Beyond the Welcome: How Loyalty Programs Build Engagement

Beyond the Welcome: How Loyalty Programs Build Engagement
John Bartold • August 18th, 2011

According to LoyaltyOne’s Colloquy Talk Report the average household is a member of 18 loyalty programs, but only engages in 8.4.  

A lot of people join a loyalty program without really thinking about it.Perhaps they are standing at the register and the associate asks if they want to get special benefits with their purchase or instantly save 10%.

Loyalty programs are much more than getting customers to opt-in or enroll.A loyalty program should provide the opportunity to strengthen the relationship between the brand and the consumer.Like any relationship, it takes work.You need to continuously engage loyalty program members in order to build the relationship.

Get out of the campaign and response mindset, focus on dialogue and a stream of interaction.

Rather than looking at consumer engagement over time, brands continue to be focused on response.When the loyalty effort is launched, enrollment is closely monitored as a ‘response’ event rather than the first step in a series of events.

Smart marketers develop an on-boarding strategy consisting of a series of events and communications that bring the brand to life and educate the member on the benefits they will receive as a loyal customer.Beyond on-boarding, a long term plan should be developed to support other events and milestones in the relationship.

Be immediate, interactive and relevant.

Consumer exchanges via social media posts and other digital channels happen in days or minutes rather than weeks or months, which is the typical campaign cycle.Marketers must change their approach for the dialogue to be effective.New processes and systems must be used to manage real time, interactive and relevant dialogues.

Communication needs to be triggered based on events and activity at the consumer’s pace.And, those communications, when triggered by an event or activity, will contain a higher degree of relevance because they are timely and linked to a specific activity.

Don’t just tell and sell.Ask, encourage sharing and participate.

Great dialogue requires involvement by both parties.Marketers should seek to encourage feedback and information sharing with members through surveys, product reviews and social posts. Through social posts and reviews, members increase the brands reach and influence friends and family.

When you ask members to provide information through a survey it’s important to show you’ve listened by acting on the information immediately.Each survey should contain questions that marketers can act on or respond to while acknowledging the member’s feedback was heard.

Registration is only the beginning.Creating and managing a successful loyalty program requires continuous efforts.As with any relationship, remember to keep your loyalty programs fun, engaging and, most of all, rewarding for customers.