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Mission Loyalty - Increase Loyalty Program Membership

Mission: Loyalty — Using Loyalty Program Promotion to Boost Adoption

It’s a great sign when a loyalty program has loads of members, right? Yes! Having high enrollment is an important goal in most loyalty programs. Some words of warning, however: achieving high adoption through loyalty program promotion doesn’t equal instant success. Once customers are enrolled you need to ensure that your program has everything they need to be active members, because engagement is where the real loyalty and behavior change begins.

Key Takeaways — TL; DR

  • Choose between open or closed enrollment based on your goals
  • Simplify the enrollment process — you can ask for data later
  • Display the reward portfolio as early as possible
  • Sometimes exclusivity is the most appealing benefit
  • Make a good first impression in your welcome email
  • Add a twist to your loyalty program with a referral system

Rewards and Loyalty Program Promotion Are the Foundations of High Adoption

Encouraging higher activity starts by ensuring that the perceived value of the membership is high. According to the For Love or Money 2022 study, the effort required to earn rewards and the effort-to-value ratio are the loyalty program members’ top two concerns. So effort is sure to be on customers’ minds when they consider joining new programs, too.

So here’s a tip to put you on the path to high adoption and engagement: consider creating a rewards catalog with a wide variety of rewards, some of which are lower-value but easy to reach. And then promote the program in a way that makes it clear that it’s EASY to earn more. In other words, flaunt your value to prospective members!

Watch this episode of Mission: Loyalty to find out everything you need to know about creating an effective enrollment process and enticing loyalty program promotion to maximize enrollment.

1. Choose Your Enrollment Style

Consider enrollment numbers a KPI from the very start — and plan accordingly. There are two types of enrollment: open and closed.

Open enrollment is a type of registration unrestricted by paywalls or mandatory authentication. The majority of retail loyalty programs feature open enrollment. During the registration process, you’ll be asked for personal information and unique contact information, such as an email address or phone number.

Closed enrollment, on the other hand, requires customers to take an extra step in order to finalize the membership. Those steps might be paying a subscription fee, or one-time fee, or — if the program requires that members meet some sort of criteria — by authenticating themselves.

Using closed enrollment will actually mean you’ll have lower loyalty program adoption, but you’ll be more focused on quality than quantity. Members that pay to join a program are more likely to be active, because they’ll want to make the most out of the membership they’ve purchased. If you base enrollment on authentication, however, you will ensure that you’re serving an exclusive group.

Let’s consider some examples of closed enrollment.

Amazon Prime: Closed Enrollment for Subscribers

Amazon Prime has a paywall, so customers must take the extra step to pay for membership in order to start receiving benefits like free shipping and entertainment content.

Amazon Prime Enrollment Process
Amazon Prime asks registrants to pay for their membership in order to get their famous free delivery service.

BMW’s Inside Edge: Closed Enrollment for Company Car Drivers

BMW’s loyalty program for corporate car drivers requires drivers to enter their license plate numbers to register. That’s a great way to keep your loyalty program exclusive, if you’re looking to serve a specific community or group of customers.

BMW Inside Edge Loyalty Program Enrollment Form
BMW Inside Edge asks registrants to enter their car’s number plate to ensure that they drive a BMW company car.

2. Make Registration Simple

Make sure your sign-up process is nice and easy. The less time and information customers need to enter, the better. When customers see a lot of form fields to fill in, they might give up mid-way.

As you plan your enrollment form, ask only for the essentials and keep customers moving through your process. You can always get more information from customers later, by incentivizing profile completion or through surveys.

Starbucks: Register Now, Ask Later

Starbucks asks for a limited amount of information from members who enroll in Starbucks Rewards. Later they ask for additional information, like customer birthdays.

Birthday rewards are an important component of the loyalty program, so why wait until after registration? First of all, asking for a date of birth later gives customers an easy way to engage and potentially be rewarded with a bonus. Secondly, it keeps the initial enrollment process nice and easy, so there’s no reason to back out.

Starbucks asks already-enrolled members for additional information
When the coffee chain asks for additional information from Starbucks Rewards members, such as customer birthdays, they let customers know what they’ll get in return for providing such data. That makes data submission all the more enticing.

3. Flaunt Those Rewards

They’re called rewards programs for a reason! Use your rewards to the maximum in your loyalty program promotion. Advertise your coolest, must-have rewards to encourage more customers to sign up for your loyalty program.

If you have rewards and benefits like early access to the latest products, exclusive one-on-one sessions with stylists or executives, unique experiences, or exclusive content, then congratulations — you already have rewards that go beyond customers’ expectations. Be sure to let prospective members know about them!

