Time and again we have seen how a strong loyalty rewards program builds engagement and loyalty for both employers and member organizations. Great and easy to use reward programs provide a simple and inexpensive way to show you care about your employees and/or your members.
Programs that allow people to show their card at participating retailers to get an exclusive “cardholder’s-only” offer are particularly popular. Why? Because people like to save money. And if you can help them access savings they can’t get anywhere else – it can help win their approval and earn their loyalty.
So, how do you go about choosing a savings-based reward program that makes sense for your organization? Here are six tips for choosing a winning reward program.
1. Pick a reward program that offers something for everyone.
Your team or members are a diverse group. An offer that excites Cynthia in Engineering may not necessarily appeal to Matt from Shipping or Jamie in Communications. A great reward program will have enticing offers from a broad range of retailers or service providers.
When evaluating a program, see which merchants are on board and get examples of the types of offers available. Then think of your team. Do the offers appeal to members of all ages? Men and women? The various types of people within your organization (eg. professional, clerical, tradespeople, etc.). Singles? Families? Etc.
Ideally, most of the companies and offers will have universal appeal (eg. savings on groceries or a discount at an oil change service). That said, others may be specifically targeted (eg. discounts to your local Zoo may appeal to the parents, but not those without kids) – but that’s okay. As long as there is something for everyone you’ll be golden.
2. Make sure program offers are top of mind and easy to find.
Your program can have the best deals in the world, but if your group doesn't know about them, they’ll go unused and people will lose interest.
The more touch points the program, and the better offers are promoted, the more engaged your employees and/or members will be.
Programs that use multiple platforms to reach members are more effective than one-dimensional programs. Being able to search and access offers via a website is a must. Working with a program-provider that sends out regular email updates around new or timely offers is a fantastic way to ensure your program is always top of mind.
Not everything has to be electronic. There are still those who prefer traditional communications, like magazines, letters, newsletters or posters. Find out the range of ways a reward program can reach out to your group… and consider ways to cross promote through your existing inter-office or organization's communication channels. There may even be a chance to have your program provider do a lunch and learn to highlight some of the key offers or participating merchants.
3. It’s 2020: there better be an app!
These days, people are all about the app. Member reward programs are no exception. Apps makes it easy for people to search for deals wherever they go (no need to haul around a coupon book or print off an offer).
And if people don’t want to carry another loyalty card in their wallet, no problem! Many apps have the membership number and barcode built in… so the retailer can simply scan or input the necessary account info from the user’s mobile device.
These apps are generally available through the leading app stores for both Android and iOS devices. To begin, simply enter a name and card number… then let the savings begin!
4. Make it easy to redeem an offer – instantly.
Programs that make a person call a 1-800 number, print off coupons or wait to receive the offer are frustrating. However, those that offer the members in your group a chance to save instantly by either showing their reward card in-store on their app or shopping online will provide an immediate benefit – without fussing around.
5. Are there a few big-ticket items that offer major saving potential?
While it’s great to be able to save $5 here and $20 there, people’s eyes light up when they can get some significant savings that are only available through your reward program.
Imagine how your employees and/or members would react if they could save hundreds on home insurance – or thousands when buying a new car or even a new home! When choosing a reward program, ask what big ticket items are on the menu. If you’re impressed, your group members will be too.
6. Finally, make sure it’s not a lot of work for you.
The best programs not only offer great savings, they also save your team from dedicating a lot of work and resources to administer it.
Look for a program that offers a full turnkey solution. It is especially important that you get administrative support and help promoting the program when it is launched. Once it is up and running, onboarding new members will be a piece of cake. Ongoing support will also help you keep the program relevant long after you’ve launched.