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Drive loyalty enrolment
Drive loyalty enrolment

3 key strategies for driving loyalty enrolment

MARKETING NEWS

By Jeff Sopko - Aug 1st 2017, 09:06

Over the past several years, loyalty programs have helped countless brands to retain customers and drive sales by rewarding returning customers for their continued patronage. 

But how do you get people to sign up for loyalty programs in the first place?

There are many barriers to entry for loyalty programs today: awareness, the user experience, neglecting niche groups within your target market — the list could go on and on.

So here are a few tips for breaking down those barriers and building a truly loyal customer base.

It starts with sign-up

The best time to approach consumers about loyalty enrollment is when they want something. Brands that do this well tend to encourage loyalty enrolment on their homepages or even during checkout, offering shallow — but actionable — discounts to help generate new sales. Furthermore, they make the process fast and easy.

You have to keep in mind that the first impression of your loyalty program that customers get is your "Sign In"/"Sign Up" page, so you need to cater to your customers accordingly. Keep it clean and simple if you want to avoid cart abandonment. Nobody wants to waste time or get frustrated right before the point of sale.

Brands also need to reach their customers where they're shopping. According to Adobe, 36 percent of Black Friday sales last year came from mobile devices, and that number is only expected to grow. This means that mobile optimisation is paramount when it comes to loyalty enrolment. Like your desktop "Sign In"/"Sign Up" page, your mobile enrolment should be equally streamlined. One way to ensure this is to integrate social sign-on into your enrollment process. With the tap of an icon, your customer can become enroled in your program and move onto checkout. It's a win-win.

Refer-a-friend

Influencer marketing has been on the rise lately, with more and more brands hiring social media influencers to promote their products. But there is an easier (and cheaper) way to encourage this kind of engagement among your existing customer base.

It goes without saying that consumers are more likely to trust their friends' recommendations than they are to follow the words of a person or brand that they don't know. This is the foundation upon which influencer marketing has been built. So leverage that knowledge with a referral program. It might sound cliché, but it actually works.

As with "Sign In"/"Sign Up," the key is to make referrals effortless. Present your loyal customers with channel options (e.g., social media, emails) and pre-populate the messaging. That way all they need to do is select recipients and click "send."

And provide incentives. Your best customers are also your best ambassadors, so make sure they feel appreciated.

Although not a retail brand, theSkimm has harnessed referrals remarkably well. Every time a new reader subscribes to their daily newsletter, they encourage that person to refer new readers in their network. Once enough readers subscribe using that person's unique link, that person becomes a Skimmbassador, receiving exclusive, branded swag and a shout-out in one of their daily newsletters. As a result of this effort, theSkimm's readership has grown to more than 3.5 million since its inception in 2012. It's an example worth following.

Don't forget stores

While the Internet makes it easy for people to enroll in loyalty programs, don't forget about your brick-and-mortar locations. Foot traffic is still massive in most stores, and capitalising on that traffic is imperative to growing your loyalty enrollment.

As with your best consumers, your best sales associates are also important advocates for your brand. Train them to better understand the benefits of loyalty enrolment and help them to believe in your program. You can also reward them for the volume of consumers that they successfully enroll. The second-best sales people are those that have motivation to sell.

One brand that continues to drive loyalty in-store is DSW. Their sales associates have been trained to relay the benefits of their rewards program to consumers and make the process quick, informative and persuasive. Encouraging people to sign up in-store builds the brand's loyalty enrollment — and helps consumers to earn points for each pair of shoes that they buy.

Your brand, your loyalty program

While these strategies will work for most brands, every brand is different. The key is to identify a loyalty program and enrolment process that best reflects your challenges and identity.

Test and refine different options, and don't forget to account for differences in scope and view. For some brands, social might not seem like it works as well, but it could be a valuable primer to get people to sign up once they visit the site or walk through the store. For others, digital ads might not be driving sign ups, but they could still be directing traffic and raising general awareness for the next touch-point to convert.

There are myriad ways to mix and match strategies to see what works for your consumer. But you won't know what works until you try it.

© 2017 Networld Media Group, LLC. 

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