Loyalty programs are a great tool to help you build customer engagement, but building customer engagement on repeat takes more than just having a loyalty program. So, what things can your brand do to amplify customer engagement within your program?
Enter loyalty amplifiers. What are they?
They are entertaining and shareable incentives that spark loyalty program engagement and help you meet your marketing goals. Loyalty amplifiers can range from instant win games to UGC contests, sweepstakes, social sweepstakes, trivia and more. They’re designed to engage consumers across their buying journey and keep them coming back to your brand.
But do these tactics actually work? We recently surveyed more than 1,300 U.S. consumers to see how they feel about these incentivized engagements. Our research addressed six loyalty goals: Acquisition, education/onboarding, increasing sales, point burn, retention and brand advocacy.
Below you’ll learn how loyalty amplifiers can impact customer engagement.
Acquiring More Loyalty Program Members
Getting consumers to join your loyalty program is the first key step in transforming them into brand advocates. So, how can you increase your chances of having consumers become members of your loyalty program?
Acquiring loyalty program members requires driving awareness, member referrals and encouraging app downloads. Loyalty amplifiers like sweepstakes, instant win and referral programs can help you with acquisition.
Eighty-eight percent of consumers are likely to join your loyalty program if you offer them an incentive (e.g., the chance to win a prize, receive a discount or get bonus points). And nearly 80% of consumers who belong to a brand’s loyalty program would likely download that brand’s app in exchange for an incentive.
According to our 2022 Customer Loyalty Data Study, 76% of consumers say the opinions of family and friends influence their purchasing decisions significantly more than influencers. And this new data found that 78% of consumers would refer a brand’s loyalty program to friends and/or family in exchange for an incentive.
These responses show how offering incentives can significantly impact consumer behavior related to your loyalty program. This is key because your best and most loyal customers also function as your brand advocates. They spread the message about your loyalty program and your brand messaging by telling their family and friends.
Engaging Loyalty Program Members Through Education/Onboarding
When you onboard new loyalty program members, the education process is a vital piece of the long-term retention puzzle. Getting customers to sign up for your loyalty program is a challenge, but getting them properly onboarded can be a challenge as well.
The onboarding process is where you can learn a lot about your members’ preferences that help to better personalize the experience and create more value for them. Things like trivia, polls and profile quizzes can be used as loyalty amplifiers together with a sweepstakes and/or instant win game to educate consumers about content relevant to your brand.
Give members immediate value and show them how they can maximize that value in your program. Incentives help amplify your loyalty program during the onboarding process.
In exchange for an incentive, 66% of consumers are likely to provide brands with more personal information and preferences to better personalize their loyalty program experience. This includes data like name, gender, age, profession, location, email address, phone number and household income.
It’s important to keep the member experience fresh and make members aware of program and benefits updates and new products.
When asked which activities within a loyalty program would most excite consumers to learn about new products and/or loyalty program benefits:
- 71% said polls and surveys
- 49% said games (e.g., trivia, personality quizzes, customized games)
- 38% said completing a profile
- 33% said reading or watching educational content
Meanwhile, when asked which incentives would most motivate consumers to learn about new products and/or loyalty program benefits:
- 69% said product samples
- 52% said product rebates
- 49% said the chance to win a prize
- 48% said bonus points
It’s clear from this data that loyalty program members thoroughly enjoy learning about your brand through various incentives and participating in various activities like polls, surveys and reading or watching educational content.
If you want your customers to learn more about all the great features and benefits, as well as new information, giving them incentives is a great way to motivate them.
Increasing Sales Through Your Loyalty Program
Our new consumer data shows that 67% of consumers say it’s important to buy from brands where they are loyalty program members. This speaks to the power of loyalty programs to increase sales for you, retain members and positively impact your bottom line.
If you want to increase sales even more, consider cross-selling your product portfolio, leveraging partnerships and sponsorships and incentivizing channel adoption. Loyalty amplifiers like digital rebates, continuity programs and purchase-based chance-to-win (sweepstakes, instant win) incentives can help you increase your sales.
Nearly 80% of consumers are likely to purchase multiple specific products in exchange for a rebate.
For example, this could be when a consumer purchases hand cream and toothpaste together in one transaction to receive a $5 rebate. Incentivizing the purchase of multiple specific items at the same time is effective when the price points are low, and you have a large amount of inventory to be moved.
To show the power of brand partnerships, nearly 80% of consumers said they are likely to make purchases with a brand in exchange for rewards and incentives that could also be used at other brands.
