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The Power of Paid Enrollment [Webinar Recap]

Subscription-based services have been transforming the consumer landscape, from streaming services to curated boxes to, now, the loyalty space. 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a way to apply this subscription model to acquire more members, boost engagement and create an incremental revenue stream, relatively quickly, and without having to redo your whole loyalty program? 

Those questions were answered during a recent ebbo webinar titled, “The Power of Paid Enrollment: Using Subscriptions to Amplify Your Loyalty Strategy,” co-hosted by Beth Weiner, SVP, Client Management, ebbo; and Paul Wolfer, Senior Manager, B2B Marketing, ebbo. 

Read the paid enrollment webinar recap.

View the full paid enrollment webinar recording here.

Here are the most important takeaways from the webinar. 

The Challenge with Loyalty Program Engagement 

Loyalty programs are important for all brands and play a key role in consumers’ purchasing decisions. According to our 2023 Paid Enrollment Data Study, 81% of consumers agree that holding a loyalty program membership influences their decision to purchase from that brand. 

But engagement is a challenge and here are the stats to prove it. 

​Ninety percent of consumers agree that many loyalty programs feel similar and not differentiated from others. And 72% of consumers use half of their loyalty program memberships or less. 

The Rise of Subscriptions & The Role of FOMO 

Ninety-three percent of consumers belong to at least one subscription with 68% of them belonging to between three and eight programs.  Here is a breakdown of what consumers spend annually on subscriptions:  

  • 77% of consumers spend up to $499
  • 25% spend $0-$99 
  • 29% spend $100-$199 
  • 23% spend $200-$499 
  • 11% spend between $500-$999 
  • 5% spend more than $1,000 
  • Only 7% don’t spend any money on subscriptions.  

Subscriptions are on the rise and will continue to grow in popularity. Consider that 41% of consumers plan to join additional subscriptions in the next 12 months.  

The rise in subscriptions and FOMO are the two big factors why paid enrollment is an effective offer to increase engagement. 

According to our 2023 Paid Enrollment Data Study,  

  • 56% of consumers are encouraged to act on limited offers. 
  • 50% of consumers experience FOMO from limited offers. 
  • 35% of consumers worry about missing a good deal or discount 
  • 25% of consumers worry more about limited time or quantity. 

What is Paid Enrollment and Why Does It Excite Consumers? 

A paid enrollment is a type of subscription loyalty amplifier that allows your customers to receive exciting, limited-time benefits or offers in exchange for a fee.  

It creates a sense of FOMO because it gives your customers or existing loyalty program members the chance to receive amazing benefits or experiences that are not available to everyone, for a fee.​ 

Here’s the difference between premium loyalty programs and paid enrollments. 

Premium loyalty programs include an annual or monthly fee so members can receive enhanced benefits, like CVS CarePass or Amazon Prime.​ 

​Paid enrollments are more time-sensitive, where they are open for either a limited time or there are only a limited number of spots. The goal with paid enrollments is to create a sense of urgency and exclusivity by offering these opportunities through your loyalty program. 

Both solutions fall under the umbrella of subscription-based loyalty programs.​ 

Here are some typical paid enrollment benefits: 

  • The opportunity to purchase or win a limited or exclusive new product. 
  • Receive discounts on products for a specific amount of time. 
  • VIP experiences you want to offer your best customers. 
  • Steady revenue, loyalty and collecting zero-party data. 
  • Generate revenue through the membership fees which can be used to fund the benefits, or even enhance your existing loyalty program. 
Screenshot of Taco Bell Taco Lover's Pass
Screenshot of Taco Bell Taco Lover’s Pass

For example, to celebrate National Taco Day in 2022 Taco Bell’s Taco Lover’s Pass allowed participants to receive one taco each day for 30 days. The price for the Taco Lover’s Pass varied from $5 to $10, depending on the customer’s location.  

​Since the pass was exclusive to Taco Bell Rewards members, this paid enrollment not only gave current members an exciting, limited-time offer but it also encouraged member signups. 

This is a great example of a paid enrollment that was on-brand, fun, engaging and exclusively available to loyalty program members. 

How Paid Enrollment Adds Value to Your Loyalty Strategy 

​Paid enrollment adds value to your brand through member acquisition, engagement and advocacy.​ 

In fact, 54% of consumers would join a subscription-based paid enrollment in the future if the benefits were valuable to them. 

And 64% of consumers are likely to join a brand’s free loyalty program if doing so gave them the chance to take advantage of a paid enrollment offer that gave them valuable rewards or benefits.

