Recently, I was at the drive-up window at my bank. When the teller returned to the window with my deposit slip, she stated, “Did you know that you have 20,000 rewards points worth $300?” I had no idea. She then explained to me that if I have online banking, there is a link for the rewards program to the left of my landing page. I access my online accounts to check balances and to see what has cleared, to pay my bills, and to occasionally transfer money from one account to the other. Rewards program? I didn’t even know I was part of one. What could have worked better maybe is, a separate landing page with details of the program or communication from the bank, to keep the program in the top of my mind!
Majority of the companies are turning to rewards program with a two-fold objective to reward loyal customers (thus retaining them) and to “beat” the competition. It is common to find a plethora of loyalty programs across different industries.
But here’s the thing about loyalty reward programs. While people are quick to sign up for these programs, continued participation in them is less robust. Few reasons for this mentioned below-
- It is sometimes up to the participant to check on his/her rewards and to figure out how to use them (think airlines).
- Companies do not aggressively promote their rewards program and inform the participant their “points” or “cash buildup” and offer options about how to use those points or cash.
- Customers today are part of numerous loyalty programs. They see the same types of rewards being offered by different companies they do business with, and they tire of keeping track of so many, put their little cards away and cease to even remember what rewards programs they are in. This is why discount coupons tend to work better.
- Colloquy 2017 Loyalty consensus report states 36% abandon a loyalty program as the rewards program communications were irrelevant to them. Receiving excess of communications was a put off for 38% customers abandoning a loyalty program.
- Customers are looking for experiences, brands offering just points or discounts are not able to engage customers for a long term in their loyalty rewards program. 53% users abandoned a loyalty program, as it did not offer them the rewards/offers they were interested in. (Source: Colloquy 2017 Loyalty consensus report)
But it does not have to be this way. Your customers should be so important to you that you will do all you can to keep them participating in your rewards program, benefitting from it, and loving you.
So, here are some writing tips to use, as you keep your customers involved in your rewards program.
1. Make It Easy to Understand
Your rewards program should be clear and simple. And it will need to be explained in writing. The key to this is transparency and language.
- Customers should know how many points or cash they accumulate with each purchase amount or activity.
- Customers should know how to check on their point or cash accumulation
- Customers should know exactly how to redeem and what options they have for those redemptions
Schnucks Grocery Chain in Missouri has this as its landing page for its Rewards Program:
And here is how it is simply explained:
The Starbucks Rewards Program, My Starbucks Rewards is similarly simple to understand. Since rolling out the program in 2009, Starbucks has 16 million members signed up, accounting for about 40 percent of its business in the U.S. They have updated the rewards program a few days back. There is a pull-down arrow reading “rewards options” that tells you all the new variations on the program. This is explained under the headline, “Rewards You Can Get with Stars.”
Also, interesting to note is that Starbucks uses fun, hand-drawn illustrations to detail the benefits of joining, and to describe how points (stars) are accumulated.
When loyalty reward programs are revamped, communication must be clear and free from any ambiguities. Embracing change can often be complex!
2. Keep Customers Regularly Informed
At some retail establishments, especially places like grocery stores, a customer is told as he checks out what his accumulation is. This is not the case with a lot of other companies, like banks or credit card companies.
Customers should not have to search for their points summary. It should be clearly reported on the website or application with a page that allows customers to check their balance rewards points, what they are currently worth, what options they have for redemption and what it takes for them to move to the next level. And, again, this should be very simple and clear.
If you need help setting up your loyalty page or creating an explanation that is simple, clear, and written creatively, get some help. There are a number of writing services that have copy writing departments, such as Write Load or Canada-Writers. Or write your copy up and check it for readability, using an online tool.
3. Multiple Ways to Earn Points
The more ways a business can give customers to earn points, the better.
Come up with creative ways to do this:
- If you have social media accounts, create an engaging post and offer rewards points for followers to share that post.
- Offer a large chunk of points if customers download your app. Then you can use SMS to inform them of their point accumulations. This keeps your brand in front of your customers
- Through the app, offer bonus points each time a customer accesses your app and takes advantage of a special discount or offer.
- Give points on a customer’s birthday and notify them of the points on their special day, along with a birthday greeting.
Customers grow weary of only earning points by making purchases. You can set yourself apart by rewards for other actions. Sue McDonnell, head of marketing for Professional resume help says, “We give reward points every time a client returns for additional help/documents. But one of the most popular in our rewards program is a hefty number of points for referrals we offer. This doesn’t require a purchase and our clients like that.”
Reeboks recently launched ‘Reebok Unlocked’ program that also provides customers with several options for earning rewards. They can attend events, write reviews, purchase products, and interact with Reebok on social media to move up through the rewards program.
4. Use Email Regularly
Another way to remind customers of their point accumulation and the redemption options is through email. People do check their emails at least once a day. The key to keeping them engaged is to make sure they open those emails. And the way to get opens is to have a catchy, engaging subject line. How about something like, “Earn 500 rewards points with one click.”
5. Test and Test some More
This is certainly not a writing tip. But it is important. You must track responses to the content you use to engage your customers in your loyalty programs. Data from a loyalty program can help brands to proactively tweak the program. It’s important to understand the best performing activities, possible tactics to cater to the changing needs of customers. But the best overall evaluation, comes from tracking the actual redemption rate of your customers and identifying the factors hampering them from enrolling.
When All Is Said and Done…
Getting greater participation in your reward program is not just what you offer. It is how you convey all that you offer to your registrants that will engage them. The way you present your program, the way in which you keep your customers engaged, is directly related to your writing. Don’t take this for granted.
More About The Author: Amanda Sparks
Amanda Sparks is the head of the marketing department at Essay Supply company and blogger. She is passionate about developing innovative and customer-friendly solutions for brands.
You can follow Amanda on Twitter.