Creating a Customer Loyalty Program

Small businesses are now providing perks like customer loyalty programs.

Big businesses have long maintained customer loyalty programs, but more and more small businesses are now providing similar perks. If you are ready to update an old-fashioned punch card system with a more modern customer loyalty program, follow these tips.

Carefully Structure Your Rewards

Your customer loyalty program should be worthwhile for your business but still offer attainable rewards for customers. A great program strikes a balance between these two goals.
Get Creative
The rewards you offer do not have to be expensive, but they should be enticing to customers. They should also be recognizably connected to your business. A great example of a creative reward comes from Tpumps, a tea shop in Northern California. Their most loyal customers receive a stuffed panda bear and a free cup of tea after accumulating 150 points. The plush toys have become a symbol of the shop and a coveted object among regulars.
Make It Fun
Introducing a game aspect to your rewards program makes it more fun for customers. Keep a list of customers with the most points, or set up the ?mayor? feature on Foursquare to connect with your business. Customers who check in to your business often can earn that title and “bragging rights” among their friends.
Promote the Program
Advertise your customer loyalty program through social media, email newsletters and traditional mediums. Promote it within your company by training employees about how it works and encouraging them to mention it to your customers.
Keep it Fresh
Keep your customers active by regularly updating your specials and rewards. For instance, one month, reward double points when customers refer others to your establishment. The following month, offer twice the amount of points for promotions on Twitter or Facebook.
Partner with Complimentary Businesses
Create a sense of community, boost your marketing efforts and save on your customer loyalty program by partnering with a complementary or neighboring business. You’ll share the cost of the rewards and gain a new audience. For example, if you run a gym, partner with the nearby massage center to offer customers free rub-downs after signing up with a personal trainer.
Use a Service
If keeping track of loyalty points seems overwhelming or too complicated, partner with a program provider that will do the hard work for you. You’ll pay a small monthly subscription, be able to customize your program and enjoy all the benefits of a loyalty program without the headaches.