Customer loyalty has gained paramount importance and is the holy grail for marketers to boost retention.
According to Forbes, your chances of selling to a new customer are just between 5% and 20%, whereas that increases to 60% or 70% for existing customers! This re-emphasizes the significance of implementing a rewards program to cultivate a retention strategy, that prioritizes customer loyalty above everything else.
While the objective of a rewards program is to drive loyalty, the end goal for marketers is to keep their customers engaged and boost conversions. Designing a loyalty program with an email marketing strategy is the secret recipe to defining engagement and boosting sales. Emails are one of the best ways to engage with your brand community, drive conversions and increase repeat purchases.
Here are 4 strategies marketers can use to amplify customer loyalty through email marketing:
Promotional Email Campaigns for Improved Conversion
In this step, you should target your customers who aren’t a part of your loyalty program. A clear call to action and articulation of the perks and benefits from the loyalty program would prompt customers to sign up.
After all, most of us often ask the question, what’s in it for me?
The below email is a classic example of how a brand can drive a purchase AND share details about the loyalty program.
Operational Emails for Increased Engagement
This step is for customers who are already engaging with your loyalty program. The idea is to amplify loyalty through increased engagement, which eventually leads to an uplift in their purchase frequency and boosts sales.
- Welcome to the program: As soon as your customer signs up for the loyalty program, you should send them a welcome email. This email should explain the basic details of your program, or offer customers free points/rewards so they can start engaging with the brand right away. The idea is to build a relationship and share details on how the program works.
- Post-interaction with the loyalty program (follow-up emails): According to research, 71% companies consider email as an effective channel for customer retention and loyalty. To build brand loyalty it is important to foster relationship with your customers, and email marketing campaigns is the most potent way of doing that!
- Points for various activities: You should send emails to customers immediately after each interaction they have with your brand, e.g., purchases, a share on social media, writing reviews, etc. Based on the pre-defined activities in your loyalty program, these emails should be sent to improve customer engagement. This email should include your customers points or tier level they are at; not only serving as reminders of their status, but also creating gamification – the more they know about the program benefits and rewards, the likelier they are to engage more and build a close knitted relationship with the brand.
- Points expiration reminder emails: Customers may not remember how many points they have in their account and if they are at an expiration stage. This does not mean they are not actively engaged with your program. Truth be told, today customers are involved in multiple loyalty programs, and it is the brand’s responsibility to ensure their loyalty program is on the top of the customer’s mind. Marketers should send point expiration reminder emails to the customers and share suggestions what they can do with those points. For example, purchase something or redeem points for an exclusive reward.
- Increasing UGC – reviews, ratings, social advocacy, and Q&A: Every time a customer adds user generated content, brands must send a personalised email and highlight the points they have earned – from writing reviews to sharing a photo and answering a question. Not only does this remind the customer where they stand in the loyalty program, but also encourages them to engage more and boost their points to move to the next tier.
- Reminder emails: When your customers are only a few points away from the next tier or reward, you can send them reminder emails. Include the perks associated with that tier, which creates a sense of urgency and serves as a motivator to purchase more. Customers are usually responsive to such emails. To encourage immediate purchase, also include a coupon on their next purchase.
Personalization to Boost Retention
This is for customers who are already engaged with your brand, and the objective is to increase repeat purchases. The first step is to segment customers into different clusters based on their buying behavior, tiers, purchase frequency, demographics etc. This provides marketers with valuable data that can be used to disseminate offers, benefits etc. via email campaigns.
- Tailored birthday perks: Nothing beats the sweet offers a customer gets from a brand on their special day. It instils emotions and provides a feeling of exclusivity and is one of the oldest & easiest ways to foster loyalty.
- Tier rewards: Marketers should gamify their tiered loyalty program by offering benefits and perks to the customer. Based on the tier they are at; you can personalize the email campaigns and share the reward details. A VIP customer would be eligible for not only increased points, but also, benefits like sessions with experts/influencers, visit from a brand stylist at home etc. These experiential rewards evoke a feeling of exclusivity and bring the customer closer to the brand, leading to increase engagement.
Emails to dormant customers
All brands face the prospect of dormant or inactive customers. There are a group of customers who were invested in your brand but have become inactive in due course of time. As a marketer your job is to remind them of the value and benefits from the brand, and the most potent way to do this is via emails that focus on the loyalty program. Marketers should run an A/B test and offer both monetary and non-monetary rewards in their emails and evaluate which offer resonates better with their brand community. These rewards may offer an aspirational value for the customer to engage with the brand and build a deep-rooted loyalty for the brand.
- Monetary reward: You should incentivize your dormant customers by offering them a gift card or a discount coupon or reward points. This may encourage them to visit your website and engage with your brand.
- Non-monetary reward: You should offer your dormant customers free shipping and upgrades or invite to an exclusive launch or personalized consultation etc. These rewards create attachment and build an emotional connect with the brand.
The objective is to revive their excitement and build a continuous engagement with the brand.
Building awareness of the loyalty program through email campaigns can improve engagement, boost conversions, and increase the customers lifetime value. Gentle reminders, clear communications, exciting perks, and benefits go a long way is building a close knitted relationship. TheRTAStore.com, one of the largest online ready to assemble and pre-assembled home cabinetry retailers in the USA, witnessed a 26% improvement in their revenue per email when they included rewards program information such as number of available points and rewards program tier in their promotional emails. These results are a clear indication that marketers can amplify their customer loyalty through effective email marketing and witness a significant increase in their engagement.