Customer loyalty programs are an essential tool for almost any business, as a repeat customer spends 67% more than a new one. Yet, so often they are mismanaged or lack enough oomph to truly drive sales. Here are some key pointers to starting a program that truly rewards everyone.

1. Make it easy

Rewards programs work best if they are easy to join, easy to understand, and easy to earn points. Show your potential members the benefits in a clear manner and make joining a snap. When they reach a goal, make redeeming simple.

2. Make it tempting

If you want the privilege of getting your customer’s loyalty, you’ve got to come up with some real rewards. This means offering free goods or services that have value. Remember, you are trying to get their long-term affinity, which will end up offsetting any short term costs.When reaching international audiences, segmenting is going to mean more thorough research to understand how their personalities differ from those in America.

3. Be friendly

Always be available to answer questions your customer may have about the program. Handle returns and refunds with care. Treating them with respect will also build trust.

4. Be creative

Don’t just offer discounts or give points. Create a program that’s unique to your business and will encourage them to keep coming back and participating.

5. Be customer-centric

The REAL reward is having this connection with your consumer. Make sure to value their participation. This can mean personalization of communications as well as listening to what they would like from a rewards program.

6. Partner with others

Smaller companies banding together to create a larger rewards program can benefit everybody in the ecosystem. Reach out to complementary businesses and discuss the possibility of a rewards partnership.

7. Add a charitable element

Don’t just reward the customer, give to a good cause. For example, if you are are selling pet toys, you may want to donate a certain amount to a local animal shelter for every dollar spent.

8. Surprise them

A good rewards program should include some mystery or unexpected gifts. Limited offers can get them to act right away.

9. Make it fun!

Can you turn your rewards program into a game? Perhaps if they spend a certain amount of money they can roll a pair of dice or spin a virtual wheel.

10. Make it exclusive

Certain brands can create an elite membership club by having a subscription-based VIP program (think Amazon Prime). Offer members special perks like exclusive content or free shipping.

The bottom line: create a customer loyalty program that YOU would have a hard time turning down!

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