As head of marketing at LoyaltyLion, there’s not much Fiona doesn’t know about how brands are creating successful loyalty programs! So, quite frankly, we couldn’t run our first month on loyalty without getting Fiona on board!
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Fiona got into loyalty by accident. She worked in marketing for 12 years before moving to a content agency that was focused on eCommerce.
After that stint, she transferred to a loyalty agency in 2016 where she fell in love with all things loyalty. She worked on high street retail and big loyalty programs, but later on realized that she preferred the eCommerce side.
LoyaltyLion came along at the right time and she moved to where loyalty, eCommerce, and technology came together, which was perfect for her.
The Inherited Reputation Of Loyalty Programs
Fiona says that loyalty programs are seen as difficult to use because of how airlines, club cards, and even Nectar ran their programs. Points collection and redemption are hard to understand, and getting your points balance may be not be the easiest thing either.
On the other hand, small coffee shops hand out loyalty cards where stamps are placed, but these don’t really allow the brand to get to know the customer.
Loyalty programs can be so much more than just these two models, and they may be used to communicate your brand, build relationships, and create a community.
Research is being done on giving alternative incentives that will allow brands to maintain their margins while giving loyal customers a better experience as a whole.
Rewards such as free access to exclusive content, early access to a sale or a new product line, and even getting customers to test new items and provide reviews will cost the brand very little, but will make customers feel special and give them a reason to remain loyal.
When Should You Start Your Loyalty Program?
To a certain degree, this depends on the brand’s resources but for Fiona, it’s never too soon to think about launching your loyalty program.
Keep it simple in the beginning so you can get it live, but make sure to establish the name of your loyalty program and the name of your points from the very start as these would be difficult to change later on.
Integration Is The Key
Don’t think of loyalty programs in isolation.
Think of integrating it with other components in your business such as marketing emails, customer service, and even incentivized product reviews.
The software and technology you use can help you with integration, but it’s also important to get your people involved and on board with your program for a successful implementation.
The Benefits Of A Loyalty Program
The obvious one is customer lifetime value. A good loyalty program can bring a customer back to you, get them to purchase repeatedly, and also make them spend higher.
Another thing brands can get out of it is the opportunity to acquire new customers through engagement with existing clients by way of referrals, reviews, or even community interaction.
If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with loyalty – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?
You have to know what you’re trying to achieve with your loyalty program.
Look at what you’re struggling with and design a program that’s going to help you meet the challenges you are currently facing in your business.
Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve loyalty performance?
For any marketing strategy you’re using — including loyalty — always look at the data.
With the information you have, you will know what’s giving you the biggest ROI, who your most valuable customers are, and where to focus your marketing efforts.
If someone listening wants to learn more about loyalty is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?
One is the LoyaltyLion Academy which covers every part of the customer journey and the role of loyalty in those stages.
Another is the HubSpot Academy because it touches on so many different parts of marketing.
Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in loyalty?
Because consumers now have the opportunity to opt out of various marketing channels, it’s really time to consider loyalty programs.
With a loyalty program, you have permission to continue marketing to your customers who are part of it, and continue to tell them your brand story and offer them new products.
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