Loyalty incentives

Loyalty Incentives

Reward your customers - they'll reward you with repeat business.

The best way to motivate customer behavior is to provide an incentive or reward for that motivation. Rewarding your customers for a specific purchasing behavior is not much different than training your puppy. With enough repetition and positive reinforcement, your pup can be motivated to act upon command. That's because the pup knows if it listens to your command, it'll receive a reward. Human nature isn't much different. People can be motivated to accomplish their buying goals while also accomplishing your goals such as increased spending, frequency of visits or combination purchases.

The question is, how do you motivate behavior? Here are some ideas:
  • Offer soft benefits that provide value such as special access limited only to members.
  • Offer relevant promotions through various lines of communication, for example: e-mail, SMS text, receipt messages, statement inserts, RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Up-sell complimentary products or services on the spot.
  • Offer sweepstakes, random rewards or special offers for a limited time frame, keep your strategy fresh and exciting.
  • Strategically place messages (via signage, web banners, etc.) that will trigger motivating actions.

Motivate, But Don't Mislead

Once you decide how you'll motivate, always do so in an honorable way. Your customers won't want to be misled into thinking they are receiving something greater in value that what the reward actually is.

We've all seen the programs that offer empty loyalty. They offer an elaborate rewards program on the outside when, indeed, it's only a façade to increase business without any payout. In time, savvy customers will lift the hood and kick the tires - the promotions must stand on their own and offer real value, not empty promises. This kind of customer knowlege can also backfire and cause disloyalty amongst your customers and defeat the entire purpose of implementing your strategy in the first place.

So why is honorable motivation important to a new customer? Maintaining loyalty and a positive image is very important in a rewards situation. Loyal customers have earned the right to receive a valid reward. If they weren't enrolled in your program, they may have taken their business elsewhere. If you want to be in the loyalty game, you have to offer attractive redemption items that are achievable for your customers to earn. If customers are willing to change their purchasing behavior, they will expect a relevant reward in return from you.

Little Things Matter Most

If you put on your consumer hat, you'll understand that it's the little things that matter most. One component you should incorporate is providing incentives the customer will feel good about. Be clever and use some creative thinking to find something that customers will appreciate. Some companies offer free Wi-Fi, others offer free shipping. Whatever you decide, find your niche and add feel-good loyalty to the mix.

A great example is photofiddle.com, which prints and frames custom prints. With every order, they include a pair of white cotton gloves. The label attached to the gloves reads, "All fine artwork should be handled with care. Please use white cotton gloves. Oils from your hands and fingers can leave finger prints. Jewelry on your fingers and wrist can leave markings."

That's a personal touch and that's feel-good-loyalty. It's doing the little things that matter most with customers. It's thinking outside the box so that your brand motivates your customers and resonates in their mind. It reinforces the need to treat the artwork with care and that photofiddle treats all of their customers with care. So, what's your next motivational move going to be?

Source: Roger L. Brooks via entrepreneur.com

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