After 6 years working at Tecmark I am leaving to pursue a new career opportunity. In the midst of tying up loose ends and good bye lunches, Cathy said “You have to write a farewell blog!” Even though I have been blogging for Tecmark for 3 years that hasn’t necessarily made me the next Seth Godin with legions of followers that will be sad to learn about my leaving. Still, I am glad to have the chance to write a farewell blog looking back on all the lessons I have learned about loyalty marketing.
At the front desk in 2008
When I started at Tecmark as a receptionist I honestly had no idea what the words loyalty marketing meant. I would explain to my friends that loyalty was like airline rewards. It took a while but eventually words like “points engine” and “aligning rules” started to make sense. As I moved from the front desk to the marketing side of things not only did I start comprehending the history of the loyalty industry but I was able to see it rapidly changing.
With technological advances like smartphones and tablets as well as the wide variety of new loyalty tools from web-based to social networks; loyalty programs went from being unattainable for small to medium-sized businesses to something every business has in some form. With so many options to reward your loyal customers it can be easy for a business to get overwhelmed. But in the end it is most important to remember the purpose of loyalty programs is to reward your loyal customers. Before I leave I’ve put together the 4 loyalty marketing lessons I think are the most important.
Keep enrollment fast and easy
So simple, so true. Gone are the days of cards and paper applications that someone had to enter into your loyalty software. Now there are many options to quickly gather your customer’s information from a simple iPad app to an enrollment form on your website. Using a phone number or email as the member identifier in your program keeps enrollment simple and encourages engagement.
Remember the power of the Welcome Email (or Birthday Email)
With new web-based loyalty tools setting up a welcome promotion and birthday promotion couldn’t be easier. Communicating with your member’s right after they join starts your relationship off on the right foot. Bonus – if you also send an offer or coupon it is more likely they will get back to your business. And who doesn’t love to get recognition on their birthday? Birthday emails make everyone feel good!
Use your data to market smarter
If you are go through the trouble of collecting data about your customers be sure you use it to target your marketing. It just makes sense. I have to be honest, as a consumer I don’t always love how much Walgreen’s knows about me, but at the same time the targeted coupons they give me with my purchases are totally worth it.
Make it fun
Your customers are interested in your rewards program because they like you so don’t be afraid to show your business’ personality in your rewards program. The rewards programs that I continue to use are the ones that make it fun. It’s the same reason I keep using Foursquare. I love the gaming aspect of Foursquare and the possibility of getting a reward. Life can be pretty serious sometimes, but your loyalty program doesn't need to be. Making it fun to participate and share helps you to start to connect with your customers on an emotional level.
As I move on from the loyalty marketing industry I leave with a greater understanding of how powerful loyalty and customer rewards programs can be for businesses. Instead of being intimidated businesses need to remember to keep it simple, fun and valuable. I'm by no means leaving as a loyalty expert but I am leaving as a marketer with an appreciation for loyalty marketing and the customer engagement it can encourage. Thanks for the great time Tecmark!
One more desk picture :)