Drive Your Customer Loyalty Program with Automated Campaigns

July 13, 2021 | 6 minute read
Kunjisha Ahuja
Senior Product Manager, CrowdTwist, Oracle Marketing Cloud
Text Size 100%:

Email subscribers have their own lifecycle separate from the overall customer lifecycle. And loyalty program members do too. Once members are acquired and onboarded, a successful loyalty program continuously engages and re-engages.

Automated email, SMS, direct mail, and other marketing campaigns play a key role in engaging loyalty members at each stage of the customer lifecycle to maximize loyalty program performance. Let’s look at how automated marketing campaigns can help.

Onboarding

The onboarding stage of your loyalty program is critical. To increase adoption, customers must clearly understand how the program works, including how they accrue and redeem points, as well as any limitations.

Automated campaign messages can help companies share this information effectively. Here are a few you can use during the onboarding process:

  • Loyalty program onboarding messages. Similar to a welcome email campaign, this message confirms a successful signup for a loyalty program, reinforces the benefits, and encourages new members to take next steps. This can be a single welcome message or a welcome series that showcases a key benefit in each message over multiple touchpoints.
  • “Verify your account” request. Loyalty program registration typically requires members to verify their email addresses before gaining access to key components. While this is usually simultaneous with online registration, there can be a delay in the verification step when members sign up for the program at a physical location. This triggered message—which benefits from design and messaging best practices for double opt-in confirmation emails—can be sent multiple times if members don’t immediately respond.
  • Early engagement messages. Triggered to early engagers of your loyalty program, these messages urge and incentivize members to complete their profile, indicate their preferences, and take other actions that allow you to better cater to their interests.

The overarching goal in this stage is to help new members understand the program and get them excited to participate. What are some of the signs that your onboarding messages may be falling short?

  1. A surplus of customer service queries about how your loyalty program works or how a member can earn or redeem benefits in the program indicates that your onboarding messaging isn’t clear enough.
  2. A high "one-and-done" rate—the percentage of total members who have used your program only once—can be a sign of loyalty member confusion. While what’s considered a “good” one-and-done rate differs by industry, program structure, purchase cycle, marketing, and other factors, you can monitor this metric to see that it trends downward over time.

If you notice these warning signs, review your automated messages to simplify and clarify the content. Incorporate more action-oriented language so new members know what to do next.

Engagement

Loyalty members need regular encouragement to take advantage of program benefits, and automated campaigns can serve a vital role in driving that engagement and increasing activity.

Here are five potential automated messages that can spur engagement and spend:

  1. “Loyalty level unlocked” notifications congratulate program members on attaining the next level of your loyalty program and describe the new benefits they now have access to. They also remind members about the benefits they’ve previously unlocked.
  2. “You’re so close” notifications inform program members that they’re X points, purchases, or dollars away from unlocking the next level of your loyalty program. These messages usually spur action by highlighting the benefits they’ll receive when they reach the next level.
  3. “Spend your loyalty points” messages encourage using accrued points by suggesting items, experiences, or other rewards a member would value or that are popular among program members at large.
  4. Post-redemption messaging thanks program members for redeeming rewards and lets them know how they can replentish their balance.
  5. Automatic rewards can drive members to log back into their account to view a reward they’ve received that celebrates reaching milestones, like a birthday, member anniversary, or program anniversary.

While more frequent purchases are absolutely a goal for most loyalty programs and the aim of many automated emails above, you can have a highly successful program that instead focuses on driving engagement.

For instance, some Oracle CrowdTwist clients sell products that members only need to buy every couple years.

How do they engage their members so well? They frequently create relevant, timely content that ties back to brand objectives. That content takes the form of in-store events, sweepstakes, surprises, surveys, quizzes, and polls. And it has not only proven to maintain customer loyalty throughout the long purchase cycle, but it also creates advocates that help increase the brand’s reach and grow its customer base.

Re-engagement

A smart loyalty strategy also includes how to handle lapses in member activity, and automated re-engagement campaigns are central to this effort. They warn members when their points or benefits are at risk and explain how to retain the value they’ve acquired.

Four potential triggered campaigns that can spark re-engagement include:

  1. Loyalty program re-engagement campaign. Signaled by a lack of loyalty program logins or dashboard visits, this message encourages a program member to log in or visit their loyalty dashboard for additional points or other incentives.
  2. “Claim your loyalty reward” message. Triggered by an unclaimed or unused loyalty reward after X days of being issued, this message encourages a program member to claim their reward or use it toward a purchase.
  3. Loyalty points or reward expiring alert. This message tells a program member their loyalty points, miles, or other currency will expire soon and encourages them to claim or use them.
  4. Loyalty tier or benefits at risk alert. This message notifies a program member that they need to take certain actions by a particular date to maintain their current loyalty level.

Even with a clear onboarding series and a variety of ways to engage your base, some of your members might be quiet. This is where automated loyalty re-engagement campaigns can shine: by nudging lapsing members to take action.

Analyze to Improve Engagement

Some disengagement over time is normal. However, if you’re seeing increasing disinterest across your program, that’s a red flag. Program-wide changes are likely required if you’re seeing:

  • A significant increase in your one-and-done rate
  • A decline in completions of point-earning opportunities
  • Fewer members reaching your top tiers
  • Stagnant redemption rates

Try to identify the root cause of any downward-trending metrics. For instance, let's say your redemption rate is low. There could be several potential causes, each with their own remedies. You might ask yourself these four questions:

  1. Are rewards priced too high? Consider lowering them or creating events where redemption prices are lowered temporarily to create urgency.
  2. Do members not have enough points? You might adjust how members earn points or run campaigns where members earn extra points, or even double or triple points.
  3. Do the rewards members want something that’s not available? Potentially, you can shift the rewards offered or hold events where more popular products or services are available as rewards for a limited time to drive action.
  4. Are members unaware of their point balance? Consider using live content to add a rewards dashboard to your emails. This will keep point balances front and center. Or send a monthly update reminding members of their balance and current rewards, especially if you change the available rewards regularly.

Companies can apply their findings to make loyalty program updates that entice and engage customers. In addition to making broad-based adjustments, personalizing the member experience can catalyze engagement. Not every member is the same, and customizing the loyalty experience with point-earning opportunities and rewards that speak to them as individuals can help set the foundation for long-term engagement.

Want more ideas for how to use automated campaigns to drive business success? Check out Automated Campaign Ideas to Explore, a checklist of more than 110 triggered campaigns alongside automation advice from some of our more than 500 digital marketing consultants.

Need help with your loyalty efforts? Oracle CrowdTwist is the leading loyalty platform, and Oracle Marketing Consulting has more than 500 leading marketing minds ready to help you achieve your loyalty marketing goals.

Learn more about Oracle CrowdTwist, or reach out to Oracle Marketing Consulting at CXMconsulting_ww@oracle.com

Kunjisha Ahuja

Senior Product Manager, CrowdTwist, Oracle Marketing Cloud

Kunjisha Ahuja is a Senior Product Manager for CrowdTwist within the Oracle Marketing Cloud. Her loyalty marketing background includes five years of client strategy consulting and marketing analytics. Her experience enables her to bring a data-driven mindset in delivering strategy and providing value for loyalty marketing initiatives.


Previous Post

The Advantages of Gender-Neutral Marketing

Monica McClure | 3 min read

Next Post


Join our Virtual Summit: How Customer-Obsessed Marketers Succeed with Personalization

Mia McPherson | 2 min read