Email marketing is still considered a powerful driver of customer engagement and lead nurturing by the majority of companies. Loyalty programs of every shape and size can benefit from utilizing a strong email strategy not only to acquire new customers, but to stay connected and engaged with with their existing members. For transit agencies especially, staying connected to members while encouraging them to actively use the loyalty program is key to building their long-term customer loyalty. Active loyalty program members provide more useful data, are typically more frequent riders, and are more likely to become brand advocates for their family and friends.
If you’re a transit agency looking for ideas to drive rider engagement and loyalty through email, here are a few email types you can send to get started.
Email Idea 1: Help New Members Explore Benefits
Even after customers that have already enrolled in your loyalty program, the journey doesn’t stop there. You should continue reaching out and engaging with your program members to make sure they continue participating in the program. Active engagement is key to loyalty program success.
One of the best ways to help members stay active and engaged is to make sure they know all the different program perks and benefits. For example, most participants probably understand that they make a purchase or activity and get points, which they can later redeem for a reward. But they might not be aware of other program benefits, such as free product samples or discounts with partner merchants. They also might not be aware of other ways they could earn points, such as completing challenges or participating in feedback surveys.
You can send periodic emails that introduce members to their benefits and also send emails updates if and when new perks are added to your loyalty program. Once you collect member data you can also send more targeted reminder emails that specifically identify member benefits that a particular rider isn’t using. This can help your program members get the full value from your loyalty program.
Email Idea 2: Send Rider Summaries or Usage Recaps
Another way to stay in touch is to send regular rider summary or usage recap emails. Payment vendor Venmo is a great example - at the beginning of each month the financial organization sends it's members a recap email with all their Venmo transactions they completed in the previous month. If a member did not have any transactions for a month, then that user will at least receive quarterly emails containing all their activity.
Transit agencies can do the same things for their users by sending out recap summaries of ticket redemptions, total miles ridden, challenges or missions completed, and more. This benefits transit riders by helping their track their activity, which helps them feel more in control and included in their program membership. These types of usage summaries also helps them keep program participation momentum going because they see reminders of their past mileage earnings and visualize progress made towards new earnings goals or rewards.
Email Idea 3: Help Riders Plan Travel
One way you can ensure your loyalty program is benefiting members is by helping them plan their future travel. To do so, you can send them emails that update them on travel-related topics; you can let them know when they’re approaching enough points for a free ride or when a favorite merchant partner is running a ride special. Another tactic is alerting them to specific earning opportunities for bonus points, such as changing when they travel. Alleviating rider congestion around peak travel times is a common goal in the transit industry, and incentives are a proven way to help achieve rider congestion goals. You can send emails or push alerts to loyalty members letting them know that they can earn bonus points for taking transit during off-peak hours for a specific day, week, or other combination of times/days. By doing so in advance, you can help them coordinate their travel plans better and make their travel experience smoother on their end.
Email Idea 4: Promote Interactive Games Or Engagement Opportunities
Interactive games are a great way to drive customer engagement and participation without requiring a purchase. 40% of Millennials believe that loyalty programs should offer points and especially among Gen Z individuals, games are a preferred way of earning loyalty points. Hosting promotions such as scavenger hunts, photo contests, or sweepstakes can help your loyalty program members stay active and engaged with the program at all times - both when they’re taking transit and not.
You should send emails or SMS notifications to program members when new promotions are launched, letting them know how to participate and what prizes or rewards they can receive in return. You can also create static pages and banner ads with your web and mobile versions of your loyalty program to promote different game or promotion opportunities for your members.
Email Idea 5: Send Recognition
Recognition and appreciation are part of the foundation of a building true customer loyalty. As such, loyalty programs should make customer and member recognition a key part of their ongoing messaging and communications. One way transit agencies can show appreciation is by sending out celebratory emails that recognize specific rider achievements, such when a member reaches a specific number of miles traveled or when they visit a certain number of stations or destinations. You can even send out celebratory emails that celebrate an organizational goal, such as hitting a number of program enrollees or a milestone on a carbon footprint reducing tracker. The key is to make the celebration include both the rider and the transit agency, because both parties rely on the other one for support when reaching these milestones.
If you're looking to drive loyalty program engagement for your brand, reach out to us today!