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If you ask a marketing team what their end goal is, they’ll say something along the lines of “make sales.” That’s not necessarily wrong, but if you sat down and thought about all the things your ideal customer would be doing, from engaging with social media content to attending special events, you’ll start to see an entire customer journey around a sale that is just as important.
In all my years of marketing, I’ve found one efficient strategy for enticing customers to do any number of things. A loyalty points program!
Customers can earn points for purchases, as well as engage with the brand in other meaningful ways. Eventually, once they’ve gotten enough points, they can be redeemed for discounts or other SICK rewards.
We’ve all felt the satisfaction that comes with being rewarded, so we know that this kind of program can lead to customers returning again and again. Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know to start racking up customer points right away!
Where to Implement Loyalty Points
When you think about loyalty points, you probably think of points per dollar spent or even a punch card for return visitors. This is only one way to implement points in your business.
While the checkout page on a website, or the till at a physical store, is the most common place to earn points, if you want to encourage more meaningful engagement throughout the shopping experience, you’ll want to include points in other areas as well!
This is WAAAAY easier to do online than in person. You can track customers through their entire experience and offer points on your website’s home page, on product pages and review sites, on blog posts, and even on social media!
In person, you can offer points at special events, or for referrals when a new customer mentions someone’s name.
There can be points given out when customers
- Sign up for a newsletter
- Participate in surveys
- Refer friends
- Log into their account
- Leave product reviews
- Participate in giveaways
- And more!
The more areas within your sales process that offer points, the more dopamine your customers will receive (that’s the happy chemical!), keeping them engaged and excited. Just remember, the more points you give out, the more people will need to get for rewards.
Ways to Earn Loyalty Points
The ways to give out points are endless, which can get a little overwhelming. Here’s a few of my favorite ways to help my customers rack up loyalty points!
Signing Up for an Account
If our goal is to get that dopamine flowing and keep people on track to gaining more points, it’s a good idea to offer points right away when they sign up for an account. Video games use this tactic to keep people engaged, often giving quick wins off the bat to get the player invested.
This is a BIG ONE! Rewarding people for bringing in new business is important because it incentivizes them to do your marketing for you.
People are far more likely to get referrals if there is a reward for both them and the person they bring in, so offering points to everyone involved will get the ball rolling.
You can set everything up so that customers get points for new leads that come in online or in person, just make sure you don’t let any slip through the cracks. Using a software like ReferralHero ensures everyone gets their points, no matter how they get the sale.
Leaving Product Reviews
So many people rely on customer product reviews to make decisions about what to buy or where to get a service done. This can be the biggest factor in your company’s success, and loyalty points give customers a reason to provide them.
You can offer points for five-star reviews, or give additional points once the review has been approved by your team. The more specific the review, the more points they get!
The ideal product review will include information about the quality, customer service, shipping/shopping experience, and more.
Marketing research can be a drag, and often times the only responses you get are from people who are really invested in your product, or there to make a quick buck.
By offering loyalty points to people who complete surveys, you can make sure you get a larger sample base, and get customers excited about being a part of your developmental process.
Depending on the length of the survey, you can offer different amounts of points.
Participating in Contests
Gamification is a wildly powerful tool, especially for marketing. Getting customers excited about contests or drawings, or even implementing a leaderboard for point earners, is a great way to keep them coming back.
Offer points for entering a contest, completing certain tasks, or winning the contest outright.
Interacting with Social Media
There are so many things we’d LOVE people to be doing with our brands on social media, from following our pages to interacting with our posts to sharing our company with their friends.
If you want these things to happen, you need to make it worthwhile for your users. Following your page has such a low barrier to entry, offering points for doing it gets the dopamine ball rolling right away.
Interacting with your posts helps to build a strong connection between the customer and your team, leading to brand loyalty and hype.
If anyone shares your content, you get the added bonus of spreading the word and reaching new customers. Make sure your point reward reflects that boost!
Subscribing to Newsletters
If you have a newsletter going out with promotions and announcements, offering points is a great way to up the subscription numbers and engagement.
You can even include additional ways to earn points within the newsletter, such as surveys, events, and information about your referral program.
This continual reminder of your brand will keep you at the front of their minds, making them far more likely to come back.
Offering higher levels of membership that boast faster points, VIP treatment, and even special events will reward loyal customers even more. You can upgrade people’s memberships once they reach a certain number of points, or offer paid memberships that help people get rewards way quicker.
Other great perks for a membership like this might be free shipping, exclusive discounts, and priority customer service.
This is a stellar way to offer points both in-store and online. When people use coupons, getting bonus points makes it an even better deal! These points can be added either when a cashier scans the coupon, or when it’s added onto an online account.
This can make your coupons more enticing, and you can even offer more coupons in exchange for points.
And now the one you’ve all been waiting for! Getting points when buying something is the most common way of earning points. You have lots of options for points, including a sliding scale, a certain number of points per dollar spent, or a flat number of points per transaction.
This rewards the biggest action we’re hoping our customers take and therefore should be the most rewarding.
Redeeming Loyalty Points
While the dopamine boost of pulling in tons and tons of points is powerful, the real reason people will be invested in your loyalty point program is the rewards. There’s lots to consider when it comes to redeeming loyalty points.
Viewing The Points Balance
To keep track of their points and know exactly when they can get rewarded, your customers need a way to check out their balance. How this is done will rely a lot on the kind of business you have.
Online, people should be able to access this information on their account. Make sure it’s easy to navigate and tells them how many points they have, if/when they expire, and what rewards they can redeem.
In-person, customers can ask the cashier for an update on their points. If you’re using something like a punch card, it will be easy for them to keep track of how many points they’ve amassed.
No matter what, make sure tracking points is as easy as possible for your customers so that they stay engaged and excited about the program.
Types of Rewards
There are as many possible rewards as there are businesses, but here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Free Shipping
- Discounted Products
- Gift Cards
- Access To Special Events
- Free Upgrades (VIP Experiences)
- Early Access to Products
- Free Samples
- Free Subscriptions
- Donations to a Specific Charity
No matter what you choose, make sure it’s something that connects to your niche and customer base.
How To Redeem Points
Depending on how you’ve set up your program, there could be many ways to redeem points. You might want to consider having customers rack up a certain number of points before you allow them to cash in.
In-store, customers can simply get a cashier to add points to their order at checkout for a discount or to receive some kind of physical gift. The online process would be similar, but there is a little more flexibility around what rewards they choose.
Restrictions and Limitations
As wonderful as loyalty programs are, they can become a challenge if you let them run wild.
These limitations may include
- Maximum points earned within a time period
- Expiration date on points
- Minimum purchase amount to earn points
- Points being redeemed at specific locations
Make sure you are clear from the start about any restrictions you’ve placed on the program to keep your business safe.
The Bottom Line
Loyalty points are a spectacular way to get your customers excited to come back to your store. They also allow you to reward people for engaging with your brand in a meaningful way.
With fun and unique prizes, simple reporting, and exciting ways to earn, a loyalty program can quickly become a powerful and enticing part of your business.
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