Reward Repeat Customers: Develop Your Own Loyalty Program

Let me ask you something: What keeps your customers coming back? Would you like them to come back more often and increase the amount of money they spend with you? A well-designed loyalty program can accomplish both of these goals.

There are several ways to implement a loyalty program depending on whether you own a brick-and-mortar store, an online store, or both. The goals of a loyalty program are the same no matter what type of business you own:

  • Reward existing customers
  • Retain more of current customers
  • Increase sales

It’s in the Cards

Let’s take a look at some options for a local store seeking to increase sales from existing customers. Many of us have received loyalty punch cards that are popular with restaurants and coffee shops. The concept is simple – You present your card with each purchase and they punch a hole in the card. Once you fill up the card, you get a free item. Easy, right?

What if I told you there’s a more effective way to make this work? It’s based on a concept called “artificial advancement.” Here’s how it works: Let’s say your ice cream shop offers a free sundae after your 10th purchase. Instead of handing the customer a card with 10 slots for punches, you give them a card with 12 slots.

Here’s the important part: you punch the first two slots when you give it to them. That way, instead of starting from scratch, you’re giving them a head start on filling the card. It’s still 10 visits for the free sundae, but to the customer, they’re already one-sixth of the way toward filling the card. This approach has been shown to increase repeat visits better than the standard punch card method. Pretty cool.

Going Online

Email and social media are two powerful platforms to stay in touch with your customers. There are several inexpensive email marketing platforms, such as MailChimp and Constant Contact, that allow you to stay in touch with your customers and offer special discounts. You can amplify your offers by posting them on Twitter and Facebook to drive followers to your store or website.

You can tap into some powerful loyalty possibilities if your business software allows you to segment your customers. Seeds companies are a great example of this. Let’s say you buy vegetable seeds from Acme Nurseries. A couple days later, they send you an email with an offer to buy herb seeds to go with the vegetable seeds you bought. They’re also very good at segmenting by region. They usually start sending offers to customers living in the south sooner than customers in the north. Think about how you can segment your market to personalize your loyalty offers.

Make Your Business Stand Out

Studies show Americans belong to over 20 loyalty programs, but only actively participate in about a dozen. You can make your business’s loyalty program stand out with a clear strategy and enticing offers. Need help brainstorming your loyalty program? I’ve learned a lot about loyalty programs from talking to my customers about what works best for them. Give me a call at 877-379-9748 and I’ll be happy to help you plan out a successful loyalty program. It’s a great way to grow your business.