One of the first things a business school student learns is that it costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to maintain an existing one. Many companies take advantage of this important business tenet by motivating their customers to visit the business more often and make more purchases with every visit. While it may not be immediately apparent how a business could persuade their guests to convert to repeat customers, it is very likely that you have participated in a card-linked loyalty program yourself. The following steps will help you choose a loyalty program with will have your customers coming back time and again.1. Engage Your CustomersOne of the first criteria for success in any marketing program is ‘will your customers participate?’ Your goal should be to design a program that will grab your customers’ attention and motivate them to make repeated purchases or visits in the future. A good way to determine this is to analyze what your guests are motivated by. You can have your guests participate in a survey regarding their shopping experience, or if you have a retail business, ask them personally at the point of checkout. Keep in mind, you may have to provide some kind of incentive to get your customers to participate in the survey as well.Technology has advanced to allow customers to use their own existing credit and debit cards to participate in loyalty programs, making it easy and convenient for customers to buy in to the program. No longer are customers required to keep up with several dozen punch cards when they can use their existing payment card to participate in rewards programs across multiple merchants.2. Implement Promotions that Enhance Your BrandA loyalty program can be a great opportunity to build a dialogue and a relationship with your customers. The best loyalty programs are those that fit and accentuate your brand. To get started, consider what makes your brand unique, and how you can leverage those unique components to build loyalty. For example, if you have a flagship product, you might want to use your promotion to spread the appeal of that product to new consumer groups, or persuade customers to buy complementary products. On the other hand, if you have a diverse mix of service and product offerings, you might try a promotion that encourages guests to experience the benefits of all your offerings.3. Consider the Impact to Your StaffWhile there are a plethora of different programs out there, some of them may simply not be possible to execute due to the limits of your operational infrastructure and staff. Do your employees have the time, opportunity, and ability to communicate the rules and benefits of the program to customers? Can some process be implemented to keep guests updated about any balances on their loyalty cards? Will your staff be able to anticipate and answer any questions about the program? Making sure your employees can communicate the benefits of the program and enroll customers is crucial to your success.4. Ensure Your Return On InvestmentUltimately, the reason why anyone runs a card-linked loyalty program is to increase profits. For this reason, it is vital that you carefully examine both the costs of running such a program, and your conservative yet educated projections about the increase in revenue you are likely to experience. The best programs are those that cultivate purchasing behaviors that make up for the cost of running the incentive program.
How to Choose a Loyalty Program
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