Loyalty Programs (page 2)

Make It Easy to Use

To get the maximum people to participate, engage and advocate your scheme you have to make it as simple to use as possible. Each extra step you add to the process will result in fewer enrolments and reduced participation.

Avoid “barriers to entry”…

  • Keep joining forms simple, with as few entries of the information you need to identify, communicate with and reward your members.
  • Having to remember any kind of membership number or PIN to redeem their points etc. If you must have some kind of “key identifier” make sure it’s something they’ll remember like a mobile phone number or email address.
  • Completing any kind of “customer experience survey” to get their points.
  • Printing a coupon, or remembering to bring it, much better to issue a voucher via your website, by email or by SMS text message… anything the customer can simply show to your staff to indicate they are eligible for a reward.

Integrate Everything

In a perfect world your loyalty system would be completely integrated with your EPOS tills (so staff can easily offer the reward), your stock control program (so you can account for all the freebies you give away) and your marketing program (posters, table talkers, banners, website adverts etc). Having separate solutions makes running a loyalty program difficult to manage and reconcile and can result in a significant amount of manual intervention to effectively manage the program. However unless you are running a state of the art system, which many pubs don’t own, then you will have to resign yourself to putting a little effort into the process. The trick is to make the message simple and uniform across all mediums and to be organised. The time you spend managing your program, if you keep it to the effective minimum, will be time well spent. So put some time aside each day or week or month to decide on what, when and which marketing tool you’ll be using; to keep address lists etc up to date and to inform your staff about what you’re planning.

By integrating your loyalty program you will open up new “marketing channels” or ways to spread the message. For instance your till receipts are ideal for carrying messages about promotions and rewards available to your loyalty program members and are ideal for enticing new members into the “club”. You can target your rewards to help build trade at specific times, Tuesday nights might be very quiet so you’d offer something like double points or buy one get one free. If you have social media enabled WiFi or a website then make sure the loyalty program is presented in the same way, consistency of the offer and the message is essential.

One other point of integration and yet another area that is driven by customer demographics is social media so make sure your loyalty solution is easily deliverable through messages on Facebook, Twitter and whatever the next social media craze is.

Less is More

Whichever methods you use to communicate with members, be strategic. Make sure you send at least one message a month, otherwise you’ll drift from customers’ minds, however  don’t send more than three in a month, otherwise you’ll end up in their mental and actual junk/spam folder. When you do send a message, make sure there is a loyalty offer included, for instance  a “surprise & delight” offer, it’s “just for them” as you “never need a reason to give something away” apart from “thanking them for their continued support”.

Make The Reward Appropriate

Your natural inclination will be to give away as little as possible, this is something you should resist. The most effective loyalty programs give away as much as is possible and is appropriate to the level of spending the customer has with your pub. Whist maintaining margins and keeping your business profitable are important you have to find the balance between too little and too much. Giving away an all inclusive holiday for four to customers who buy 10 pints is just as bad as giving them 1 free pint for every 1,000 they buy. You need to tailor your rewards to your customer base and their spending habits and above all give them something they want, this can be in the form of free products or gifts, it could even be a cash back offering on their payment card as this is the next best thing to cash. At special times such as the lead up to Christmas, Valentine’s Day or Mothers’ Day you could offer a reward bonus to encourage bookings.

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