Being able to acquire a loyal customer base holds a particular level of importance; loyalty influences consumer buying decisions, whether or not customers choose to opt-in to certain promotions, and customer retention rates.
With so much riding on your ability to ensure customer loyalty, it only makes sense to wonder how you can acquire loyalty program members consistently and at scale.
These six tips are a crucial starting point.
1. Start with a quality offering
Long before customers begin to develop brand loyalty from your loyalty program, they will associate your business with the products and/or services it provides. In order to make sure customer reception is positive, your brand must deliver a quality offering that meets the needs it set out to fulfill.
And that quality should remain consistent. Much like any other relationship, loyalty between a brand and its customers must be earned; you can help guide the emotional connection forward by showing customers that your brand is reliable and trustworthy.
2. Clearly articulate the value of your loyalty program to customers
Customers should be getting notified about your loyalty program through a variety of communications. This can be done online through e-commerce or other functionalities, or while they are physically inside one of your locations. It should also be done consistently, for both new and existing customers.
As you do inform customers about your loyalty program, make sure to clearly communicate its value. Create messages that are relevant and illustrate that the program was developed specifically for them. Use this as an opportunity to show customers that you prioritize their business and want to make them happy throughout their customer experience.
3. Lean on social proof with referrals from current loyalty members
Creating a following of loyal customers is great for business; dedicated consumers are a huge indicator of how well your brand is meeting needs in the marketplace. They are also fantastic messengers for getting the word out on your loyalty program.
According to social proof, a marketing psychology tactic centered around the idea that we as humans are influenced by others' actions, potential loyalty program members are much more likely to join your rewards program if they receive a referral from friends and family who know the program works.
Encourage your existing program members to refer friends to join loyalty. Offer them rewards when their friends sign up. Oftentimes, they'll refer lookalike personas, which gives you the added bonus of not only getting new loyalty program members, but getting new members who match your ideal buyer.
4. Offer quality incentives for loyalty sign-ups
Loyalty programs are all about thanking your target audience for their support. These reward systems help build customer loyalty and allow customers to feel valued by the brands they love. One great way to launch this relationship is through some type of special initial incentive.
Commonly, this takes the form of:
- Discounts and deals
- Special offers for VIP members
- Early access to new product releases/giveaways
- Redeemable loyalty points
The incentives you choose will largely depend on the type of loyalty program your brand has. Tiered program perks may be different than the incentives given to a new member participating in a points program. The best customer loyalty program incentives are those that drive purchasing decisions forward and make the most sense for your business.
The best acquisition incentives are also of high quality. Taking the time to offer a strong reward for loyalty sign-ups can help your marketing aimed at getting subscribers to stand out and ultimately get you more conversions.
One way to do this is to specifically tailor the incentive to the interests of your target audience. Keep it relevant. (Offering rewards that don’t appeal to them defeats the purpose of using a loyalty program to show brand relevance, anyway!)
You should also make sure the reward they're getting when they sign up for loyalty is not something they can get anywhere else — make it unique. It takes energy to sign up for a loyalty program, and it's something every other brand is asking of their customers. Make it worth your audience's time to join yours.
5. Add urgency into loyalty program promotions
A lot of brands' loyalty program promotions end up looking very similar. One way to cut through the noise with yours is to leverage urgency marketing. This tactic, which is all about crafting marketing in a way that drives immediate response, can be added to any of your existing loyalty program promotions or exist as a standalone campaign.
For example, you could do something as simple as making the incentive you offer for loyalty sign-ups only available for a limited time. Or provide incentives in tiers, and tell customers that the first 100 to sign up for your loyalty program get the top rewards.
If you were to take the standalone campaign approach, you could also build a week-long digital campaign that consumers sign up for, and make it so that when they join loyalty as part of that, they are entered to win an exciting reward, which will drop at a random time in the future. Or you could have a one-day digital event where special offers are dropped for only loyalty members and promote it on focal digital or in-store real estate to hype up the event for non-loyalty members too, encouraging them to join your program.
There are all kinds of methods for infusing urgency into your loyalty program promotions, even beyond leveraging rewards. But they all come back to using psychology that will motivate your audience to join loyalty in a fun new way.
6. Keep your eyes on loyalty program quality
Similar to how you need a quality offering to establish loyalty in the first place, you also need to offer a quality loyalty program to help promote organic word of mouth around it. Keep a constant view on the response to your loyalty program, and make sure to meet consumer expectations to the best of your ability within it.
For example, when promising customers loyalty program perks, make sure to follow through with delivery in a timely manner. Your target audience should feel as though you value their time; this reflects well on your ability to meet their needs and the overall quality of your customer service practices.
Building a brand that’s known for its loyal customer base is an overarching goal for many businesses. The loyalty program acquisition tips mentioned above can help support you on your journey to getting there.