4 ways you can utilise digital within your loyalty program

Loyalty programs are known for increasing customer’s buying habits. In fact, 80 per cent of customers buy more from a business if they are part of their loyalty program, according to a Citrus report. Though, if you are implementing a loyalty program within your business, it should not be set and forget. You need to promote it through a number of channels, including digital to ensure its success.

The 2018 MasterCard Asia Pacific Study highlighted 48 per cent of Australian loyalty members go six months or more without hearing from their program operator. Of this figure, the majority of customers have expressed interest in receiving more regular communication from their loyalty programs providers, whether it is through email or advertising.

So, to help you promote your loyalty program, we have uncovered four ways you can communicate with your members and potential new ones by using digital assets.

Book in front of the computer

1. Utilising your program’s website

These days, it is a given for a loyalty program to have a customer-facing website, which is a hub for members to visit for information about the program. With individuals spending more and more hours browsing through websites every day, catching their attention with a well-designed and regularly updated website is important.

While the public-facing side of the website provides generic information and promotions in relation to the program, behind the log-in members should be able to check how many points they have accumulated and what rewards they can claim. By having this available for members, it provides a platform for you to digitally promote your loyalty program.

When you are targeting new members, the website should have the name and mechanic of the loyalty program on the homepage. An explanation on how the program works, how they can sign-up and a selection of rewards on offer, as well as participating brands and products (if there is more than one) should also be displayed on the site.

The website is also an opportunity for you to display the features and benefits, as well as any new promotions that could be running in conjunction with the program. You would also need to display the program’s term and conditions.

While communicating with new members is important, it is also vital to keep the line of communication open with your existing members. This is best achieved by providing a unique experience for members with a personalised website. The website can include the member’s name, their points and available content based on their interests.

You could also have a display of rewards that are aligned to your member’s interests and wish-list. These personalised elements can create a sense of importance and drive new and proactive engagement with them. This variation is important because consumers have an appetite for programs that can customise rewards based on their interests.

Event-based notification triggers can also be enabled for your loyalty program through your website. These triggers can notify members when they have achieved points or when they are eligible for a reward or discount due to their targets being met within the program – meaning they have spent enough to receive their reward.

Image showcases how email can play a part of a loyalty program

2. Landing in their inbox with email loyalty marketing

A planned and executed email loyalty marketing strategy can be an extremely effective method of promoting your loyalty program. Email has been proven to be the most preferred channel to communicate with loyalty program members, according to a new report by Directivity.

According to the report, 81 per cent of loyalty program members prefer to receive personalised email over direct mail or text messages. So, when executing an email loyalty marketing strategy, take your members into account and create content that would be of interest to them – most importantly don’t just feed them generic information, it must be relevant to them.

Within a loyalty program, an email loyalty marketing strategy should be executed from the beginning. From when the program is first executed, a launch email should be sent to your business’ current clients and target database in an attempt to gain interest and memberships.

Launch emails allow your target audience to receive all relevant information relating to the loyalty program, from how it works, its start dates, claiming processes, reward options and any other necessary information they may need to become active members. This email should also sell the benefits of the loyalty program.

Following the initial correspondence, regular emails should be sent out to those customers who sign-up and become members of your loyalty program. These regular emails can help you promote offers, program updates, claiming periods and rewards to ensure they are engaged throughout their journey.

Emails relating to each member’s points status should also be considered as part of the overall email loyalty strategy. These emails are designed to show your members how many points they earned on their last purchase, how many more they need to achieve to receive their desired reward and when they need to use them by (in the case of expiry).

Lastly, to establish a strong, positive connection with your members, send them a well-timed email once they have claimed a reward. For the “thank you” email, the copy can simply thank the member for their claim with an “enjoy your reward” message.

These emails can also open up further communication between the member and yourself by asking them about their experience of the program and the reward. This can be done via a reply functionality within the email or through an online survey.

This photo shows the uses of social media within loyalty programs

3. Enhancing the power of social media

Social media is known to be used on a personal level, but it also allows businesses to create a community between themselves and their customers. Using social media for a loyalty program will allow you to engage with your customers, promote upcoming offers and answer any questions they may have relating to the program in an informal manner.

While social media can be used to launch the loyalty program, it is also a valuable asset to continue using to promote offers and rewards to keep your current members engaged. Though to receive cut-through on social media, you need to share and post memorable images and videos to garner a high engagement rate.

To build the program’s presence, a hashtag that is related to the overall concept should be included within each post. This allows you to track mentions from the audience and then analyse and uncover what social media channels are performing best with the audience.

You can also use social media platforms to build your loyalty program memberships. Facebook now allows businesses to integrate their website into the platform and include a sign-up page, allowing non-members to sign-up to the program without leaving the forum. You can also set-up social advertising to a targeted audience within platforms such as Facebook.

It is often said that social media is word of mouth on steroids. A well-planned program will provide your business with advocates. If these advocates are provided with an avenue to express their love for the loyalty program, it will attract new customers to the program and therefore your business.

Image showing off the use of digital marketing within a loyalty program

4. Be first to mind with digital advertising

Advertising across digital platforms is an effective way of gaining customer’s attention. To promote a loyalty program across digital, you can invest in digital marketing techniques across search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Across these channels, you can create and publish Pay Per Click advertising (PPC), display banner advertising and media buying.

PPC advertising allows you to advertise on search engines and pay a fee each time a consumer click on one of your ads, directing the searcher to your loyalty program’s website. To ensure placement, you need to bid for a relative keyword. For example, Incremental would be bidding on loyalty programs.

Display banner advertising allows you to market your services on numerous websites and apps through banners or other formats made from text, images or video. Display advertising allows you to create highly targeted campaigns, ensuring your messaging (which features a selected keyword) is being placed in front of the right target audience.

With this method, you can measure your results and optimise them where necessary to ensure the best results are achieved. Through display banner advertising, you can also perform remarketing campaigns to help increase engagement within the loyalty program.

There is also media buying, where you pay for advertising on a company’s website. Though, with this, you’re not able to target specific audiences and cannot conduct remarketing campaigns. Media buying spots are generally considered by businesses who are running campaigns that are aimed at a large and generic audience and who know the audience who visit that specific website.

Conclusion: It is always stressed that you need to know your target audience properly if you want any success in engaging them with your loyalty program. So, knowing who your members are on a personal basis – their name, age and interests – allows you to strategically promote your program and personalise the communication and rewards you have on offer while utilising digital platforms.

This is important because studies have found that younger consumers are likely to be open to engaging in a variety of different platforms, whereas consumers over 45 years have a distinct preference for email. These facts will alter the way you promote your loyalty program via digital whether it is across emails, social media or on the program’s website. You may only use one of these methods, or you may use all of these – digital marketing can work with all loyalty programs and can be altered to fit your needs.

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