For example, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Nike integrated their loyalty programs. Nike’s loyalty program links to Dick’s membership, allowing consumers to shop for exclusive Nike shoes and apparel on Dick’s website. This partnership will grow over time to include in-person events at Dick’s locations.
Using Loyalty Amplifiers to Encourage Point Burn
One of the biggest challenges with loyalty programs is the financial liability that comes with points, something that is inherently built into any program. On top of that, many loyalty program members believe it takes too long to earn rewards. Getting loyalty program members to engage with you and redeem their points for rewards is the best path to customer satisfaction and member retention, as well as clearing that liability.
Seventy-four percent of consumers agree that loyalty program rewards often feel unattainable, they require making too many purchases, require too many points and take too long to earn. This has a direct impact on engagement. Consider nearly 90% of consumers said they engage with loyalty programs less often if they feel it takes too long to earn rewards.
But maybe there’s a way to encourage loyalty program members to use their points much sooner. Some things you can do to help in this area are to create attainable rewards and generate new reward excitement. Use loyalty amplifiers such as multi-sweepstakes, UGC rewards, limited-time rewards and point donations to assist.
Nearly 70% of consumers are likely to redeem smaller amounts of loyalty program points in exchange for rewards like the chance to win a prize, a customized digital product or a donation to a charity, instead of having to “save up” points for larger ticket rewards like free products or merchandise.
Loyalty Program Member Retention
Engaging your loyalty program members regularly through incentives is the key to retaining them. If members no longer see the value in your program, or if there’s nothing incentivizing them to interact, engagement can drop off.
- 66% of consumers said the main reason they haven’t engaged with a loyalty program they’ve belonged to for a long time is because it takes too long to earn rewards
- 48% of consumers said the reason is it required too much effort and is time-consuming
- 45% said the rewards aren’t valuable enough to them
- 27% of consumers added that program benefits and earning potential is unclear.
So, what would get loyalty program members who haven’t engaged in a long time to re-engage?
- 58% of consumers said receiving a coupon code or discount would be the main reason for them to re-engage
- 51% said a chance to win a cash prize
- 47% of consumers said a chance to win products from the brand would make them re-engage
- 28% said a chance to win a big-ticket item like a car or television
Loyalty amplifiers like an exclusive offer hub, games, chance-to-win, surprise & delight and fire drill rewards are extremely helpful. Coupon codes or discounts and a chance to win a cash prize top the list of key incentives.
- 60% of consumers said coupon codes or discounts keep them most engaged in loyalty programs
- 55% said a chance to win a cash prize
- 50% said a chance to win products from the brand
- 27% said a chance to win a big-ticket item like a car or television
Incentives Can Turn Your Loyalty Program Members into Brand Advocates
Turning your members into brand advocates can be challenging, but ultimately a rewarding experience.
One way to do this is by identifying your brand ambassadors and collecting authentic testimonials through loyalty amplifiers like user-generated content (UGC) contests, hashtag-to-enter programs, social sweepstakes, referral programs and social kickbacks.
Our data found that overall, 77% of consumers are likely to provide a brand/product testimonial or review if doing so rewarded them with an incentive (e.g., the chance to win a prize, receive a discount or get bonus points). And more than 1 out of 4 consumers is very likely to provide one.
When asked what would incentivize them to submit user-generated content (text, videos, images, reviews):
- 53% of consumers said a chance to win a cash prize would be the main reason they would want to submit user-generated content
- Nearly 50% said a coupon code or discount would incentivize them to submit user-generated content
- 43% said they’d be incentivized by a chance to win products from the brand
- 33% added they’d be incentivized by a chance to win a big-ticket item like a car or television
- 27% said they’d be incentivized by a chance to win a trip/vacation
But only 11% of consumers said brands offer incentives to participate in user-generated content regularly. So, there is a huge opportunity for brands to engage more with consumers through incentives.
Amplify Your Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs are powerful tools for customer engagement, but members need more incentives to engage more. It’s clear from our data that loyalty amplifiers can go a long way in helping you achieve your program goals.
From acquiring more members to encouraging point redemption to creating brand advocates, you have to provide your members with incentives to take action. If you want to learn more about loyalty amplifiers, or need help increasing engagement in your loyalty program, reach out to our customer loyalty experts any time.
Survey Methodology: ebbo surveyed 1,314 U.S. consumers 18 and older in November 2022.