5 Customer Loyalty Programs for Email Marketers

CM Commerce Team

With the new year rolling in, many marketing teams are looking into customer loyalty program ideas to add to their marketing strategy. Whether you’re searching for ways to increase your customer retention rates or your overall user engagement rates, a customer loyalty program could provide you with many benefits.

What’s even better is the fact that customer loyalty programs come in quite literally hundreds of different forms. This means that your team has plenty of different avenues you can explore when contemplating customer loyalty program ideas for your brand.

Haven’t yet considered a customer loyalty or rewards program for your brand? Maybe it’s time you do.

Why you need a customer loyalty program in your marketing strategy

When it comes to customer retention, having a customer loyalty or rewards program in place can help. When it comes to acquiring a new customer, it can be anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than trying to retain or re-engage an existing one.

There are multiple aspects of the retail shopping experience that consumers take into account when choosing who to do business with. In 2019, internet users worldwide ranked earning rewards or loyalty points as one of the most valuable aspects they considered in their shopping experience.

Aspects of the Retail Shopping Experience That Internet Users Worldwide Value Most

Source: eMarketer

In fact, when it comes to choosing brands, 83% of consumers said that the presence of a loyalty program encourages them to continue doing business with their favorite brands. This is important to note, as repeat customers play an essential role in your sales.

Repeat buyers are also spending more per visit than first-time consumers. These loyal customers are buying nearly 30% more items per order than first-time shoppers and are generating anywhere between 3-7 times more revenue per visit.

Finally, if you haven’t yet considered a customer loyalty program, you’ll want to consider that repeat customers are great for word-of-mouth marketing. Loyal customers tell their friends and loved ones about their favorite brands and about the positive experiences they’ve had, so increase your chances of these repeat, loyal customers by implementing a customer loyalty program of your very own.

Inspiration: 5 customer loyalty program for email marketing

Customer loyalty program ideas are aplenty; however, finding one that works for you can seem rather intimidating. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by all the options available to you. To help inspire you, we’ve compiled a list of five customer loyalty program ideas that hundreds of popular brands utilize. Consider each one before diving into your creative process.

1. VIP status

One of the most popular customer loyalty program ideas in use by thousands of brands is the VIP customer loyalty program. Customers are more drawn to the VIP status because it’s automatically associated with the idea of receiving perks.

Sixty-nine percent of consumers say that their choice in retailers is frequently influenced by where they can earn customer loyalty or rewards program points. Simply having a VIP program could very well boost your new lead numbers.

When designing a VIP customer loyalty program, you want to start including the incentives right off the bat. FabKids did an excellent job of this by including two different rewards in their new VIP welcome email:

  • $10 towards their first purchase
  • Free shipping
 FabKids Offers Two VIP Sign-up Incentives

Source: Milled

What makes VIP customer loyalty programs so enticing for brands is just how flexible they can be. VIP status can mean just about anything, so, whether you’re looking to build a multi-tier program or a simple point-based program, you have plenty of options you can toy with.

2. Birthday or anniversary perks

Consumers want to be recognized and, in email marketing, personalization is vital. So why not combine these two things together in a special birthday or anniversary “club” rewards program for your customers?

This is an excellent way to not only recognize your customers but also gather vital consumer data without coming off as nosy. By offering up a “birthday club” incentive, you can give them the option of entering their birthday to receive special promotions.

Anniversary perks are easy for brands because they can keep a record of when someone opts into their email list without asking for additional information. So, in this case, you’ll want to create a customer loyalty program based on user engagement. Encourage active users to continue engaging with your brand by providing personalized updates on how they’ve engaged with your brand throughout the year and include varying “rewards” for their activities.

David’s Tea did a wonderful job of rewarding their active members with special perks through their anniversary email campaign. To celebrate their brand anniversary, David’s Tea rewarded active members for simply being an active part of the family. They even took personalization to a new level by outlining the user’s most frequent activities throughout the year.

Anniversary Reward Examples

Source: Really Good Emails

3. Gamification

Gamification is a customer loyalty rewards program idea that may not sound familiar to you; however, you see it all around. From mobile apps to pay-per-click ads and even in email marketing, brands are encouraging their customers to stay loyal and engaged by turning their content into a game.

Gamification can take on several different forms, including:

  • An in-app game
  • A “click-to-play” mobile ad that speeds up wait time in a free app
  • A contest for points or a specific reward

The ultimate idea, again, is to motivate consumers to stay active within your brand. In the following example from Postable, they use gamification to encourage members to take part in a recent survey. If a customer takes part in the voting, they’re automatically entered to win free products.

Gamification Example in Email Marketing

Source: Really Good Emails

4. Flexible loyalty rewards

In today’s age of omnichannel marketing, you want to make sure that you’re including a sense of flexibility in your customer loyalty reward program ideas. Flexibility is great because it allows your loyal customers to use their points as they see fit. This plays a significant role when trying to increase new member signups because consumers like options.

Many popular brands include flexible loyalty rewards into their various memberships, including Walgreens and Amazon. The idea is to allow your loyal customers to use their points as they see fit, like Starbucks does in their customer rewards program.

Starbucks Customer Loyalty Rewards Example

Source: Really Good Emails

Once a customer has accumulated enough points, they can redeem them for a favorite snack or beverage. What makes this an enticing offer is that no two people are the same, so offering an “open” option allows your customers to personalize their experience.

5. Affiliate or partner programs

Finally, when it comes to creating a more personalized customer loyalty program, you may want to consider an affiliate or partner program. These customer loyalty program ideas allow your customers to either:

  • Combine offers at participating locations
  • Make use of cross-store discounts
  • Accumulate “points” across multiple locations and more

Affiliate or partner program ideas are great for small businesses or those who are looking to broaden their customer base. For example, many pharmaceutical brands have begun partnering up with the fitness tracker brand, Fitbit, to help keep their customers not only engaged in their brand, but to help their end goal of getting more people to join their loyalty programs. One example is the Walgreens balance rewards program and its partnership with Fitbit. The more Fitbit users move, the more reward points they can earn once they’ve synced the two mobile apps.

SavingsStar did a wonderful job of keeping its consumers up to date with what programs their consumers have linked up to in the following email. They start by taking the time to review what options the user’s already taken advantage of. From there, it gives them the option to register their card elsewhere to continue earning more points.

SavingsStar Partner Program

Source: Really Good Emails

Wrap up

With literally hundreds of different customer loyalty program ideas out there, your options truly are unlimited. If you’re struggling to find a program that you think would work for you and your customers, consider one of the previous five examples:

  • Flexible rewards programs that allow your customers to choose how they use their points
  • Affiliate programs that allow your consumers to use their points in a broader range of ways
  • Implementing a birthday or anniversary perks system to encourage user engagement
  • Incorporating gamification into your program to encourage user engagement
  • Implementing a simple VIP status program to give consumers special incentives

While perks and incentives are a great place to start with your customer loyalty program, it’s vital you remember that consumers are looking for a positive experience with your brand over anything else.

Are you looking for ways to give your consumers a more positive experience with your brand? Then make sure you’re creating relevant content that caters to your consumer’s needs. Start by reading our guide to creating personalized customer experiences with relevant content today!