COVID-19 uprooted a lot of lifestyles across every type of customer base. Travel, social interaction, and shopping habits were the biggest affected areas. Depending on your brand and industry, you probably saw changes in loyalty program activity as well.
While the drop in purchase rates means businesses and marketers need to get more targeted and savvy when selling, drops in loyalty program engagement levels is also a concern. Consistent, on-going loyalty program engagement plays a major role for keeping the relationship between customer and brand alive. If you're looking for ideas to ramp up customer participation in your loyalty program, here are a few ideas:
Social Media Activities
User generated content is a major driver for brand awareness as most marketers well know. There are several loyalty program member communities that got their start on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others. Thanks to new loyalty program tools, you can create social media campaigns and let loyalty members earn points for participating, such as posting to a specific hashtag or in a comment. You can also give members the open to link their social media handles to their membership profile as a way of earning points and to make it easier to participate in future promotions down the line.
People began exploring different ways to use their downtime as their goals and plans changed for 2020, and companies are no different. This is a great opportunity to take a step back and look at ways to optimize your loyalty program.
Customer surveys are extremely beneficial to have during this process. Your customers are the heart and soul of your loyalty program, so it’s important to understand their likes and dislikes, what they wish your program offered, and if they want more specific types of features or promotions. You can get this information by creating and distributing customer surveys.
If you're worried about getting customers to participate in surveys, you can sweeten the deal by offering customers an incentive for doing so. Points is always a good option, but you can also get creative: maybe a discount coupon, or an exclusive offer for a free product or sample with their next purchase.
Interacting With Digital Content
When COVID-19 caused businesses, offices, and event spaces to shut their doors, the number of online webinars, video conferences, livestream concerts, and online learning courses shot up as people began exploring different ways of filling their time and socializing while still remaining socially distant. Businesses also took the opportunity to continue engaging with customers directly by launching new blogs, video series, digital games, or educational content on their brand sites.
To keep your loyalty members engaged and spread awareness about new brand content, you could offer small bonus points for interacting with your digital content. For example, loyalty members could receive a bonus for finishing a new 5-video series, attending a webinar, or completing games or quizzes on your site.
Completing Member Profiles
Customer data is extremely valuable for personalizing your marketing and offers. But acquiring good, usable data can be difficult. This is why loyalty programs are a vital part of any commerce business. They enable you to get first-party customer data directly from the source and you don't have to be creepy about it.
Here’s where loyalty member profiles come into play. Member profiles are great opportunities for you to find out more information on your customers beyond just their names and addresses; you can also have sections where customers indicate their favorite products, reward types, birthdays, wishlists, and more. Research shows that most customers are ok with submitting their information if it means they can get more relevant offers and content, so determine what would be most beneficial to include on your loyalty member profiles.
Quick Tip: While you should refrain from requiring your customer fill out every aspect of their member profile when first they sign up (this can be a major barrier to entry), you can still get that valuable member data by giving them point incentives to complete their profiles post-enrollment.
Participating In Digital Promotions
Everyone loves winning a free prize. Digital promotions, such as sweepstakes, instant wins, giveaways, and photo or video contests, are a fun way to get your loyalty member bases active and engaged. Not only do they allow for widespread customer participation, they allow brands to get creative with their marketing, to celebrate special events or holidays, to drive excitement over new product launches, and more. In addition to winner prizes, you can also let members earn different kinds of points and rewards for participating depending on what kind of promotion you run.
Trying A New Service
In 2020 businesses revamped their processes and rolled out all kinds of new features and services in response to the pandemic. Contactless pick-up and delivery, buy online and pick up in store, and other similar offerings were seen in almost every industry. If your brand also began providing new services, you can give loyalty members bonus points for trying them. You could offer double points for first-time uses or a small point bonus for every transaction. You could even make it a “surprise and delight” and give customers extra points or rewards just because you saw they took advantage of your new service without prompting.
Supporting Partners Or Vendors
One core theme that arose during 2020 was the collective message of “We’re all in this together. We support you.” One way this showed was the number of businesses partnerships that emerged as a result of the pandemic. If your business partners with other brands or companies, you could encourage your customers to support them by doing bonus point promotions featuring specific vendors or distributors. Double-points for buying products from a vendor or purchasing from a product collaboration is another idea. Not only does this support you and your partners' business, but it demonstrates to your customer base that you value the people you're connected to and not only looking out for yourself, which is critical. Forrester found that over 60% of US and European consumers regularly purchase with companies that align with their personal values, and that number is growing. Consumers are still paying attention to how brands act in the wake of COVID-19, so taking the time to support your partners is a worthwhile step.
Putting It All Together
You might have noticed that several of the above points included rewards or points as incentives. This is because incentives are proven to motivate customer actions and behaviors. At the same time, you should be cautious about not going overboard when distributing free points. Too much of a good thing can lead to financial trouble later on; engagement tactics should work to support your loyalty program and brand, not give you more problems to solve. Looping in your brand and finance teams can help you strike a fine balance between offering customer incentives they like and keeping your program from loosing revenue.
If you're looking for ways to continue driving customer engagement in your loyalty program or others ideas on how to optimize your loyalty program performance, get in touch with us today!