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Loyalty Programs

How Do I Encourage More Participation in my Loyalty Program?

Written by 
Brad Davis
January 26, 2021

Congratulations on creating a loyalty program for your business! Now you’re left wondering, “How do I encourage more participation in my loyalty program?”

As every marketer or business owner quickly finds out, customer retention isn’t as simple as creating a rewards program and watching the sales soar. However, by embracing a few tried-and-tested loyalty techniques, you can encourage engagement and thus strengthen brand loyalty among your highest-spending customers.

From global giants like Starbucks and Sephora to your local bakery and the independent hair salon down the street; there are some key strategies to loyalty program engagement that apply to every business under the sun.

So… what are they?

Embrace the power of FOMO

The power of FOMO
The power of FOMO

The “Fear Of Missing Out” – it’s a condition that many of us are inflicted with. And in the case of loyalty programs, it only takes a few strategic VIP perks and benefits to instil a heavy sense of FOMO in everyone on the outside.

Think of every time you have sat at an airport boarding gate, watching the First Class passengers be ushered through the crowd and straight onto the plane, where they are offered snacks and champagne while they wait for everyone else to board.

These perks don’t just exist as a way to offer VIP members the special treatment. They are also designed to create a craving for this special treatment among non-members.

Whether you own a suburban yoga studio, a nationwide chain of furniture stores or a global clothing brand; there are sure to be a whole host of ways in which you can leverage your rewards program to inspire FOMO.

Here are just a few perks that Stamp Me has found to be very effective among our clients and their customers:

  • Skip-the-queue benefits, via in-app ordering
  • Tailored rewards for a more personalized experience
  • Experiential rewards (such as invitations to product launches, workshops and other industry events)
  • Surprise & Delight rewards such as birthday gifts, loyalty program signup anniversary rewards, and other milestones
  • Free shipping for loyalty program members*

*This is considered the premier loyalty perk across generations, according to CrowdTwist.

Of course, gamifying the customer’s loyalty experience is always a surefire way to get existing customers talking to their friends about your business as well.

From menu challenges and Tinder-style “swipe” functions, to a witty robot who keeps you updated on the cooking and delivery of your pizza in perhaps the most humorous way possible – gamification has become an essential component of customer loyalty.

Incentivize signups, and make it easy

A man pointing at a sign that says It's easy
Make signing up easy and incentivized

It’s one thing to tell customers, “Buy 10 X & Get Y Free”. This rewards structure requires a considerable commitment from the customer before the business needs to do anything in return.

However, give customers a reward just for joining your loyalty program, and you’re immediately establishing that this relationship is a two-way street. The business is investing in the customer, and vice-versa –it’s a partnership, rather than a sale.

Just a small reward will do – a percentage discount on today’s purchase, or free shipping, for example.

This shows that you value their business, and that you’d like to see them again. Instead of dangling the reward in front of them for X visits before they can redeem, you are giving them a reward outright.

Not only do upfront rewards build trust from the get-go, but a convenient signup process clearly conveys the simplicity and ease of your brand experience. No tedious signup forms, delayed responses and unnecessary amount of personal information… keep it simple, get them signed up quick, and give them their reward immediately.

Remember,a customer’s loyalty program registration is only Step 1 towards winning their loyalty... So make sure your brand-customer relationship gets off to a positive start.

This change of mindset from transactions to relationships is vital for marketers or business owners who are wondering, “How do I encourage more participation in my loyalty program?”

Show customers their loyalty status, and remind them of their rewards progress

Loyalty status on a loyalty app
A member's loyalty status on a loyalty app

In a way, you could look at this as an extension of the gamification approach I touched on earlier. By showing customers that they’re only two visits away from a free slice of cake, or that they’ve made 36% more progress towards their next reward in just a single week, for example, you keep them motivated and engaged.

If you’re really serious about retaining customers, you’ll even tell them how they can fast-track their progress to this next reward:

“Hey Mike, use your loyalty points to grab a free side next time you’re in, or buy two more coffees and you’ll have enough points for an entire free meal!”

The more ways in which customers can engage your brand, the better

people and their different interactions with different aspects of life
Multiple ways for customers to engage with your brand

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make sure your loyalty program extends beyond the realm of transactions. By that I mean, customers should be able to earn points and redeem rewards through your program without necessarily purchasing anything.

I know this may sound counterintuitive, but why stick to just incentivizing customers to spend more, when you can also incentivize them to refer their friends, promote your brand online, and contribute to the future refinement and streamlining of your business model?

There are huge benefits to rewarding your customers for creating their own content around your brand in the form of video tutorials, blog reviews, instructional guides and so on. Similarly, referral rewards are an invaluable method for rapidly expanding your customer base.

Rewarding customers for feedback shows that you value their input, and that you want them to have a say in the future of your business. This can do wonders for establishing brand trust, which is really what customer loyalty is all about.

How do I encourage more participation in my loyalty program? ...With a digital loyalty app

screenshot of sephora digital loyalty program
An example of a loyalty app - Sephora

Digital loyalty apps are a convenient and cost-effective way for businesses to not just retain more customers, but actually keep them actively engaged.

From signup incentives and tailored rewards, to surprise and delight functions and gamified features, digital loyalty apps can easily facilitate many of the ingredients to increased engagement and participation mentioned above.

As an example, businesses that subscribe to Stamp Me can offer their customers a convenient digital loyalty app for easy points accrual and reward redemption (whether shopping in person or online), Birthday Rewards, signup incentives, gamified functions like Scratch & Win and countless other benefits.

For more information regarding how Stamp Me Loyalty Solutions can help your business retain more customers and build brand loyalty, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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