I just got back from a conference in Brazil entitled How to Start a Blog where I gave a seminar on several methods for marketing rewards programs, including the use of blogs. What I like about rewards programs is that they are very effective in creating long-term relationships with customers. Compare this with other marketing techniques, say, discounts, which lose their usefulness once the discount is taken. A good rewards program builds customer loyalty, allowing you to appeal to a segment of buyers who remain customers despite offers from competitors.
The main challenge is to attract consumers to your program. Luckily, there are millions of candidates out there. In the US, 3/4 of all consumers participate in loyalty programs. Websites are the most popular way of promoting rewards programs, and a website with a blog has the continuous opportunity to market various aspects of your reward program. So blogging is an essential tool in your arsenal.
Here are five tips to lure away customers from your competitors:
- Strategize: Decide which form of program is the best fit for your company. There are different ways to reward participants: referrals of new customers, money spent on products, or length of membership are all common strategies. For high-volume products, a good strategy is to reward the size or number of transactions. High-cost transaction models favor rewards programs that involve referrals.
- Target: Know your audience – the top ten percent of your most frequent shoppers. In most retail situations, half of your sales will come from this group. If you lose one customer from this group, you’ll need 20 customers to fill the sales gap. You can target this group by finding out as much as you can about them. When do they shop? What are they buying and what kinds of rewards due they value? Your rewards program should encourage new customers to join this select group.
- Goals: Rewards should be tangible and within reach. If a consumer feels that they’ll never get a payoff, they’ll shop somewhere else. Your program should reward customers within a few months, and rewards should be easy to redeem. A frustrated customer means that you have set unrealistic goals for your rewards program.
- Competition: Find out what competitors are offering and beat them at their own game. Improve upon their programs wherever possible.
- Contact: Communicate to your customers in several ways, including blogs on websites, mailings, email, etc. A balanced combination of approaches will prevent your program from falling flat.