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Customer Rewards Program: 9 Ways To Reward Loyal Customers

Posted by Kevin Yun | Mar 31, 2023

Image source: "Positive multiethnic students working together on laptops", by William Fortunato, licensed under Free to Use

Regardless of your industry, cultivating customer loyalty is essential if you want to achieve long-term success.

There's no denying customers are the backbone of every thriving business. They contribute to consistent revenue and act as powerful brand advocates that attract new customers.

One of the best ways to capitalize on the value of customer loyalty is to implement a customer rewards program to retain and incentivize your most devoted clientele.

These programs have many benefits, like encouraging repeat business, enhancing customer engagement, and building a lasting bond between customers and your brand. On the plus side, there are many different types of loyalty programs you can choose from.

In this blog post, we'll share nine ways to reward loyal customers. By doing this, your business will become stronger and more successful in a market that is becoming more and more competitive.

Let's dive in!

#1 Give Customers Personalized Offers and Discounts

We see examples of extreme personalization every day from companies like Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon. As a result, consumers now expect the same level of personalization from businesses of all sizes. Investing in personalization efforts to build relationships and create better experiences can pay off with significant rewards for brands.

According to a study by Accenture, 91% of consumers say they are more inclined to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are tailored to their individual preferences.

One way how you can personalize your rewards is by tailoring promotions based on customer preferences and purchase history.

Let's say you're an online education platform that offers courses on various topics, such as business, technology, and creative arts. You can track each user's course history and preferences and then use this information to personalize offers for each user according to their interests.

For example, if a user has taken a few courses on coding, you can send them an email offer for an advanced coding course that's just got released on the platform. Or, if a user has previously expressed interest in entrepreneurship, you could offer a discount on a business planning course.

Another idea for your customer rewards program is to celebrate special occasions like the customer's subscription anniversary or their birthday to offer them exclusive perks, like discounts, a free month of service, or early access to the product.

By offering personalized loyal customer rewards, you can show customers that you value their loyalty and understand their individual needs, ultimately strengthening the relationship between them and your company.

#2 Invite Customers to Test New Products and Services

The phrase "early access" is closely associated with exclusivity and privilege. This is because having access to products or services that are not available to everyone else taps into our innate desire to feel unique and special.

Many businesses today are rewarding customers by inviting them to test new products and services before they are officially launched. By giving loyal customers first dibs on sales events or product launches, businesses can show their appreciation and build excitement around their offerings.

If you want to use this customer loyalty reward for your program, the good news is that it can be done by informing customers via email or other communication channels.

For example, let's say you're a cryptocurrency wallet app. You could invite your loyal customers to test out a new mobile and desktop app that allows users to access their cryptocurrency wallet from both devices. This feature would provide users with more flexibility and convenience in managing their cryptocurrency, and it would be available exclusively to the app's loyal customers for a limited time before it's released to the public.

Image source: "Happy friends spending time together with smartphone and touching screen", by Tim Douglas, licensed under Free to Use

#3 Upgrade Customers to a Higher Tier Temporarily

Another way to reward loyal customers is by temporarily upgrading them to a higher tier of service. This works particularly well for businesses that operate on a subscription basis, as it allows customers to experience the benefits of a higher level of service without committing to a long-term upgrade.

For example, let's imagine you're a habit tracker app, and you're wondering how to reward loyal customers. You could offer your most loyal customers, who have been using the app for many years, access to a premium version of the app for a limited time. This premium version might include additional features like personalized habit tracking, advanced analytics, and coaching services. By offering this temporary upgrade, you'll demonstrate your appreciation for your most loyal customers while also giving them a taste of what they could experience with a permanent upgrade.

#4 Invite Them to Company Events

Inviting your most loyal customers to company events is another way to reward them and build stronger relationships. This type of reward works particularly well for businesses that have a physical presence, as it allows customers to engage with the brand in a more personal and meaningful way, although it can also be implemented in digital businesses.

Some of the most popular types of events include classes, workshops, lectures, appreciation dinners, wellness events, launch parties, meet-and-greets, pop-ups, VIP events, and more. Virtual appreciation events are also a great idea if you're unable to organize an event in person, especially in today's day and age with tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The trick is to choose the type of event that fits your brand.

For example, a fitness app could invite its most loyal customers to a private fitness event. Depending on the brand's preferences, this event could occur at a local gym, outdoor park, or even the app's own studio. During the event, loyal customers could participate in various fitness classes or workouts led by professional trainers or fitness influencers. In addition to the workouts, the event could include healthy snacks, refreshments, giveaways, or other perks exclusive to loyal customers.

Image source: "People Standing Under the Awning", by Lisa Fotios, licensed under Free to Use

#5 Engage Them with Gamification and Challenges

One thing is for certain, and scientists agree: people love games. Businesses have learned this, and that's why gamification has become increasingly popular in recent years.

By incorporating elements of games, such as challenges, goals, and rewards, into non-game contexts, businesses tap into customers' innate desires for achievement, competition, and personal growth.

