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A customer loyalty program is a controlled, long-term marketing effort, providing incentives to repeat customers who demonstrate loyal buying behavior. Successful programs are designed to motivate customers in a business's target market to return often, make frequent purchases, and shun competitors. In retailing, these programs generally reward loyal customers with discounts, special offers, rebates, points, or prizes. Since 48% of shoppers indicate the most critical time for a company to gain their loyalty was when they made their first purchase, or began their service it clearly indicates first impression counts. It can be the first time the business and customer meet, or the umpteenth time, setting the tone for expectations for what’s to follow is the most favorable impression.
Loyalty programs can generate strong financial results by engaging guests and creating powerful incentives to encourage more frequent visits and increased spending. Every successful loyalty program starts with enrolling and registering. These cornerstone elements fuel growth and propel profitable long-term results. The first element, enrollment, involves activating new member accounts. Getting loyalty cards into guests’ hands can be an early hurdle to program success. One option is to acquire the contact information for the account electronically, other than forcing the consumer to go to their computer, login to an organization’s website, all on their own time. The problem is, consumers today are concerned about sharing their contact information on a mobile device in an unsecured manner, such as through cloud computing. Those means of collecting contact information by way of a cloud can and do lead to the distinct possibility of data theft.
The second, equally critical element, registration, is designed to obtain the key information needed to engage members with ongoing messaging – communication that builds a relationship with members, motivates visits, and keeps the loyalty program fresh. How do you connect with today’s mobile consumer? The answer is through the consumer’s cell phone. Mobile marketing is evolving daily.
A strategy to continually enroll new guests and acquire key information is essential for long-term success. Unfortunately, too many organizations overlook the importance of actively managing these foundational elements, and their loyalty programs languish. A loyalty program will not run itself. Successful organizations commit sustained attention to expanding membership and incorporate effective ways to reach members. They recognize that a dedicated long-term focus on enrolling and registering new consumers will generate the expected boost to revenues and profits.
Today’s consumers are mobile, savvy, under extreme time constraints, and demand incentives and great customer service if they are going to part with their money. Successful organizations will find the way to reach those consumers when they shop on their mobile device and deliver the incentives and customer service they demand.