It’s no secret that more and more small businesses are taking on the services of a rewards program provider to bolster their sales and increase customer retention. There are good reasons for this:
- It works for the big guys – Starbucks, for example, has a well-known loyalty rewards program called My Starbucks Rewards. The coffee juggernaut credited the rewards program for an 11% increase in revenue the second quarter of 2013 – that’s roughly a 3 billion dollar increase in revenue.
- It’s now cost effective – Thanks to the recent boom in smartphone technology there are many loyalty providers out there. The costs have become reasonable as well. For as little as $200 per month, a small business owner can receive a digital loyalty platform to connect with their customers.
This leaves small business owners competing against their neighbor’s loyalty program. Many businesses pick up a program and let it run without doing anything different. But here lies the problem: just having a loyalty program isn’t really cutting it anymore. Small businesses need to stand out.
Small businesses owners are realizing that they need to build their brand. Having a brand is more than a name or a logo. A brand is a business’s identity and what customers connect with; the reason a customer will choose one business over another every day. Being consistent with the message customers are being sent goes a long way to help build that identity. This goes as far as to *what* customers see when interacting with a program
- Rewards should have a purpose – Rewards mean nothing unless they speak to a customer’s needs. It’s easy to just offer a list of items or services that seem fair on the books, but what’s the point if this does nothing for the customer? “Oh that’s nice” isn’t good enough, a reward should be a goal for the customer.
- Personalization speaks volumes – Having a system that sends messages and provides rewards based on what individual customers want goes miles. When your customer sits back and says “wow, these guys know me” when being rewarded then they are more likely to respond to your message. Just like social media or web based ads are targeted to user preference, so should a loyalty program.
- A brand is a unique selling proposition – A brand should end up being the reason a customer goes to a business, rather than simple products and services. Once a patron is able to relate to the brand and see something they cannot find elsewhere then the decision to come back becomes simple.
A loyalty program should reflect the business’s brand as well. Every action should scream “This is who we are, and this is why you chose us!” What can be done to accomplish this? It’s the little things that make the big difference.
- Consistent messaging speaks to customers – Customers are bombarded with marketing mee you doing to set your program apart?