Email marketers tasked with promoting loyalty programs often wonder what will work.
That’s easy. Consumers like discounts -- especially instant ones, according to the 2019 Loyalty Barometer Report from HelloWorld, a Merkle company.
But nothing is that simple. The study states that “promotional overlays are short-term tactics that motivate specific behaviors and layer onto existing programs without changing the program framework.”
That doesn’t mean they lead to long-term loyalty. Ancient direct marketing wisdom is that prospects enticed by cheap offers are not the best long-term customers.
Still, the study provides clues about what people want out of loyalty programs, and marketers should offer these benefits not only in promotional emails, but in cart abandonment, welcome and browse follow-ups.
Of the consumers polled, 77% crave free products. Another 75% expect discounts/offers. And 66% want free samples, while 57% want free services.
In addition, 41% welcome opportunities to win something, and 32% like surprises from brands.
Here are the main reasons people participate in loyalty programs:
And beware: Many people dislike being bombarded with emails and other messages. Here’s what loyalty members don’t like:
(I would add one complaint of my own: That it’s too hard to track accumulated points in many programs).
Of course, the most effective benefits vary with the sector.
Credit card holders like instant rewards/discounts and the ability to choose rewards — 60% say so. Personalized rewards are last, cited by 36%.
Travel customers are similar — 60% want instant rewards and 59% want the ability to choose rewards. Only 34% care about personalized rewards.
On the retail front, 63% want instant rewards and discounts, and 52% apiece demand surprise rewards. Also, 39% want personalized rewards.
Finally, 63% of CPG customers list instant rewards.
That brings us to the question of how to best engage with customers. The choices, which seemed more geared toward shopping in general than loyalty programs per se, include:
Here’s one more preference, cited by 6%: “No interactions are important to me.”
HelloWorld surveyed 1,500 consumers in the U.S.