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In episode 35 of the Customers Who Click podcast I had a great chat with Fiona Stevens, the Head of Marketing at LoyaltyLion.
Loyalty schemes are a great way of driving long term value for your business. They’re a really powerful way of driving repeat business, but are also fantastic for driving engagement with other areas of your brand such as social media.
You can use them to build communities, gather more detailed feedback, launch new or exclusive products, and many other ways of building loyalty and engagement with your customers.
Fiona Stevens is the Head of Marketing at LoyaltyLion, a data-driven loyalty and engagement platform for fast-growth ecommerce merchants. LoyaltyLion helps thousands of retailers worldwide to build fully customised loyalty programs, proven to increase customer engagement, retention and spend. Fiona has over ten years’ experience in Marketing, having worked in-house and agency side across functions including PR, SEO and content. She has specialised in loyalty for retail and ecommerce brands for the past five years.
05:21 - 15:00 - What are Loyalty Schemes all about and who do they work for? - Loyalty programs get a bit of a bad reputation, and part of this is down to not clearly knowing how to earn points, and not clearly knowing how to redeem them. But actually, loyalty schemes are a great way of encouraging the next purchase and engaging them. Lots of companies now are using loyalty programs to demonstrate what they stand for, and allowing customers to redeem points towards a social cause instead of a discount.
15:16 - 19:45 - Myths & Misconceptions about Loyalty Programs - Firstly that a program has to be expensive to run, and that by having more discounts and rewards the program gets really expensive, however what you’ll find is that the additional lifetime value generated by engaged members easily pays for the cost of the program. Other rewards can include experiences, or opportunities to engage with the brand, give feedback, be involved in product innovation. The second is that loyalty schemes are complex to implement. They can be of course, but you can start small, start off by rewarding a first purchase, a birthday, and maybe a follow on social media. Then add in reviews, referrals, experiences as you begin to understand what people want.
20:10 - 28:55 - Where to start with a Loyalty Program - The best place to start is getting an understanding of your customer base, looking at the segments and identifying who your most valuable customers are, how much they spend, and what you want to achieve with a program. Secondly, make it easy to earn, and easy to spend. If your customers don't understand this, they won't actively engage, and won’t redeem them except when a reward naturally occurs, this is where you will start to lose money. Finally, branding, build the scheme into your brand and make it relevant, even if it’s simply a naming convention to tie rewards to your brand.
29:05 - 38:23 - The Biggest & Most Common Mistakes with Loyalty Programs - A missed opportunity is viewing loyalty purely as a retention tool, when actually they can have a huge impact on acquisition. If you can use your program to generate reviews you can build up a huge base of 5 star reviews and user generated content that will drive word of mouth and convince new customers to try your business. This can have a huge impact on your CAC. Secondly, siloing your loyalty program and just letting it do its thing. Actually, it can connect up to so many other areas of your business to drive value, whether it’s reviews, or being tied in to customer service who can reward customers who contact them.
38:37 - 44:30 - Upcoming Trends in Loyalty - More and more shoppers are making purchases based on brand values, so it’s really important to build that into your loyalty program. Some brands allow you to donate your points to charity instead of redeeming a voucher, others give you points for good behaviour such as recycling. The other big trend is around content, and providing exclusive access and content to VIP reward members in order to build a community. This engages customers, but also builds word of mouth, reviews and overall sentiment towards the brand.
44:52 - 54:42 - Fiona’s Pet Peeves - Misinformation, when an advert or email gets your really excited, but once you click through you’re completely underwhelmed. Whether you’re expecting some amazing content which proves to be a bit rubbish, a huge sale which doesn’t include any products you’re interested in, or a promotion which actually has heavy restrictions that make it inaccessible.
54:49 - 58:40 - Fiona’s Most Underrated Aspect of Marketing - People, getting people to the front of the brand and making sure customers know there are actually people involved throughout the business. Have employees explain why they choose certain products and just create the human touch for why the business is actually selling what it’s selling.