Here are some stats that confirm the perks of using gamification:

  • Around 70% of the world's largest 2000 companies incorporate gamification into their business strategies.
  • 50% of all start-ups use gamification as part of their engagement strategies.
  • Companies that use gamification in their marketing campaigns can experience up to 7 times higher conversion rates.

The good news is that gamification can be applied to all industries, like financial services, gaming, education, fitness and wellness, eCommerce, and other industries. You can have customers compete for anything from discounts on future purchases to exclusive merchandise or experiences.

For example, let's imagine you're a note-taking app. You could offer customers the opportunity to earn rewards by using certain features within the app. For example, customers could earn points for creating notes, sharing notes with friends, or using the app's organizational features. As customers accumulate points, they could level up to unlock new rewards, such as premium features, exclusive content, or discounts on future purchases.

You could also incorporate challenges or quizzes into the app, such as a daily writing prompt or a weekly quiz on note-taking best practices. Customers could earn additional points or rewards for completing these challenges, creating a sense of achievement and progress.

#6 Create a Customer Referral Program

Customer rewards programs and customer referral programs serve different purposes. While rewards programs are designed to drive repeat purchases from existing customers, referral programs aim to attract new customers and encourage repeat purchases.

Customer rewards programs for businesses often use point systems, rewards cards, and loyalty program software to offer rewards. Referral programs, on the other hand, rely on existing customers to promote a brand by sharing positive experiences with their friends and family. Referrers usually receive their reward once the referred person completes a purchase, such as subscribing to a paid plan or making a qualifying purchase.

Creating a referral program is another effective way to reward loyal customers while also growing your customer base. By encouraging loyal customers to refer friends and family to your business, you can tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing and incentivize your customers to become brand advocates. 

Referral programs can offer rewards or incentives for both the referrer and the referred, such as discounts, free trials, or exclusive merchandise. By offering these rewards, you can motivate your loyal customers to spread the word about your brand and attract new customers while also showing your appreciation for your customers' loyalty.

Image source: Airtable

#7 Surprise Them With Gifts

Here's something interesting:

Receiving a gift triggers a release of dopamine in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. This release of dopamine can create a sense of happiness, excitement, and satisfaction in the recipient.

With this in mind, consider surprising your most loyal customers with a gift to show appreciation and deepen the relationship between them and your business. By using data insights, you can send gifts that are meaningful and relevant to your customers' interests and preferences.

For example, let's say you're a cloud storage app. In this case, you can reward your most loyal customers with additional storage space. Or, let's imagine you're an investment platform. You could surprise your most loyal customers with unexpected gifts, such as exclusive access to investment opportunities or personalized financial advice from a financial advisor.

These unexpected gifts not only show customers that their loyalty is valued but also create a sense of excitement and delight that can lead to increased loyalty and advocacy.

#8 Donate to a Charitable Cause

Donating to a charitable cause is another way businesses can reward their most loyal customers while also supporting a good cause.

An increasing number of businesses are offering their customers the opportunity to convert their cash rewards, points, or miles into charitable donations. This allows customers to support charitable causes that align with their values, such as social justice, environmental protection, or health-related support.

By converting their loyal customer rewards into donations, customers can make a positive impact and feel good about their loyalty to the business. This type of reward can create a sense of social responsibility and community while also promoting customer loyalty and advocacy.

Image source: "Crop unrecognizable person giving heap of greenbacks on marble table", by Karolina Grabowska, licensed under Free to Use

#9 Collaborate With Other Businesses 

Partnering with another business comes with a wide range of benefits. For instance, by partnering with another business that has a similar customer demographic, your company can gain access to a wider audience and potentially attract new customers. At the same time, you'll be offering your customers additional value by providing access to complementary products or services.

For example, let's say you're a payroll management software company. You could partner with a business that provides employee benefits, such as health insurance or retirement plans. Together, you could offer a joint promotion where customers who sign up for both services receive a discount or access to exclusive features.

Conclusion

In this post, we've explored nine different ideas for how to reward customer loyalty that you can use to incentivize and reward your most loyal customers.

From personalized offers and gamification to charitable donations and collaborations with other businesses, these rewards for customers can help deepen customer relationships, enhance brand loyalty, and drive business growth.

By investing in loyalty marketing that fits your business and customer needs, you can create meaningful experiences that keep your customers coming back. Whether you're a B2B or SaaS company, there's a reward program that can work for you.

We encourage you to explore the different reward strategies we've discussed and implement them in your business. By doing so, you can show your customers that their loyalty is valued, create a sense of excitement and delight, and drive business growth in an increasingly competitive market.

Make sure you check out our easy-to-follow guide on creating your first loyalty program, with step-by-step instructions and real-life examples. One option to efficiently handle your loyalty program is to invest in specialized software. With reward program software, you can access a variety of features that streamline the entire process, from managing the program to distributing rewards. The software will handle all the heavy lifting, and you can focus your energy on growing your business and providing excellent customer service.

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