Customer Loyalty, Step One: JOIN, Step Two: STAY

You may find it easy to attract new customers with the lure of incentives, deals or promotions. BUT, are you keeping them after that? A recent Forbes article, Warning: Is Your New Customer Coming Back? 4 Steps You Should Take Now, explains that spending all that effort and time bringing in new customers may be costing you a lot more than it would keeping an existing one- in some cases 6 to 7 times more!

Of course attracting new customers is a crucial part of your loyalty program that should not be abandoned but a healthy balance between attracting the new and nurturing the current can spell success for your loyalty program as a whole.

Recognizing your current customers in a unique way can give them that sense of ‘special’ treatment that encourages them to stick around:

Try Saying Thanks – Sounds simple enough but it’s sometimes forgotten that a thank you goes a long way. Try sending a ‘Thank You for Your Loyalty’ email to customers who reach the one year mark, five year mark, etc. Customers don’t always need an incentive or reward for being loyal, just a little appreciation.

Use holidays as a way to appreciate your current customers- Sending out gift cards to The Children’s Place on Mother’s Day, gift cards to 1-800-Flowers on Valentine’s Day, or gift cards to CVS/pharmacy on a customer’s birthday shows how much their loyalty means all year round.

Take the time to take a special interest in your customer, it’s got its rewards.

Check out Forbes, Warning: Is Your New Customer Coming Back? 4 Steps You Should Take Now to get more ideas on keeping your customers close.

Lauren is the Marketing Specialist here at GiftCard Partners. She enjoys all things marketing and design related. Learning about the newest trends and technologies in the b2b gift card world and seeing how we can use them to develop the best experience for our audience and reader base is our goal.

Take-aways from Loyalty Expo: Social media, personalizing loyalty & mobile segmentation

GCP’s Vice President of  Sales, Diane Freeland, is back from Loyalty 360’s annual Loyalty Expo & shares the top discussions that caught her attention.

Social media and customer care: Social media has altered the role of customer service in an organization, from primarily a support function to an extension of marketing. Brands can listen to what customers are saying, they can be proactive and more widely solicit product or service feedback, offer incentives like gift cards or points for sharing product information. Many of GCP’s clients are taking social media seriously, 1-800-Flowers was one of the first retailers to use Facebook’s platform.

For more details on social media & customer care, check out: How to Integrate Customer Service Into Social Media Marketing. It also includes 12 Ways Social Media Enhances Customer Service and 5 Ways to Measure Social Media Customer Service.

What’s next for loyalty programs? Are traditional points based loyalty programs dead?  The consensus was NO. However, significantly different redemption options need to be brought into the mix with gift cards, merchandise, and travel rewards (e.g intrinsic rewards like virtual game currency). We heard some interesting discussion around personalizing loyalty rewards for individual participants. Traditional loyalty programs offer everyone the same reward options; when rewards are personalized it starts a dialogue and treats the customer to rewards they’ve selected versus what is offered across the program. What if customers can select or “favorite” categories of rewards like gift cards for children’s clothes, brands of merchandise like “Apple”, and travel customized to “Inns on the east coast”? The learnings from programs like this could go a long way for the development of loyalty programs that listen!

Mobile Segmentation Marketing: Another interesting way to listen and respond to loyal customers; shaping customer personas based on their mobile usage. This allows thoughtful marketers to send the right kinds of messages to the right users and reward for loyalty via the right technology. The goal is to better increase the value of customer relationships based on how customers use their mobile phones, like m-certs (mobile gift cards). Carlson Marketing gave some great examples of how they are engaging in this strategy for the Hallmark Crown Rewards loyalty program; “Interactions turned into transactions”.

For more insights to mobile technology and gift cards, read GCP’s article: Why Mobile & Virtual Gift Cards are Becoming a Way of Life

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Established in 2004, GiftCard Partners is an award-winning leader and outsourced solution provider for merchant B2B gift card programs through key distribution channels.