Mission: Loyalty — Using Loyalty Program Promotion to Boost Adoption
Agent Jess Mizerak is on a mission to increase loyalty program adoption through several loyalty program promotion strategies.
It’s a great sign when a loyalty program has loads of members, right? Yes! Having high enrollment is an important goal in most loyalty programs. Some words of warning, however: achieving high adoption through loyalty program promotion doesn’t equal instant success. Once customers are enrolled you need to ensure that your program has everything they need to be active members, because engagement is where the real loyalty and behavior change begins.
Key Takeaways – TL; DR
- Choose between open or closed enrollment based on your goals
- Simplify the enrollment process — you can ask for data later
- Display the reward portfolio as early as possible
- Sometimes exclusivity is the most appealing benefit
- Make a good first impression in your welcome email
- Add a twist to your loyalty program with a referral system
Rewards and Loyalty Program Promotion Are the Foundations of High Adoption
Encouraging higher activity starts by ensuring that the perceived value of the membership is high. According to the For Love or Money 2022 study, the effort required to earn rewards and the effort-to-value ratio are the loyalty program members’ top two concerns. So effort is sure to be on customers’ minds when they consider joining new programs, too.
So here’s a tip to put you on the path to high adoption and engagement: consider creating a rewards catalog with a wide variety of rewards, some of which are lower-value but easy to reach. And then promote the program in a way that makes it clear that it’s EASY to earn more. In other words, flaunt your value to prospective members!
Hi everyone, Agent Jess – back again! Welcome to Mission Loyalty: your best connection for loyalty insights.
Unlike super-secret, extra-covert spy operations like this one, most loyalty programs are all about INCLUSIVITY. And that’s because most brands want to engage as many members as possible.
However, there are other cases, when access to the loyalty program is more limited, which makes it special and sought-after.
Either way, one of the most important KPIs a Loyalty manager can track in their own work is member count.
So, in this video, I’m here to help with your next mission: increase the adoption of your loyalty program. I will be sharing six ideas to help you grow this number.
Tip number one: Choose your enrollment style
Adoption starts with one important KPI: enrollment.
And just like spy recruitment, not all enrollment processes are equal. There is open and closed enrollment, and each have their own pros and cons.
Open enrollment is a type of registration unrestricted by paywalls or mandatory authentication.
Closed enrollment is a bit more “strings attached”. It requires extra steps in order to finalize the membership.
This exclusivity is often seen in programs that require a one-time or recurring fee, like Amazon Prime, or in order to authenticate the type of user in the system, like BMW’s loyalty program for corporate car drivers. Now in that program, drivers need to enter their license plate number to get in. And that’s a great way to keep it EXCLUSIVE, if you’re looking to serve the privileged few.
Now this might actually mean you’ll have FEWER members overall. But you’ll replace quantity with quality. Members that DO PAY are much more likely to be active members, because they’re going to make the most out of the membership they’ve purchased.
Tip number two! Make sure the sign-up process is nice and easy. The less time and info required from customers to sign up, the better.
Really just ask for the essentials and keep customers moving through the enrollment process. You can always get more information from customers later, by incentivizing profile completion or through surveys.
Tip number three! REWARDS programs are all about the rewards, no? So use them.
Sell your coolest, must-have rewards as benefits. Early access to the latest products? Exclusive Q&A session with the CEO? Maybe a private visit to the production plant? An online course on how to use your products? Makeup course for spies, 101. These are all great examples of rewards that go beyond expectations.
For example, in addition to its beauty rewards, Sephora offers experiences like spa facials or the opportunity to turn points into charitable donations.
They’ve even made twice-a-week rewards releases to create excitement… and many of the rewards run out super fast!
Tip four: use exclusivity as an asset.
Here is an example. One of our clients, LuisaViaRoma, the global luxury fashion retailer, has a special club for sneakers lovers. It’s called the LVR Sneakers Club.
Once you get in, you can buy limited sneaker releases that are usually gone before they ever make it to the shop floor. But getting into the club is not easy. You just need to sacrifice 1,000 points just to get in.
But this club is the reason many people signed up for the loyalty program to begin with.
