Today's customers know loyalty programs entice them into spending more. So how do you create a reward program that builds lasting relationships with clients while increasing sales and repeat business? You can even sell more courses online with a well-designed customer loyalty program. Here's how.
You know this. Creating an emotional connection between your brand and your customers is crucial to loyalty. That applies whether you are running a boutique fashion store, selling training online, or sharing memes with your followers on social media.
Yet, customers, today know that most loyalty programs are out to get them to spend more.
By delivering significant value, your loyalty program can help this cautious customer fall in love all over again with your brand.
This quick guide will help you learn how to create a customer loyalty program that doesn't suck.
Now, you probably already know what a customer loyalty program is and why it is crucial, so you're seeking to build one.
But is a loyalty reward program right for every business?
Is a Loyalty Program Right for Your Business?
Every business can design and use a customer loyalty program. Some 63% of high-performing marketers in a State of Marketing report said loyalty programs work.
Yet here’s the kicker. Each business needs to develop a loyalty program that reflects the aspirations, values, and needs of particular customer segment(s) for it to be effective.
The types of rewards you offer and how well you provide memorable multi-channel customer service will play a role in creating one as well.
We'll explain how later on — after we see why rewarding loyal customers is beneficial for you and not just another expense.
Why is Customer Loyalty Important?
Customer loyalty reduces churn, which lowers new customer acquisition costs for a company. They also buy more from a company they trust than any other.
Moreover, loyal customers deliver more lifetime value than you spent nurturing their loyalty.
But that’s not all.
- It is 5X to 25X more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one.
- Positive client relationships encourage referrals, can increase brand growth by 3900% in 15 months, and boost your sales year over year.
- According to Yopto's 2021 State of Brand Loyalty report, 67.6% of customers would join a loyalty program for a brand they like, and 56% would spend more even if there are cheaper alternatives.
- Your loyal customers are also likely to stick with your brand year after year –- even during a pandemic.
Also, remember that the Pareto Principle states that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers, loyal customers.
One more thing. Studies have shown that rewarding regular customers help build, nurture, and keep their loyalty. But how do you start a successful loyalty program?
How To Create a Customer Loyalty Program Step-by-Step
Here are six practical steps for building a loyalty program that fosters repeat business and nourishes happy customers.
1. Court Your learner
Courting begins long before a first date. Thoughtful secret admirers spend time learning about their crush, finding out what they like, care about, and why - to engage them in a meaningful way - without being creepy, of course.
Likewise, becoming customer-centric can earn you customer loyalty and turn your business around.
So initially gather the necessary data to get a clearer picture of what makes your customers tick — so that you can serve more personalized service better than their soon-to-be ex-vendor.
For instance, a recent Edelman Earned Brand study found that 64% of respondents said they would buy or boycott a brand based on its stand on social issues.
You want to be on the friendly side of that fire, which requires collecting customer interaction data at every touchpoint so you can align with your customers' aspirations.
Examples of data to collect include:
- Buying frequency
- When they buy from you (holidays, promotions, etc.)
- What they buy
- How they interact with your website
- How they use your mobile app
- If they subscribe to your discount alert emails
- Invite a friend to your business.
Then, decide what reward you will give.
2. Decide What Distinctive Reward To Give
Your reward program should make sense for your business and provide incentives to your learners. The most popular types of rewards are:
- Free shipping
- Redeemable points
Still not sure where to begin?
Simply use survey/poll tools like Survey Monkey and Google Forms to ask customers what they want from a rewards program. Consider it yet another chance for you to learn your customers' values, aspirations, and true needs in their own words.
Though we live in the digital era, don’t underestimate the importance of direct mail. Send discount coupons, personalized gift cards, product order forms, and other printed materials to your customers through direct mail. Yes, printed materials still work.
Beware, though, that printing those materials can be costly sometimes, so make sure you check alternative suppliers for printing supplies (don’t immediately go to big box stores, shop around instead).
3. Pick the Right Rewards Program for Your Customers and Business
Perhaps you are into beauty products, selling online training, or distributing software. In any case, there are several customer loyalty programs you can implement right away.
Point-based rewards: Allow customers to qualify for points when they complete specific actions. A few examples include purchasing a product, referring a friend, or logging into your app more frequently.
TIP: Make sure your points system shows clearly how many points a customer earns, the redemption threshold, and the rewards they can redeem.
- Rank-based reward program: Provide customers with different benefits depending on their rank. The ranking may depend on how often the customer has purchased from you, for how long, and other engagement indicators.
1. Boost Customer Service at All Touchpoints — Not Just After the Sale
Would you believe that one bad customer service experience could turn a potential customer away for good? According to a 2020 customer amazement study, 96% of respondents said they would leave you for bad service.
Now here's something else.
Loyalty begins way before a customer taps the "Buy Now" button. It can also happen anywhere, from a YouTube comment section to a tradeshow chat. So how do you deliver exceptional customer service in your omnichannel strategy?
- Prepare your staff to offer it at all customer touchpoints
- Start a community that enables customers to share recommendations, hacks, and success stories. Hence, they feel like a part of an active, connected crowd they look forward to engaging with daily.
- Engage customers in a campaign for a higher cause
- Share customer testimonials in their own words
You can also share how you dealt with a negative customer experience in a short and sweet social media post or a snackable blog post.
2. Take Advantage of AI and Automation Tools To Boost Customer Loyalty
Creating an effective loyalty program for customers can be as easy as using an easy-to-use but powerful platform. For example, Smile, YotPo, and LoyaltyLion empower businesses to create reward programs from scratch based on tiers, points, and referrals.
Now picture this.
Nuance Enterprise reported that 67% of customers prefer self-service over reaching out to a customer representative. Customers will remain loyal to you if you provide the answers they want.
A helpful example would be to use customer communication platforms that utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to enable smarter, easier, and omnichannel live chat, video chats, and co-browsing.
You can also offer a knowledge base, FAQ section, or How-to videos on your site. You can use these help center resources whether you run an eCommerce business, sell training courses online, or operate an offline juice bar with a digital presence.
3. Monitor, Measure, and Improve
Retaining regular students is an ongoing effort. It requires that you regularly use an engaging student feedback and buyer feedback form to gather helpful feedback. Review the feedback. You can then use the actionable insight to build engaging and fulfilling ways to serve your learners.
Although customers love a consistent brand, they appreciate it more when businesses deliver familiar products and services with a creative twist. This is especially important if you primarily serve millennials.
And did you know Millennial customers care more about a company’s values than price?
The 2021 Mullen Lowe report also found that Millennials are also likely to remain loyal to businesses engaged in local issues since they believe companies can affect long-lasting change better than governments.
Where do you find such insights, or how do you determine if they are effective?
Almost all loyalty program software offers tools for tracking the success of your customer loyalty program ideas.
You can also use a variety of internet tools to build your own reporting infrastructure to gather custom insights from all your customer touch-points if you have the cash.
By studying the insights, you can discover which ideas, rewards, and tools increase and keep loyal customers happy and returning.
After this, you can double down on strategies that have proven to work to get a greater return on investment.
Attract and Keep Loyal Online Course Customers With Lambda Solutions
You can create a customer loyalty program that turns happy customers into repeat clients by following those steps.
If you offer an online course, and you are looking for the best online course platform with a rewards program that encourages learners to return, refer others, and engage with you more, Lambda Solutions can help.
Talk to us directly at +1 877 700 1118 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help you reach more learners, increase course sales, and impact more people daily.