In an overcrowded marketplace where brand differentiation isn’t always apparent, brand awareness is a key driver of consumer purchase decisions. In fact, customers are 60% more likely to purchase from a brand they’ve heard of than from one they’re unfamiliar with. An investment in loyalty can help a brand stand out from the competition, drive brand awareness, and increase revenue.
Here’s how to design a loyalty program that that boosts the profile of your brand.
Reward members for referring a friend
Referrals are an effective way of increasing brand awareness. A loyalty program’s membership is made up of a brand’s best customers and most likely advocates. By including refer-a-friend activities in your loyalty program, you are able to fill the top of your sales funnel by leveraging the influence of your existing loyal customers. In return your customers are rewarded for introducing a potential new customer to your brand. Sleep Number’s online loyalty program, InnerCircle, rewards members for introducing new customers to the brand. Program members earn $100 for each successful referral, and after 10 successful referrals, they are awarded with an additional $799!
Form strategic partnerships
Not only does the right partnership help extend value to your existing customer base, it also broadens your reach and connects your brand to potential new customers. By building in partnerships as part of your loyalty offering, both brands have the ability to increase visibility and potentially connect to a new and relevant audience. For example, by partnering with Uber, Spotify was able to reach a new audience and promote their subscription-based music streaming service by enabling members to listen to their own Spotify playlist during Uber rides. Simultaneously, this partnership incentivizes Spotify customers to choose Uber over other transportation apps.
Incentivize content sharing & social connect
Content marketing can help you build greater exposure for your brand and help consumers during the buying process. The more valuable the content, the more shareable it becomes. You can incentivize loyalty members to share blog posts and video content across their social networks by rewarding them with points. This is a very effective tactic to build into your loyalty program, considering research indicates 33.2% of social posts can reach up to 999 people. Also consider rewarding customers for connecting their social accounts and checking in on their social networks. This helps increase visibility for your brand and keeps existing members engaged. For example, Carhartt’s Groundbreaker Loyalty Program offers members 25 points for visiting a store location and checking in on Facebook.
Encourage product reviews
Product reviews are an effective way to increase brand awareness. According to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Positive reviews can influence a consumer’s decision to purchase. Incorporating product reviews as a point-earning activity is an effective way of driving up the number of online reviews from your most loyalty customers and building your brand’s reputation. Product reviews are not only a valuable source of feedback for a brand, they also make customers feel heard and appreciated. Steve Madden’s loyalty program, SM Pass, rewards members with 50 points for writing a product review.
Surprise and delight loyal customers
Incorporating surprise and delight tactics as part of your loyalty initiative is a great way of strengthening the emotional connection between your brand and customers. It can also be used to increase brand awareness. When customers receive unexpected gifts and perks from brands they like, they are inclined to share the experience with their friends and family. Zumiez is an example of a brand that incorporates surprise & delight into their loyalty program. In one surprise and delight campaign run by the brand, inactive members of The Zumiez Stash loyalty program received a secret hashtag to post on social media to earn bonus loyalty points. This gave recipients a fun way to re-engage in the program and generated buzz about the program on social media, increasing the brand’s reach and awareness.