Updated: Jul 29
Time and again we have seen how a strong Rewards and Loyalty Program builds engagement and loyalty for both employers and member organizations of all sizes. Valuable and easy to use reward programs provide a simple and inexpensive way to show you care about your employees and/or your members while supporting your recruitment, retention, loyalty and engagement initiatives.
Reward programs that allow members to demonstrate their membership through a mobile app or membership card to access "Members-Only" offers are particularly popular.
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 Rewards and Loyalty 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 a different city. A great reward program will have enticing offers from a broad range of retailers or service providers.
When evaluating a program, see which retail brands are on board and get examples of the types of offers available. Then think of your group. Do the offers appeal to members of all ages? Men and women? The various types of people within your organization (eg. professional, office, tradespeople, etc.). Singles? Families? Etc.
Ideally, most of the retailer promotions 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. Ensure the Rewards and Loyalty Program benefits are top of mind and easy to find
Your program can have the best deals in the world, but if the individuals in your group don’t know about them, they’ll go unused and people will lose interest. The more touch points in the rewards and loyalty program, and the better the 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 and mobile app 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.
Don’t forget, not everything has to be electronic. There are still those who prefer traditional communications, like magazines, letters, newsletters, live events or posters. Find out the range of ways a rewards and loyalty program can reach out to your group and consider ways to cross promote through your existing 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 retail brands.
3. Members are mobile
These days, people are all about mobile apps. Member rewards and loyalty programs are no exception. Apps makes it easy for people to search for deals wherever they go (no need to haul around an old-fashioned coupon book or print off an offer).
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. Verify your membership when you first sign up … then let the savings begin!
4. Make it easy and instant to redeem an offer
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 either in-store or online will provide an immediate benefit – making the members in your group much happier and more engaged in the platform.
5. Are there major savings 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 rewards and loyalty 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, on-boarding new members will be a piece of cake. Ongoing support will also help you keep the program relevant long after you’ve launched.
These six tips will help you assess and select the best rewards and loyalty program for your group. Remember, once launched, there are many ways you can keep ensuring engagement with your reward and loyalty program.