There are many ways to excite your email subscribers. Curious? Then let me show you how a loyalty program can help you generate excitement and boost newsletter engagement, in five great ways.
1) Dear loyalty member, we have amazing news for you
A loyalty program is the pot of gold in e-commerce and retail marketing. You may think it’s all about offering free shipping and discounts for customers. Well, that’s just plain wrong! Modern loyalty programs aim to excite customers and engage them on all of your channels – and that certainly includes your newsletters. Let me provide a great example:
Imagine this. There’s an online sports nutrition store where you love to shop. The prices are reasonable and you can easily find the perfect products by reading their reviews. And you’re also a loyalty member. Now, what would be the fastest way for the store to notify you about early access to a new line of protein bars or that your favorite body builder will hold an autograph session at one of the stores near you? Via email, of course! How can you make it happen?
- Collect data: In order to earn some more loyalty points, customers can fill out forms their interests, like favorite athletes or the types of products that most interest them. (Bye-bye, stuffy, old-fashioned loyalty programs that only reward purchases!)
- Create segments: Once you have that data, you can segment customers with it, and import the lists to your email marketing provider.
- Start your campaigns: Now you can send out any kind of update to specific groups of customers. The point here is that it gives you a way to send updates that customers are really interested in. Relevance for the win!
Okay, but who’s to say this really works? Well, according to Colloquy, the one of the main reasons why 75% of people stay active in a loyalty program is because they’re getting RELEVANT REWARDS. Monetate also reported that marketers see a 20% increase in sales when employing a personalized web experience. And a loyalty program is a way to do just that. For example, send a coupon code on your loyalty members’ birthdays – but be careful, because rumor has it that clever millennials tend to give fake birth dates to get discounts sooner! So if that’s a concern, consider sending the coupon code on the anniversaries of enrollment in the loyalty program instead.
This screenshot shows an example for what kinds of data you can collect though a loyalty program that lets you segment your customer base for better newsletter communication.
Read more: Email marketing to VIPs
2) Special event time: double your loyalty points
Besides personalization, a loyalty program can help to gamify the shopping experience. You know how in video games, like World of Warcraft, players get excited because they can participate in limited-time bonus events to get extra treasures or points?
Many factors guarantee the success of incorporating similar events into your loyalty program, including time-sensitivity, exclusivity – as it’s available for loyalty members ONLY – and of course, the chance to collect more of those useful points.
Learn more about how to build a successful loyalty program from our marketing podcast:
I really admired how Tokyo Otaku Mode, a Japanese store, used this tactic back in May. They made the announcement in a newsletter campaign that they would award double points to customers who make referrals. So instead of getting the usual $5 worth of points, referrers could get $10. And the icing on the cake is that they also announced that they would draw a bonus prize among the referrers and their peers, worth $15! That’s the way to generate real buzz around your store! Plus, it’s a great way to draw attention to your loyalty program and increase enrollment.
Oh, bananas! (In a good way.) Tokyo Otaku Mode promoted its double loyalty points event in their newsletter campaign. During this period, they sent out two emails to their entire customer base about the special event.
3) Have you heard we’re having a contest?
Speaking of gamification in loyalty programs, let’s not forget about the power of contests. All right, I alluded to this in the previous section, but let’s take a look at this topic from another angle.
First let’s examine how Bureau Direct, an online writing supply store, promoted new ink colors with a competition. The customers had to vote for their favorite colors in order to get a chance to win a nice notebook with some of that gorgeously-packaged ink. You, too, can introduce the very same kind of competition – within a loyalty program. The only difference is that you can ask customers to spend some of their points to enter, which is a good thing for everyone involved.
It’s an opportunity for customers to win cool prizes at a very low price. And, you can also let them enter multiple times to increase their chances. What’s in it for you? You can get to know their product preferences a little better and encourage loyalty program members to spend their loyalty points. It all comes at a low cost. In the end you just need to give away a couple of valuable prizes. It’s a very cost-effective tactic – and a really fun thing to share in your newsletter!
4) Get extra points for opens & click-throughs
Here comes a little extra spice for your newsletters. In a loyalty program like we have at Antavo, you can actually reward customers who open your emails. Whaaaat? Plus, you can also reward customers who click the links within!
To make it work, you just need to insert a pixel into any of your newsletters’ HTML code and add a bit of code to the links.
Just imagine how this could increase your open and click-through-rate in emails when you showcase new product lines – like in the example below from ASOS. Plus, you’re creating a chance for customers to learn more about your latest happenings, and increase overall brand engagement.
In a loyalty program you can increase your newsletters’ open rate and click-through-rate by rewarding customers who make those interactions.
5) We’re always ready to reward you
The final and most basic part: 81% of customers are more willing to stay with a brand, if it offers a rewards program. And that’s exactly why it’s worth mentioning your program in -if not most- all of your newsletters! So let’s see how some brands are doing it well:
Lancôme mentions their rewards program in their newsletter’s header with a simple call-to-action: “Are you an elite rewards member? JOIN NOW.” This invitation is not only well highlighted, but their choice of wording also suggests that something exclusive is waiting for the customers who dive in.
BuluBox simply shows how many rewards points customers have in their loyalty program, which can work as a reminder. “Hey! We have a rewards program, and you’re making progress in it!” It’s a little bit of a nudge for customers to use their points, or collect more – with a bit of newsletter encouragement.
Gilt features their loyalty incentives at the end of their newsletters, mainly focusing on getting new referrals for their store. By simply sharing their pages and inviting a new customer, you can earn a $25 discount.
So what are the takeaways? It’s not just about mentioning in your newsletters that you have a rewards program. You should find the main goal of your rewards program, and shape your message accordingly. In Lancôme’s case, the goal is to get new loyalty members. For BuluBox it’s to keep their loyalty members active by showing them their point balance. And, in the case of Gilt, it’s to get more new customers for their store. See how these seemingly small differences can have a big effect?
A loyalty program is meant to reward and recognize customers for doing business with you. In addition to that, loyalty programs can also help you to deepen customer engagement, if you do the following:
What other loyalty program updates would you include in your newsletters? Seen some other great examples that you would be happy to share with us?