Increase Loyalty Program Membership in 4 Steps

There are a number of important factors to consider when evaluating the success of your brand’s loyalty program–the percentage of active users; the percentage of sales through the loyalty program; the average basket size for loyalty program members vs. non-members, etc.

But none of these metrics will be impactful if you have a negligible number of members or a stagnant growth. That’s why we’re going back to basics. Keep reading to learn five easy ways to increase loyalty program membership!

Time to lose the keycard

Today’s consumers are completely dependent on their smartphones. Getting directions, paying bills, composing emails, checking the weather, getting a price comparison while shopping–consumers are using their smartphones for just about everything. Smartphones have not only made information more readily available on the go, but also eliminated the need for a lot of physical objects. Smartphones enable brands to connect online and offline experiences. Consumers are sure to have their mobile devices on them when they’re shopping in-store–less likely to still have that physical loyalty card they received in the mail eight years ago. Chances are, your brand has a mobile app already (if you don’t — get one!), so it’s a no brainer to connect it to your loyalty program. It’s an easy way for members to sign up and for you to drive engagement with your app and your brand in general.

Consider this–in a survey of over 8,000 quick service and fast casual restaurant diners, those that were members of at least one loyalty program (70%) identified free menu items, the ability to track rewards/points and personalized rewards as the top three program features. Unsurprisingly, these are all features that are easiest to be deployed via mobile. If you’re trying to make customers like your brand (aka be more loyal), you have to cater the experience to their behavior. And consumers are behaving on mobile, so you should be too.

Make the benefits easy to understand

In order to convince prospective loyalty program members to sign up, it’s crucial that you clearly show the value of your brand’s program. As a reminder, a transparent model delivers value to consumers in the form of cash back, points, or a similar token (i.e. get $1 back for every $10 spent), whereas with an opaque model, the value back to the consumer is rendered in the form of surprise & delight, status, levels, tiers, badges and other methods that combine qualifying activity to determine eligibility for value back. Whether you’re working with a transparent or opaque loyalty model, making the program’s rules and guidelines simple to understand is crucial to acquiring new members.

Provide instant gratification

When consumers know that they’re going to be rewarded immediately, it’s an incentive to move quicker to make a decision or execute a purchase — especially when it comes to something that’s low risk. Brands can leverage people’s intrinsic penchant for instant gratification to encourage more loyalty program signups and deepen brand engagement. By offering new members a certain percentage off their next purchase for joining, you’ll not only increase acquisition, but also initiate active membership since consumers will re-engage when they redeem their sign up perk. You can then learn more about them and what they like in order to personalize your engagement to keep them a happy active member.increase-loyalty-program-membership.jpg

Leverage evangelists (already active members)

Connect the data dots–your most active loyalty program members are the ones with the highest average basket sizes and make the most frequent purchases. Repeat customers spend roughly 66% more than first-time customers (Loyalty360). They’re your greatest assets. They also love your brand and the perks they get from your loyalty program. Leverage those individuals and their love your your brand to attract their friends (individuals that presumably match similar, favorable demographic traits that may be tied to high value behaviors).

Utilize mobile & in-store employees

The value of making your loyalty program mobile is that it’s convenient for people to sign up (among many others benefits). There’s no time more convenient to take your relationship with a customer one step further than when they’re in your physical store, at a cash register making a purchase. That’s where your in-store employees come into play. When someone is checking out, have your employees ask customers if they’d like to sign up for your loyalty program by simply providing their email address (no need to ask 100 other personal questions–you’ll find this info out later!). To get off on the right foot immediately, send the person a follow up email that will prompt them to download your app, thank them for their recent purchase (be specific!) and of course, don’t forget to offer some instant gratification.

We understand that increasing loyalty program membership is only half the battle. The number of members is important, but doesn’t have as much weight if most of those members aren’t active. It is our goal with these five tips to help you not only increase loyalty program membership, but also set the stage for a long-term partnership with these new members so that they’ll also be actives ones.