The cost of acquiring a new customer can range from five to seven times the expense of keeping an existing one. However, an estimated 44% of brands focus on acquisition rather than retention. Acquisition strategies often include investment in expensive advertising, marketing materials, events, and social and email marketing.
Perhaps one of the reasons retailers focus on acquisition is that it seems like an effective indication of growth and provides a quick-win for a commission-based in-store staff. In contrast, retention requires ongoing relationship nurturing and a longer-term view of customer lifetime value.
In reality, successful brands need to establish both effective acquisition and retention strategies. Loyalty customers are the answer. Brands investing in customer loyalty can help drive engagement and retention and attract new customers simply by designing a program that rewards existing customers and appeals to new ones.
Let’s take a look at some of the tactics brands can use when strategizing their loyalty marketing initiatives.
Encourage your customers to learn more about your brand by incentivizing them to watch videos or read blog posts. The more useful or insightful the content is, the greater brand affinity it will build. This strategy can help promote new product offerings or help position your brand as an expert. It can even serve to educate your customers during the buying process. For example, beauty consumers are turning to user-generated content before they make buying decisions. Beauty brands should encourage and leverage content like video tutorials, selfies, and online reviews for a competitive advantage.
When customers feel heard, they feel valued. Reviews not only help you educate new customers about your brand, but let you hear directly from your core users. Good reviews help boost your brand’s profile and win the attention from new customers. ASUS encourages its best customers to write product reviews as a point earning activity their ROG Elite Rewards program.
Surprise & delight is an effective tactic to employ as part of your loyalty initiative. It can spark new activity from inactive customers, or help devoted customers celebrate milestones and special occasions to make them feel even more connected to your brand. For example, Dunkin’ Donuts’ loyalty program, DD Perks, rewards members with a free, any-size beverage to enjoy during the month of their birthday. Surprising customers with an unexpected gift or a perk has the potential to turn them into lifelong loyal advocates. These advocates are more likely to recommend a brand to friends and family.
Customers expect special treatment in exchange for their loyalty. From elite status to VIP events and unique experiences, it’s essential to offer one-of-a-kind rewards and experiences that make members feel special, valued, and appreciated. Brands can achieve this by inviting loyalty program members to exclusive member-only events and rewards and by providing them with early access to sales. For example, Budweiser’s loyalty program, Budweiser Rewards, offers members the chance to win once-in-a-lifetime sports and music experiences by redeeming points for participation in sweepstakes. Perks like this help set your brand apart from the competition and attract new customers.
Brands need to be omnipresent, connecting customers to the brand across all touchpoints. For example, Zumiez’ loyalty program, The Zumiez Stash, provides members with the opportunity to earn points for activities across every channel including in-store or online purchases, social media interactions, and live events, and redeem them for exclusive rewards and one-of-a-kind experiences. This approach goes beyond one-dimensional discounts, offering deeply personal and authentic customer experiences that will yield stronger engagement and higher spend among customers.
Incentivizing customers for their referrals encourages word-of-the-mouth marketing, which is a great tactic for promoting your brand. Referral bonuses have the potential to bring in more customers at a fraction of the cost, making it a win-win for the brand and for the customer! For example, Sleep Number’s loyalty program incentivizes members to refer friends and family. For sharing a referral link they are given points, and for each successful referral they are credited with $100. After 10 successful referrals, Insiders receive an additional $799!
By incorporating and rewarding for both spend and engagement activities as part of a loyalty program, you can collect more information on your current customers and use this insight to drive personalized experiences and relevant communications and promotions. Brands can also use this insight to understand how best to market to prospective customers by creating look-a-like segments, creating marketing experiences that resonate with both existing and prospective customers.
Track your results and see where the data leads you in regards to tweaking, revising, and optimizing your marketing. Find out how to “Go Further with Digital Analytics.”
Learn how to invest in your customer loyalty program today.
Emily Rudin is a Senior Director, Loyalty Sales for Oracle.