Loyalty programs and marketing: How the two can help each other

For many marketers, attracting new customers is the main goal. Acquisition tactics, such as events, social media management and influencer marketing make the top of the to-do list. As a result, retention falls by the wayside.

But, with 53% of a store’s revenue coming from just 20% of its customer base, neglecting retention leads to a missed opportunity. It’s your existing, loyal customers who repeat purchase from you often, engage with your brand and tell others about you. So why aren’t more marketers focussing on it?

One misconception is that loyalty strategies are costly and time-consuming. But this just simply isn’t true. Focussing on retention can easily become part of your existing day-to-day responsibilities.

This blog post covers how to combine a loyalty strategy alongside your everyday marketing responsibilities – without wasting time or losing customers.

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First, you need to understand what loyalty marketing is

Loyalty marketing refers to building trust and relationships among recurrent customers by rewarding them for continually purchasing from and engaging with your brand.

By implementing retention strategies, you’ll drive up your customer lifetime value, increase your average order value, build up brand advocacy and increase long-term revenue.

How loyalty programs can work with your marketing

If you still need convincing, a study by Technology Advice found that 83% of customers are more likely to buy from a business that has a loyalty program. So, when it comes down to buying from you or your competition, a loyalty program could be that key differentiator.

Now you know what loyalty marketing is, it’s easy to see why it should become a part of your day-to-day responsibilities. Here’s where to start:

Being a brand guardian

Branding is incredibly important for any company. It’s how consumers perceive you, your products and reputation. As a result, it’s many modern marketers jobs to protect a brand’s integrity.

A loyalty program is a great way to showcase who you are. You can customize all the elements within it (including typography, color palette and iconography) so it matches your site-wide identity. And, use it to shine the light on your brand values.

Never Fully Dressed has launched a loyalty program that is fully on-brand and engaging. The colors and iconography match their overall identity. They also use brand imagery throughout and the language they use is focussed on their “sassy” persona.

Never Fully Dressed Loyalty Program

When it comes to sharing their brand values, Annmarie Skin Care is a great example. To show that they value their loyal customers and are environmentally conscious, they launched the “Wild and Beautiful Collective”.

The loyalty program is centered on making their customers feel part of an exclusive club, as members get access to a Facebook group. And, to show that their products are naturally sourced, Annmarie Skin Care send loyalty emails that promote mindfulness and well-being.

Annmarie Email 2

Take a look at Annmarie Skincare’s case study.

Improving the customer experience

As a marketer, you want your customers to enjoy interacting with you. In fact, 73% of buyers point to customer experience as an important factor in purchasing decisions. Loyalty programs are the perfect vehicle for improving the customer experience – any marketers’ dream.

By rewarding customers for purchases and on-site interactions, you’re showing that you care about them on an individual level and have something worth returning for.

Features, such as loyalty tiers, encourage customers to keep returning to your store and spending. They’ll see the more exclusive rewards at higher tiers, and will be willing to increase their average order value to reach them.

Gym Direct has a “Platinum” tier where customers get 400 bonus points on their birthday, an 18-month membership to their gym and fitness equipment, a free birthday gift and double-entry into their monthly lucky draw.

Gym Direct Tiers

The aspirational nature of loyalty tiers creates an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Customers get worthwhile results for their purchases and feel valued for their long-term loyalty.

Segmentation and personalization

Modern marketing is data-driven. And that’s only set to become more prevalent as machine learning, AI and analytics weave their way into every marketers’ toolkit. At the heard of data-driven marketing are segmentation and personalization.

Customers like to buy from brands that serve them experiences that are personalized and relevant. In fact, 80% of customers indicate they are more likely to do business from a company if it offers personalized experiences

A loyalty program gives you the data to be able to segment customers beyond just demographics and previous purchases. You’ll be able to see which of your shoppers are loyal to your brand, at-risk or who have churned entirely.

This deeper insight allows you to add another layer to your personalization capabilities so you can target the right people with the right content. You can:

  • Reach out to loyal customers with a surprise and delight campaign – such early access to sales or extra bonus points around seasonal events
  • Draw “at-risk” customers back to your store with a free birthday gift or by moving them into a higher loyalty tier
  • Bring back your churned customers by running a one-off double loyalty point event that reminds them why they joined your loyalty program in the first place

Fresh content that stands out from the competition

All too often, ecommerce stores are littered with content and pop-ups advertising new stock or seasonal sales. Increasingly, customers are becoming blind to these marketing materials as they are too sales-orientated.

Advertising a loyalty program in your marketing assets in a good way to make your content stand out. Instead of focussing on acquisition and sales, this approach will forge emotional connections with your customers will humanize your brand.

Start by sharing the perks of your loyalty program in website banners and on-site pop-ups. You could even showcase an impressive signup perk – like free shipping. This will make your site stand out from the regular run of the mill store.

Brayola Double Point Event

You could also incorporate your loyalty program on your social channels and in retargeting campaigns.

Try tailoring your retargeting ads so they show your existing customers products related to their previous purchases – and the loyalty points they would get in exchange for buying them.

This way they’ll think of you further down the road and your social content will stand out on their feeds as it’s personalized to them.

Loyalty programs and marketing: A perfect partnership

Loyalty programs are an essential part of any ecommerce marketers’ arsenal. It allows you to upgrade your customer retention strategies, drive conversion and amplify your brand’s defining qualities.

It’s clear that bridging the gap between loyalty programs and marketing is paramount to your overall success. And who knows, your loyalty program could become the next best thing.

Feeling ready to get started? Check out our free ebook: The quick guide to customer retention.

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About the author

Mollie Woolnough-Rai

Mollie is a Senior Content Marketing Executive at LoyaltyLion. After graduating from UCL in 2016, she has worked both in-house and at marketing agencies providing expertise in content for both B2B and B2C clients. At LoyaltyLion, Mollie manages our content, making sure our readers get the best quality resources about customer loyalty and retention.