The task of building a loyalty program can be big or as small depending on your needs. If you want, you can have a loyalty program up and running in a matter of days. However, an out-of-the-box program might not be for everyone. Especially if you want to give members a special experience.

So, what can a beginner do to launch a winning loyalty program? We’ve got six unmissable steps that will ensure your new program launches successfully and drives loyalty from the get-go.

Keep reading for more details and examples on:

  • Consistent branding
  • How to give it some heart
  • Sign up offers
  • Crystal clear benefits
  • Launch party
  • Being seen.

♾️ Consistent branding

A loyalty program acts as an extension of your brand. So whatever style and features you’re going for, make sure it is in keeping with the rest of your brand identity.

Take time to think about a clever identity for your program. This can be achieved through the name of your program or points. The pet food brand, Edgard & Cooper, call their points “Belly Rubs”. The home-baking kit brand, Baked In, call their points “Brownie Points”. This will make your program memorable.

The accessories brand, Skinnydip, is an excellent example of how to give your rewards program an identity. They’ve named it Skinnydip Airlines and incorporated the airline theme throughout the program by naming their tiers things like, 'Check In' and 'Departure Lounge'.

To make sure you’re sticking with consistent branding, customize the design of your loyalty program page to suit your brand. Make it look totally your own and not provided by a third-party. Check out these examples from North Spore and Kowtow to see more ways to adapt your program page to match your site through fonts and colors to imagery.

❤️ Give it some heart

In 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic shook up shopping habits. Consumers discovered new and virtuous brands online. Heartfelt campaigns such as "shop local” and “support small businesses” were a huge success because they appealed to consumers’ emotions.

Because emotionally connected customers spend more, use a tool such as a loyalty program to establish an emotional bond with your members.

One of the most effective ways to do this is with innovative rewards and ways to earn points. 68% of customers say they’re motivated by knowing that a brand shares the same values as them. Utilize this by incorporating your brand values into your loyalty program experience.

If environmental-friendliness is important to your brand, award customers points for positive actions such as recycling their packaging. The beauty brand Pacifica Beauty awards members 100 points for engaging with their recycling program. This solidifies the environmental values of the brand.

Or you could give members the option to plant a tree as part of your rewards, like eco-brand, FourState.

If you’re a cruelty-free beauty or a pet brand, you can appeal to your customers’ love of animals by offering members charitable rewards to animal shelters, like Edgard & Cooper have done.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to showing off your brand values. Be creative and use your personality to connect emotionally with your members.

✍️ An irresistible sign-up offer

It’s a tricky business getting customers over the line and signed up for your loyalty program. That’s why it’s important to offer them an incentive they can’t refuse. Money-off vouchers, discount codes, free shipping, free products or bonus points for creating an account are all good examples. Whatever you choose to offer, make it good so customers aren’t afraid to take the leap.

Loyalty program members have an overall higher customer lifetime value than non-members. By driving program sign-ups, you’re encouraging shoppers to take the next step in their customer loyalty journey.

From there, you can nurture them with tailored loyalty messages that will drive them to make repeat purchases, redeem rewards, and generally engage more with your program and brand. With careful nurturing, this newborn customer will eventually become a full-grown loyal brand advocate.

🔮 Crystal clear benefits

It may seem like a simple step, but you’d be surprised at how many merchants over-complicate their messaging around their loyalty program.

77% of consumers say that they’re motivated to join a loyalty program when the benefits were clearly communicated. Concise messaging that excites people is critical to the success of your loyalty program. Make it too complex at the start and you’ll lose people at the first hurdle.

Instead, lure people in with your most exciting benefits. Use them in the promotion of your loyalty program and to drive them to a sign-up page. Here, clearly display all of the program benefits and rules in a way that is easy to understand. You want to sell visitors on your loyalty program as quickly as possible and remove any doubt.

🎉 Launch party

When you’re putting time and energy into creating this new amazing feature for your customers, why not shout about it and get them excited?

Social media is a great place to advertise your new program. Try sharing a series of posts that followers can learn from and engage with. You could also do some paid posts to expand your reach to new customers and get them interested in your program, like this example from Pemy.

Don’t underestimate the power of an extended launch. Dripfeed details about the new program into people’s inboxes and social feeds before it has launched. That will pique people’s interests.

You could also offer loyal customers early VIP access to the program or, allow a certain number of customers to sign up first. Again, by offering customers exclusive access, you will grab their attention.

There’s no end to what you could do to get consumers excited about your launch. Spend time developing a campaign that will work for you and your customers.

👀 Be seen

Once your program is launched, don’t assume everyone knows about it. You’re likely getting new visitors to your site or followers on social media every day. For these new customers, include a banner or pop-up on your homepage that will let new shoppers know about your program and drive them to become members. On social media, regularly share posts advertising your program so that recent followers can learn about your program too.

Post-purchase emails are also a great place to drive program sign-ups. Shoppers have recently been delighted enough to buy from you and you’ll be front-of-mind. Include a CTA in your order confirmation emails that lets shoppers find out more about your loyalty program, its benefits and how to sign up.

Key takeaways

Sometimes, getting started is the hardest part of running a loyalty program. Use these six steps to get your new loyalty program off on the right foot and to go from zero to hero in no time.

If you want to know more about setting up an ecommerce loyalty program for your business, book a conversation with one of our loyalty consultants.

LoyaltyLion is a data-driven loyalty and engagement platform trusted by thousands of ecommerce brands worldwide. Merchants use LoyaltyLion when they want a fully customized loyalty program that is proven to increase customer engagement, retention and spend. Stores using LoyaltyLion typically generate at least $15 for every $1 they spend on the platform.

Written by Alison Murtagh. Alison is a marketing executive at LoyaltyLion. After starting at the company as office manager, she began helping the Marketing team with projects in her spare time. Since then, she has developed a strong interest in marketing and joined the team full-time, working on content, events and social media.