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7 Strategies to Get Your Customers to Join Your Loyalty Program

tips to get customers to join loyalty program

Whether it’s at the launch of your program or somewhere farther down the line, enrolling new members is at the top of any loyalty program’s “to-do” list. Here are seven strategies to market your loyalty rewards program  —generating higher exposure and record level activation rates.

  1. Run enrollment drives
  2. Give new members a welcome gift
  3. Cross-promote
  4. Incentivize customers to refer friends
  5. Turn employees into program ambassadors
  6. Promote program to existing customers
  7. Increase engagement with contests and sweepstakes

7 Strategies to Promote Your Loyalty Program

1. Run Enrollment Drives

Research shows that more than half of your loyal customers will join your loyalty program if you invite them to join. Create excitement with employee contests to see who can enroll the newest members in your loyalty rewards program. (Be sure to reward not just enrollment, but complete registrations.) A profile completion reward is a great way to learn more about your members, and thank them for providing more information.

Qdoba new member card registration

Run contests and promotions to boost enrollment during your key business months. Contests are an opportune way to identify your new customers, enroll them in your loyalty program, and get them to purchase again.

Starbucks Starland Contest for Starbucks Rewards Members

2. Give New Members a Welcome Gift

Entice customers to join the program with a “welcome gift.” This special offer provides immediate gratification for joining and reinforces the value of the program. The welcome offer can be mailed,  texted, emailed, or given to the customer at the point of purchase.

new member welcome letter loyalty program

3. Cross-Promote

Communication does not end at the launch of the program! Redpoint Global poll finds that forty-three percent of consumers want brands to recognizes them as the same customer across all touchpoints. Essentially, consumers are telling us that they expect a brand to be able to consistently keep pace with them at every stage of a dynamic path-to-purchase that has individualized beginnings, middles, and ends.

When promoting your loyalty program, you need to leverage every customer interaction to convey a simple, consistent message that encourages customers to join the program. Reinforce the value proposition and focus on what matters to your customer — creating concise, relevant, and personalized messages that build relationships based on your customers’ needs

Valuable customer relationships only form around organizations that demonstrate a rich understanding of their customer, in ways that touch those customers so persuasively that they are keen to experience the relationships again. More than half, 63 percent, of consumers expect personalization as a standard of service and believe they are recognized as an individual when sent special offers.

When there are significant changes in the loyalty rewards program or if you anticipate lots of questions, consider using a video. Starbucks uses video to give customers a detailed explanation of why their loyalty program changed, what happens with existing points, how the new Starbucks Rewards program works.

new member welcome kit loyalty program

If you cancel, change or update your loyalty program, be sure to auto-enroll your best customers in the new program. After all, your best customers are your biggest asset, don’t let them get wooed away by your competitors. ExxonMobil exited the Plenti program and auto-enrolled customers in the new ExxonMobil Rewards Plus program.  

membership promotion idea target competitors

Dick’s Sporting Good’s offered a $20 Reward to all Sports Authority’ League’ Cardholder when they brought their Sports Authority’ League’ Card and became a Dick’s Scorecard member. (This promotion was in response to Sports Authority closing stores.)

First impressions are everything. A grand opening event provokes excitement, curiosity, a sense of community, and signups in Dick’s Sporting Goods’ loyalty program.

new member grand opening promotion loyalty program

In-store advertising can be a valuable tool for driving enrollment and ongoing participation in loyalty programs. Don’t let your loyalty program become your best-kept secret in stores. The more visible your loyalty program is, the better it will perform.

loyalty program instore signage

4. Incentivize Customers to Refer Friends

Turn your brand advocates into brand ambassadors. 8 out of 10 online customers say they trust recommendations from friends and family members more than any type of advertising, according to Nielsen. Offer members an incentive to invite their friends to join your loyalty program.

ZANO Salons offers a refer a friend bonus. When members refer someone new to ZANO Salons for a haircut, hair color, massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, etc. — the friend receives $10 OFF his/her new service, the member’s loyalty account is credited with $10 towards a future service or retail purchase.

refer a friend loyalty program

Starbucks rewards members for new referrals. When members invite their friends to join Starbucks Rewards and the member racks up stars ~  the friend receives a FREE Drink, and the member gets  6 BONUS stars added to their account for each friend that signs up.

starbucks refer a friend bonus offer

5. Turn Employees into Program Ambassadors

If possible, launch the loyalty rewards program to employees a few weeks before its made public to enable staff to identify technology or processes that need to be resolved. Develop a loyalty program benefits “cheat sheet” for employees. This cheat sheet should include a brief list of benefits of why a customer would want to enroll in the program, Make the benefits easy to articulate, simple to understand, and easily remembered.

increase member participation in loyalty program

Edwin Watts Golf launched its LoyalTee Rewards loyalty program to employees with a training guide. This guide helped the store associates and CSR to know the value of the new loyalty program to the company and, most importantly, to the customer. The guide was detailed about how employees should respond to questions. Employees could access the easy-to-use guide when they had a question that they couldn’t answer.  Remember — when your employees are excited and knowledgeable about the loyalty program, these feelings translate when they speak to customers.

employee training for loyalty program

6. Promote Program to Existing Customers

If you have a customer list, send out an email, text message or push notification on your mobile app encouraging your customers to sign up for your loyalty program. Explain the perks of the program and give them a signup incentive for joining —  bonus points, discount, or gift with purchase. Also, include a loyalty program banner in your transactional emails like order confirmation emails and shipping confirmation emails to increase awareness about the program.

Tips to Improve Your Loyalty Program Email Communications

TJ Maxx sent an email invitation to consumers to join their new loyalty program, TJX Rewards Access, before it was is extended to the public. This communication strategy was likely to produce brand and program enthusiasm that can spread by word of mouth.

Loyalty Program Email Example

At their core, loyalty programs are about creating customer experiences that build trust. A frictionless signup process on mobile gets the relationship off to a good start.

loyalty program mobile enrollment
Source: Urban Airship, Inc.

7. Increase Engagement with Contests and Sweepstakes

Giveaways attract interest to your company or brand and create a buzz in the marketplace. Micheals offered a chance to win a $100 gift card to win a $100 Michaels Gift Card for 1,000 lucky Michael Reward winners! In addition to increasing the sheer number of people who joined Michaels Rewards, the contest provided a means to deepen the connection with customers as well.

Special Offer for New Loyalty Program Members

Need help promoting your loyalty program? Just ask the experts at Customer Insight Group. Call us today at 720-371-2452.

Updated May 9, 2020


Sallie Burnett
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