This shows that if you can provide clear value – especially something that people really want – that will help you increase membership in the loyalty program.
And tip number five is to make customers feel welcome.
Ooooor welcome rewards or bonuses. This entices people to sign up and, if your welcome message really creates excitement, it will keep customers coming back.
So, highlight the benefits that are already available to new members and mention the cool rewards they can aspire to earn.
And now, tip number six: use a referral program.
Another great way to get more members is to use referral loyalty programs because people trust friends, family and the influencers they love more than regular advertisements. And that’s why a referral program is a super effective way to attract customers.
Focus on the social aspects of the program by rewarding members for friend referrals, for leaving product reviews, or for participating in social media contests.
Your top referrers or influencers will get access to exclusive perks in exchange for promoting the program using their unique referral code. Then just sit back and get ready to welcome all of your new members.
The For Love or Money 2022 research, run by Adam Posner, says members’ biggest concern about loyalty programs is the amount of effort required to earn rewards.
More than half of loyalty program members said this was among their top three concerns!
So here’s a tip: consider creating a rewards catalog with a wide variety of rewards, some of which are lower-value but easy to reach. And then some of which require a bit more effort. Then promote the program in a way that makes it clear that it’s EASY to earn more.
Thank you so much for watching today.
Eager to continue the investigation? You will find article suggestions in the description below, check them out for more tips on how to increase your program’s adoption.
And if you’re ready to learn more about Antavo’s Enterprise Loyalty Cloud, visit antavo.com to see our product videos and documentation, or to request a demo of our platform.
See you next time on Mission: Loyalty.
1. Choose Your Enrollment Style
Consider enrollment numbers a KPI from the very start — and plan accordingly. There are two types of enrollment: open and closed.
Open enrollment is a type of registration unrestricted by paywalls or mandatory authentication. The majority of retail loyalty programs feature open enrollment. During the registration process, you’ll be asked for personal information and unique contact information, such as an email address or phone number.
Closed enrollment, on the other hand, requires customers to take an extra step in order to finalize the membership. Those steps might be paying a subscription fee, or one-time fee, or — if the program requires that members meet some sort of criteria — by authenticating themselves.
Using closed enrollment will actually mean you’ll have lower loyalty program adoption, but you’ll be more focused on quality than quantity. Members that pay to join a program are more likely to be active, because they’ll want to make the most out of the membership they’ve purchased. If you base enrollment on authentication, however, you will ensure that you’re serving an exclusive group.
Let’s consider some examples of closed enrollment.
Amazon Prime: Closed Enrollment for Subscribers
Amazon Prime has a paywall, so customers must take the extra step to pay for membership in order to start receiving benefits like free shipping and entertainment content.
BMW’s Inside Edge: Closed Enrollment for Company Car Drivers
BMW’s loyalty program for corporate car drivers requires drivers to enter their license plate numbers to register. That’s a great way to keep your loyalty program exclusive, if you’re looking to serve a specific community or group of customers.
2. Make Registration Simple
Make sure your sign-up process is nice and easy. The less time and information customers need to enter, the better. When customers see a lot of form fields to fill in, they might give up mid-way.
As you plan your enrollment form, ask only for the essentials and keep customers moving through your process. You can always get more information from customers later, by incentivizing profile completion or through surveys.
Starbucks: Register Now, Ask Later
Starbucks asks for a limited amount of information from members who enroll in Starbucks Rewards. Later they ask for additional information, like customer birthdays.
Birthday rewards are an important component of the loyalty program, so why wait until after registration? First of all, asking for a date of birth later gives customers an easy way to engage and potentially be rewarded with a bonus. Secondly, it keeps the initial enrollment process nice and easy, so there’s no reason to back out.
3. Flaunt Those Rewards
They’re called rewards programs for a reason! Use your rewards to the maximum in your loyalty program promotion. Advertise your coolest, must-have rewards to encourage more customers to sign up for your loyalty program.
If you have rewards and benefits like early access to the latest products, exclusive one-on-one sessions with stylists or executives, unique experiences, or exclusive content, then congratulations — you already have rewards that go beyond customers’ expectations. Be sure to let prospective members know about them!
