Marketers have a responsibility — not only to their brands, which benefit from higher levels of engagement, but to the consumers they are engaging. With so many companies vying for the attention of consumers, it becomes increasingly important for marketing campaigns to use innovative practices, like personalization, to enhance the customer experience.
So how can marketers ensure that consumers are having a mutually beneficial experience?
We reached out to Philip Pasma, an expert with decades of experience in marketing and the founder of real estate marketing agency Asterisk Marketing, who shared these tips on how marketers can work to make sure that their customers are happy enough to participate in a loyalty program and advocate for a brand.
Personalize your brand's loyalty experience
Consumers are often being bombarded with messages from brands written using catchy lines, promising a unique experience that can only be found by joining their loyalty program, but how many of these businesses truly provide the individualized journey they speak of?
We’ve let you in on a few of our favorite loyalty programs, but the help doesn’t stop there. We also want to give you tips and tactics that will leave many consumers with the idea that there is much to be desired behind your loyalty program. Personalization is one of them.
“Customers always respond positively to personalization. A recent research study has revealed that a customer is generally 8 times more likely to be satisfied with a loyalty program if [it] is personalized. Keeping this in consideration, marketers should design personalized incentives for people in accordance with their usage and loyalty,” said Pasma.
Here are three ways to optimize loyalty programs through personalization:
1. Use data received from customers to make their shopping experience easier
When looking to create personalized experiences for your customers, don’t be afraid to ask for help — allow them to assist you with the data they provide. It’ll make things easier for everyone involved.
“Customers are less likely to follow a loyalty program that is complex. Most of them prefer simple rules to follow,” said Pasma. “If the customers do not understand their benefits from the program, why would they participate in the first place?”
Pasma poses a good question. Why would consumers participate in a loyalty program if they don’t see its value? That’s where you come in. As a marketer, it’s your job to show your customers why they should value your brand’s loyalty strategy.
This can include recommendations based on your customer's shopping habits, remembering a customer’s size or past meal selections, or letting them know when there’s an update on an item they’ve expressed interest in.
2. Refer to customers by name
Exactly what it sounds like, referring to your customers by their name is a great way to offer an experience that is unique to them.
It can also dramatically increase the amount of responses you get from customers. In a study by HubSpot, personalized calls to action (CTAs) had a 202% higher conversion rate than basic CTAs. (Think of how many times you’ve responded to your name over the years.).
Using software that allows customers to include their names in the accounts they’ve created with you will help you to automatically implement this practice in your communications.
3. Only send customers information that is relevant to them
While this may seem like it doesn’t need to be said, you can never be too safe.
As you may have gathered from the other personalization tips we’ve offered, a large part of what makes this tactic so powerful is its ability to create a special and distinctive approach to shopping for consumers. This can’t be achieved without making an effort to understand what your customers' needs are and how you can fulfill them.
Outside of being a crucial ingredient for personalized marketing, customized offers and recommendations are also highly attractive to consumers. According to Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to buy products and services from brands that include personalized content to help them during their shopping journey.
Respect and consider feedback
Ever heard of the saying “treat others the way you want to be treated?”
While most might refer to this principle when talking about friends or family, the same thought process can be applied to the relationship held by brands and their customers. The idea is that if you want a customer to respect your brand and be interested in engaging with you repeatedly, you have to extend the same courtesy. That also includes taking an interest in any feedback you receive from customers.
“Remember, the customer is always right. Even if a customer criticizes the loyalty program meaninglessly, you can’t be rude to them. It is important to handle such criticisms technically. Also, if any customer comes with good feedback or suggestions, you should definitely take that seriously,” said Pasma.
Treat regular customers like VIPs
Who doesn’t love a little special treatment every now and then?
No matter if a customer is already a member of your loyalty program or you’re looking to convince them to sign up in the future, showing your customers that you care about them and want to make them feel special is a great way to keep them engaged with your brand.
“You can make your regular customers feel important by designing personalized and differentiated loyalty programs for them. It will make them feel special, and they will grow more loyalty towards your company. As a result, they will be happy and refer others to your business,” said Pasma.
Allowing all of your customers personalized care will prevent feelings of neglect from occurring and help keep you on the good side of your customers.
By providing consumers with attractive loyalty practices that work in alignment with their needs, you can elevate your entire loyalty strategy in a way that organically resonates with them.