As I discussed in an earlier article, good loyalty marketing converts lapsed or one-off customers into infrequent customers, and infrequent customers into frequent customers. If the motivation to climb the ladder towards a VIP customer is enticing enough, it will work.
With a digital loyalty marketing platform, you can completely automate this process; essentially employing a relentless robot that never sleeps, never eats, and never hesitates.
These personality traits might have been terrifying in The Terminator, but when this robot is your very own loyalty marketing whiz that constantly works to retain customers, build brand loyalty and thus drive sales for your business, it’s a pretty ideal setup.
Sounds good, right? But before you can retain customers, you need some in the first place.
How to acquire customers with a digital loyalty marketing platform
So, how can you use a digital loyalty marketing platform to build hype around your brand and get customers through the door (or onto your website, if you’re running an ecommerce business)?
1. Surprise & Delight
In marketing terms, Surprise & Delight involves exceeding customers’ expectations and improving their brand experience by catching them off-guard with a spontaneous gift or unsolicited reward.
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about “Buy One Get One Free” type offers or other deals that require some kind of action from the customer. These are simple “on the house” treats with no strings attached.
Feels a bit counter-intuitive, doesn’t it… giving your product away for free? In fact, the key findings from a recent Loyalty One study suggest the exact opposite.
When consumers were exposed to Surprise & Delight marketing strategies:
- 95% of respondents claimed that their perception of the brand was greatly elevated
- More than half of respondents told others about the positive experience
- Over a third of respondents immediately gave the brand more business as a direct result of this nice gesture
Now, that’s not to say you should rip the price tags off everything and dive into some kind of “Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things Giveaway” bonanza!
I’m merely suggesting that, by building a few incremental rewards and “spontaneous” prizes into your loyalty program rewards structure that the customer isn’t aware of, you can quite easily create a bit of buzz around your brand.
Many digital loyalty app providers offer a Scratch & Win instant prize function as part of their loyalty app service. This allows businesses to send all loyalty program members a link (via text or push notification) to a spontaneous instant prize draw, with a 1-in-3 chance of winning a small prize, for example.
If your digital loyalty marketing platform is a new addition to the business and that’s precisely why you’re trying to create a bit of buzz, you might want to consider using e-newsletter subscription lists (if you have one), social media followers and any other means at your disposal to build a nice little pool of previous or existing customers.
From there, you can start reaching out to these customers with a few random surprise gifts that will build hype around your digital loyalty marketing platform.
As an example, Kleenex created an ingenious campaign to get people talking about the brand online. The tissue brand’s marketing team spent a few hours scouring various social media channels for users who were presently posting about having a cold or being stuck at home with the flu.
This team then got in touch with these “under the weather” social media users’ friends and family members, and arranged to have Kleenex Kits sent to their doorsteps within a couple hours of their post.
This led to a huge surge in Kleenex-trending content on Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites, as all of these unsuspecting bedridden people posted about their free “get well” gift from Kleenex.
And speaking of creating a spike in social media content related to your brand…
2. User-Generated Content
Of course, there’s simply no way to talk about “building hype” around something without mentioning social media.
However, you don’t need to pour bucketloads of money into PPC, Facebook ads and other social media advertising in order to use social media channels to promote your brand. Nor do you need to employ a massive marketing team to work on creating content for your social media around the clock.
Don’t forget about the best marketers your business has access to… your customers.
The best digital loyalty marketing platforms reward customers for brand engagement; not just spending. If you reward customers for posting product reviews, sharing brand-sponsored content online and even creating their own online content in the form of blogs, Instagram posts and YouTube tutorials, you can expand brand awareness extremely quickly.
For every loyal customer with 1000 followers who posts content related to your brand, it only takes one follower to convert, share, repost etc. and the same content is seen by another 1000 followers, and so on.
Not only this, but it’s content that is coming from a trusted and reliable source – a friend, not a brand. It’s also far cheaper to offer loyalty points and rewards in exchange for user-generated content, rather than resorting to costly advertising.
Read more about how to improve customer loyalty marketing with social media here.
3. Personalized Customer Experience
These days, most business owners have a general idea of how personalization works. A digital loyalty marketing platform stores customer data, and uses this data to create an increasingly accurate customer profile. Based on this profile, the rewards platform can send highly targeted marketing communications to each individual customer.
For example, your loyalty program might ask customers for a combination of the following details upon signup:
- Email address
- Phone number
- Date of birth
From this information, your business immediately knows:
- The customer’s name (allowing for more personal communications)
- Birthday (allowing you to send them a birthday gift every year)
- Phone number/email address (allowing you to communicate with the customer directly via their mobile device)
With every new transaction the customer makes with your brand, your digital loyalty marketing program gains more information about their preferences. This allows your business to paint an increasingly detailed image of the customer, and your automated rewards get more and more enticing.
Some businesses are even taking it a step further now and using location services to entice customers with tailored offers when they come within range of one of their stores. For instance, Sephora Beauty Insider members are likely to receive a special offer when they come within a few blocks of a Sephora outlet.
4. Tiered Rewards
When a business offers a tiered rewards system, it motivates its customers to visit more frequently or spend more per transaction, because they want to reach this higher VIP experience.
By making the higher tier rewards experiential, your “entry level” loyalty program members see what they’re missing out on… essentially, you’re inspiring a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out).
Higher tier experiential rewards might include:
- Skip the queue benefits
- Pay in advance mobile ordering
- Free shipping
- Exclusive access to VIP events (product launches, workshops, early access to sales, etc.)
- Celebrity meet ‘n greets
Again, this is where social media can drastically amplify the results, as everyone posts about their brand experience on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. While it won’t work for every type of business, creating a digital loyalty marketing platform with a tiered rewards structure can be remarkably effective in building hype.
5. Receipt Scan or Product Code Scan
Receipt scan technology allows your digital rewards platform to extract the necessary data from a customer’s receipt. This data might include:
- Which items were purchased
- Where they were purchased from
- When they were purchased
- How much was spent in total
- Other crucial data points that allow the rewards platform to automatically update the customer’s loyalty account with the necessary loyalty points or “stamps”
The idea is that the customer downloads your brand’s digital loyalty app, and uses it to upload a picture of their receipt. The database then extracts the necessary data from the receipt, and awards the customer their loyalty points.
Product scan codes require a similar process from the customer, but instead of scanning their receipt, they scan a unique QR code that is printed on the product packaging.
Whether your business is online or your products are sold through an intermediary (like a supermarket, wholesaler, third party retailer or pharmacy), receipt scanning and product code scanning are two revolutionary methods for validating loyalty points.
Not only are they easy and convenient for the customer, but they’re highly beneficial for the business, as it offers access to customer data (which, as I mentioned earlier, provides valuable marketing insights and helps to build individual customer profiles for personalization) and thus opens the door to all the points listed above, even without any direct contact between the business and the customer.
In a post-COVID era, this kind of contactless loyalty is an increasingly crucial asset to any brand’s loyalty marketing procedures.
And finally, receipt scanning in particular offers one other advantage – it allows the brand to see what else the customer bought alongside its own products. This provides invaluable marketing insights, which the business can analyze and act on accordingly.
Figure out which approach works best for your unique business and its customers.
As you can see, there is no limit to the ways in which you can utilize a digital loyalty marketing platform to build hype around your brand – especially when used in conjunction with social media, experiential rewards, and Surprise & Delight mechanisms like Scratch & Win.
Have a think about which of these strategies will land well with your particular audience, and find a way to put your own creative spin on your brand’s loyalty marketing approach.