On Monday I posted a link to an article on the Huffington Post titled “When Loyalty Programs Go Bad” that gave specific examples of ways that loyalty programs have disappointed rather than delighted. While I don’t think the future of loyalty programs is doom and gloom I see more and more of these kinds of articles popping up on my google alerts as well as companies canceling their loyalty programs.
A customer loyalty program can benefit your business if done correctly. So what are these businesses doing wrong? As I was thinking about the ways the author was disappointed by loyalty programs I couldn’t help but wonder if one of the biggest shortcomings of loyalty programs or basic email clubs is the broken promises to customers. The one that frustrates me the most is joining an email club, text campaign or loyalty program and never hearing from that business again.
You collect customer’s information. They go through the process of standing in line or enrolling on your website, filling out a paper form and then…nothing. Even if you are just collecting emails for newsletters, you know the drill the open notebook or piece of paper by your register, how often are you sending emails to those customers?
When customers give you their information or sign up for your loyalty program they are giving you permission to communicate with them about your business. Not focusing some of your marketing time and budget on these communications is a big mistake.
Three ways to communicate with your customers effectively:
1 – Decide on a frequency, stick with it and tell your customers how often you plan on communicating to them.
2 - Give them options about what kind of information they would like to receive. Newsletter, sales, promotions or industry specific information such as recipes or tips.
3 – Give your customers the option of how they would like to receive communications whether it be text or email.
One of the best ways to keep your promise of communication is making a schedule. Make a yearly calendar and set up dates to send out your communications whether it be weekly or monthly as well as some ideas for topics. From there you can send other communications that deal with specific events or promotions that come along like spring sales or specials on end of winter clothing but at least you will have a plan.
Keep it relevant, keep it simple. Using a tool like Simpli allows you to get many communications developed and scheduled for future months. So save time in the future by creating the communications now or when you have time to do it. Having the flexibility to produce communications whenever and wherever you want will make it easier to accomplish your communication goals for 2013.