As mentioned above, according to Adam Posner’s For Love or Money 2022 report, loyalty program members are concerned about the amount of effort required to earn rewards. So, in addition to advertising your rewards to potential members — and current members — be sure that you have a range of rewards that are accessible to customers at varying levels of spend and engagement.
Sephora: The Queen of Rewards
Beauty retailer Sephora, in addition to its beauty product rewards, offers experiences like spa facials and the opportunity to turn points into charitable donations.
In addition to showing non-members the rewards they can receive by signing up, they’ve added excitement for current members. They have bi-weekly reward releases that create excitement. There’s so much excitement that some of the rewards go out of stock!
4. Exclusivity Is Your Best Asset
In addition to rewards, another reason people sign up for any kind of club is exclusivity. For many, getting access to members-only discounts or the chance to purchase a product before others is all the motivation they need to enroll into a membership program.
So, if you wish to boost the adoption for your loyalty program, make sure to add several exclusive benefits. They are very cost-effective too, as the only thing you need to take care of are users’ access privileges (in other words, who has access to what features). It’s also a great feature to promote… early access practically sells itself!
LuisaViaRoma: Exclusivity Is the Name of the Game
LuisaViaRoma, a global luxury fashion retailer, has a special club that allows subscribers to buy limited sneaker releases. Not only has the program encouraged new members to sign up for the wider loyalty program, the sneakers often sell out before they ever make it to the shop floor!
This shows that if you provide clear value – something that people really want – you will increase membership in your loyalty program.
5. Make Customers Feel Welcome
First impressions matter a lot. Some customers who enroll in your loyalty program won’t be fully committed. They just want a taste of what it means to be a member. The best way to convince them to stay and become active members is to surprise them with a great deal, right from the start.
An inspiring welcome email, accompanied with a valuable reward has a high chance of enticing customers to make their first purchase — or at least to stick around to learn more. However, sending welcome emails is a fairly common practice already, so you better make sure that both the message and the bonus are unique.
Kellogg’s: A Grrreat Welcome Experience!
Kellogg’s emphasizes the starpower of its brand mascots to add a unique flavor to its email communication. The company’s welcome message emphasizes fun, explains what the tokens are, and highlights the great rewards new members can earn in the program.
6. Spice Up with a Referral Program
Another great way to get more members on board is to create a referral program. People trust friends, family, and their favorite influencers more than regular advertisements. That’s why referral programs are an effective way to attract customers.
Focus on the social aspects of the program by rewarding members for friend referrals, for leaving product reviews, or for participating in social media contests. And give your top referrers or influencers (brand ambassadors) access to exclusive perks in exchange for promoting the program using their unique referral code. Then, get ready to welcome all of your new members.
BrewDog: Friends With Good Taste
You don’t need influencers to get the job done. Having passionate customers is quite enough, as BrewDog knows. Their Planet BrewDog rewards program includes a “Top Dog” badge referral program, which rewards members for sharing a referral link and making an order. They take it an extra step and offer the “Fair Share” badge for members who place an order for a friend!
Boosting Your Loyalty Program’s Adoption Rate Isn’t Rocket Science
… but it isn’t easy either. It all depends whether you have a solid strategy in place. If you build your loyalty program with great rewards, a fun welcome journey, and a seamless enrollment process, customers will surely be happy to join.
If you wish to discuss loyalty program promotion strategies, rewards or other features that are proven to boost loyalty program adoption (like gamification), our experts at Antavo would be more than happy to start a discussion. Simply book a demo to receive a presentation of our technology, or send us your RFP.
Also, don’t forget to download Antavo’s Customer Loyalty Report, an in-depth report that showcases dozens of statistics on loyalty program usage and strategy, as well as future industry trends. This report will help you navigate the world of next-gen loyalty programs.
Jess is a Loyalty Program Analyst and a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional - CLMP, helping companies learn more about customer retention strategies, so they can launch successful loyalty programs. She has been writing about loyalty since 2016. Jess also enjoys ballet, travel, learning languages, and carrying out secret missions for loyalty intel.