6 must-haves for program success

Reward, retain and boost revenue

Prizes for salespeople, point systems for vendors, discounts and incentives and constant emails – in a world where every business seems to have a loyalty program, it can be hard to cut through the clutter.

But despite the competition, a well-designed loyalty program can be a surprisingly effective way to drive engagement with your brand. Reward programs not only foster loyalty, but they can also help you understand your audience and tailor future incentives to suit them. It’s a positive feedback loop that can keep clients coming back – and boost your returns as a result.

Sounds like a win-win? Here are six must-have ingredients to make sure your engagement program stands out from the crowd.

1. Get to know your audience 

Different rewards work for different people. Some are driven by everyday discounts, some by intermittent rewards, others by accruing points over time. Zeroing in on your audience helps you work out what motivates them, and which mechanisms are most likely to drive engagement.

2. Keep is super simple (KISS)

When your audience is busy and time-poor, simplicity is essential. Check for ease-of-use in every part of your program – can they immediately grasp how rewards and benefits are earned and calculated? Is it easy to redeem rewards once they’re earned? Is the registration process straightforward? Are all communications clear and simple? Can your reps explain the ins and outs in one or two sentences?

3. Link to a deep purpose

Matching donations, letting customers donate points, spreading awareness through email updates – there are different ways to link your CSR (corporate social responsibility) work to your rewards program. This can amplify your chosen cause and build loyalty at the same time – research shows that 2/3 of customers are more likely to spend with a brand that takes a stance on important social issues. 

4. Appeal to human nature 

The human brain responds to instant rewards and novelty value, as well as anticipation and long-term achievement. Understanding those drivers helps you build an effective engagement program with a mix of rewards. Deliver instant gratification when people join, coupled with larger rewards for long-term effort – and change your program to keep things fresh for your loyal clients.

5. Create an exclusive club

Your loyalty program should feel like a VIP club where members get access to special perks – otherwise, what’s the point of joining? But exclusive shouldn’t mean inaccessible. Make sure your program is easy for anyone to join – a complicated sign-up process or confusing membership criteria will put people off.

6. Create emotional connections 

The best loyalty programs aren’t transactional – at least, they don’t feel that way to the client. Making it feel personal is key, and digital loyalty platforms make it simple. Start with a personalised welcome email explaining how the program works and how they’ll benefit. Then plan small, unexpected rewards that appear over and above the standard benefits – extra points or a bonus team prize, for example. These seemingly random acts of generosity are exceptionally powerful for building connections.

Engagement is worth the effort

In a cluttered marketplace, creating real engagement isn’t easy – but it’s well worth the effort. Get it right, and both you and your clients will reap the rewards.

Chat to Hachiko today and start creating meaningful engagements with your channel.

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