Here’s another example of a brand using paid enrollment strategically from a loyalty perspective.​ 

We worked with a national QSR brand on a limited-time and limited-quantity paid enrollment.​ 

The goals of the program were to drive incremental purchases, acquire new loyalty members and test the viability of offering a subscription product within the existing free loyalty program.​ 

For two days only, current rewards members could buy a “pass” for a one-time fee of $15 to receive 50% off a sandwich each day for a month.​ 

​And the results were impressive: 

  • Tripled average subscriber frequency 
  • 90% replied with positive satisfaction scores 
  • 90% were likely to re-purchase again 
  • 30% average redemption rate 
  • 24% new members to the loyalty program 
  • 30% had not visited a store in the previous three months 
  • Average monthly visits per member hit 8-9 (previously was 2-3) 

Since the pass was exclusive to rewards members, this paid enrollment not only gave current members an exciting, limited-time offer but also encouraged member signups. 

We saw non-members signing up for the loyalty program to get their chance at the pass and we saw a significant increase in monthly store visits when members started using the pass, which satisfied the first two goals of the program. 

It also proved that subscription-based loyalty would not only work within an existing loyalty program but could drive incremental value in core KPIs at the same time. 

This is a great example of a paid enrollment that instilled a sense of urgency, encouraged loyalty signups and drove incremental revenue at the point of sale. 

Since it was so successful, we have continued to run different variations throughout the year as a surprise and delight to loyal customers. 

This shows how helpful paid enrollment can be for member acquisition.  

What Gets Customers to Participate? 

According to our 2023 Paid Enrollment Data Study, here are the most important factors that motivate consumers to participate in paid enrollments.

  • Memberships that give discounts on products (74%)
  • A guaranteed spot in line to order a new product not on the market yet (30%)
  • Access to daily instant-win games for the chance to win big prizes (28%)
  • Exclusive access to VIP events (21%)
  • Access to VIP customer service (18%)

It’s no surprise that consumers mostly want discounts and ways to save money, which are common in the data studies we’ve done on loyalty programs. And the examples we mentioned earlier highlight these consumer expectations.

But consumers also want VIP experiences or early access, benefits only available to those enrolled.

Here’s a great example of allowing VIP access for enrollees.

People in a car dealership signing up for a paid enrollment program.

We worked with an automobile manufacturer to build awareness of its first electric vehicle, acquire new communication opt-ins and test the viability of early access offered exclusively through a membership program.

In exchange for a fee, members unlock privileges like a spot in line to pre-order the electric vehicle before it is made available to the general market and exclusive access to events, news and information about the new electric vehicle.

The registration website featured vehicle specs and revealed photos of the go-to-market vehicle model.

It worked because it was an exciting and limited-time offer that allowed them access to reserve their place in line for the new and highly anticipated vehicle. The program reached member capacity in just a few days. They have since continued re-opening the paid enrollment at auto shows around the country and, as a result, surpassed 20,000 members.

Again, the surprise and delight nature of not always keeping the offer available and exclusive access only during key events allows the experience to stay elite!

Here are the main reasons consumers haven’t signed up for a subscription-based paid enrollment, according to our study:

  • The benefits were not interesting (40%)
  • Time consuming/requires too much effort (29%)
  • Preferred brands don’t offer paid enrollments (28%)
  • want to share personal information (25%)
  • Inconvenient (21%)
  • Felt bothersome or annoying to be asked at in-store checkout (21%)
  • Unaware of brands’ paid enrollment offers (20%)
  • understand how it will personally benefit (12%)

To avoid consumers feeling that paid enrollments are annoying or being unaware of them, make sure the benefits of signing up are valuable to your customers and easily understood. Advertise paid enrollments in a way that is not annoying to your customers and offer a simple signup process.

Be clear about how you will use customers’ personal information. If you’re going to collect data, use it to personalize and elevate the member experience.

Adding Paid Enrollment to Your Loyalty Program 

According to our 2023 Paid Enrollment Data Study, consumers are open to participating in paid enrollments.  Seventy-two percent of consumers are currently not enrolled in any paid enrollments, but 78% who are not participating are likely to opt in if the offer is exciting or valuable. 

The beauty of a paid enrollment is that it’s not a huge lift for brands compared to building a full-blown loyalty program. In most cases, you can add a paid enrollment in as little as 60 days, which means your brand will be generating engagement, exclusivity and incremental subscription revenue quickly.  

This is also a fantastic way to test a full-blown subscription-based premium loyalty program. 

And that FOMO feeling comes with it, too.

In fact, 50% of consumers experience FOMO when it comes to an exciting limited-time or limited-quantity offer.  

Paid Enrollments Are Enticing 

Subscription-based loyalty is on the rise because it provides a consistent revenue stream and allows your brand to offer enhanced benefits beyond the standard loyalty member benefits. 

To learn more about paid enrollments, watch the full webinar recording here

If you’d like to discuss creative ways to use paid enrollments in your loyalty program, contact us here


ebbo helps brands achieve their customer loyalty goals with full-service, end-to-end solutions and also creates original educational content straight from the experts to help loyalty marketers stay on the cutting edge of customer engagement.

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ebbo™ is an all-in-one loyalty company. With our data driven strategy, full-service approach, and the unwavering support of the people behind the platform, our dedicated team will work with you to understand your loyalty goals, innovate solutions and help you build customer engagement on repeat.

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