As mentioned above, loyalty program members are concerned about the amount of effort required to earn rewards. So, in addition to advertising your rewards to potential members — and current members — be sure that you have a range of rewards that are accessible to customers at varying levels of spend and engagement.

Sephora: The Queen of Rewards

Beauty retailer Sephora, in addition to its beauty product rewards, offers experiences like spa facials and the opportunity to turn points into charitable donations.

In addition to showing non-members the rewards they can receive by signing up, they’ve added excitement for current members. They have bi-weekly reward releases that create excitement. There’s so much excitement that some of the rewards go out of stock!

A table that shows the savings and benefits Sephora’s loyalty program members receive.
Sephora displays the benefits for members in all three tiers on the Beauty Insider landing page.

4. Exclusivity Is Your Best Asset

In addition to rewards, another reason people sign up for any kind of club is exclusivity. For many, getting access to members-only discounts or the chance to purchase a product before others is all the motivation they need to enroll into a membership program.

So, if you wish to boost the adoption for your loyalty program, make sure to add several exclusive benefits. They are very cost-effective too, as the only thing you need to take care of are users’ access privileges (in other words, who has access to what features). It’s also a great feature to promote… early access practically sells itself!

LuisaViaRoma: Exclusivity Is the Name of the Game

LuisaViaRoma, a global luxury fashion retailer, has a special club that allows subscribers to buy limited sneaker releases. Not only has the program encouraged new members to sign up for the wider loyalty program, the sneakers often sell out before they ever make it to the shop floor!

This shows that if you provide clear value – something that people really want – you will increase membership in your loyalty program.

The promotional page for LuisaViaRoma’s Sneakers Club, showing an early access product.
LuisaViaRoma showcases the latest early access product on its loyalty program promotion page, which further increases desirability.

5. Make Customers Feel Welcome

First impressions matter a lot. Some customers who enroll in your loyalty program won’t be fully committed. They just want a taste of what it means to be a member. The best way to convince them to stay and become active members is to surprise them with a great deal, right from the start.

An inspiring welcome email, accompanied with a valuable reward has a high chance of enticing customers to make their first purchase — or at least to stick around to learn more. However, sending welcome emails is a fairly common practice already, so you better make sure that both the message and the bonus are unique.

Kellogg’s: A Grrreat Welcome Experience!

Kellogg’s emphasizes the starpower of its brand mascots to add a unique flavor to its email communication. The company’s welcome message emphasizes fun, explains what the tokens are, and highlights the great rewards new members can earn in the program.

The friendly welcome email that Kellogg’s sends to new loyalty program members.
The tone and message of the welcome email matter a lot. Kellogg’s really knows how to make new members immediately feel like part of a community.

6. Spice Up with a Referral Program

Another great way to get more members on board is to create a referral program. People trust friends, family, and their favorite influencers more than regular advertisements. That’s why referral programs are an effective way to attract customers.

Focus on the social aspects of the program by rewarding members for friend referrals, for leaving product reviews, or for participating in social media contests. And give your top referrers or influencers (brand ambassadors) access to exclusive perks in exchange for promoting the program using their unique referral code. Then, get ready to welcome all of your new members.

BrewDog: Friends With Good Taste

You don’t need influencers to get the job done. Having passionate customers is quite enough, as BrewDog knows. Their Planet BrewDog rewards program includes a “Top Dog” badge referral program, which rewards members for sharing a referral link and making an order. They take it an extra step and offer the “Fair Share” badge for members who place an order for a friend!

Planet BrewDog Loyalty Program Referral Badges
BrewDog treats its members to rewards for friend referrals, along with badges. It’s a double-win!

Boosting Your Loyalty Program’s Adoption Rate Isn’t Rocket Science

… but it isn’t easy either. It all depends whether you have a solid strategy in place. If you build your loyalty program with great rewards, a fun welcome journey, and a seamless enrollment process, customers will surely be happy to join.

If you wish to discuss loyalty program promotion strategies, rewards or other features that are proven to boost loyalty program adoption (like gamification), our experts at Antavo would be more than happy to start a discussion. Simply book a demo to receive a presentation of our technology, or send us your RFP.

Also, don’t forget to download Antavo’s Customer Loyalty Report, an in-depth report that showcases dozens of statistics on loyalty program usage and strategy, as well as future industry trends. This report will help you navigate the world of next-gen loyalty programs.

A banner recommending to download Antavo’s Global Customer Loyalty Report 2023.

Author: Antavo

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