personalization and emojis too!
Segmentation falls into the optimization side of this section.
Segmentation allows us to better communicate with members based on how new they are, if they are a veteran, and how much they use your program.
By creating these groups for messaging, I can optimize the message and promotion we offer each member based on who they are and where they stand with the program.
Once we know what we want to communicate with each segment, we start testing.
We test images, copy, callouts, layout changes, subject lines, and so much more. This keeps me on my toes every day, but that’s the best part about marketing and communications. Every day, there is always something new to say and a better way to say it.
Make Member Communication a Passion
When all is said and done, my job … let me correct that … my passion is communicating in the best way possible with your members.
I want to offer members a Custom Loyalty program experience. When that is done correctly, a member will use the program, share their great experiences, and continue their membership as they see the value and savings they earn every time they shop.
I know that as time goes on, there will be new and better ways to communicate with loyalty program members because it is an evolving process.
But for now, I hope you enjoy my Top 4!