A loyalty program must possess an everyday element in order to promote the frequent engagement and, ultimately, the customer behaviors that you seek to reinforce. In my last blog, The Essential Elements of a Loyalty Program, I spoke about the importance of content and distinguished between aspirational and everyday content offerings.
While aspirational items are an essential ingredient in a best in class loyalty program to create a compelling value proposition, it is the everyday, common content that really drives the frequent engagement that your rewards program seeks to establish.
The most effective type of “common” rewards offer is local deals.
And what makes it so common is exactly what makes it stand out. Deals found in your account holders’ neighborhoods for establishments that they patronize regularly add a highly personalized element to this rewards category and add immediate value to your program.
Perceived value within a rewards program increases the value (and desirability) of the rewards points, which helps to drive the behaviors that will earn more points. And that, of course, is the goal of a rewards program in a nutshell.
Variety and Relevance
To maximize their relevance, local offers must span a variety of categories:
- Dining (across various price points, from fast food to upscale establishments)
- Retail and services (discounts on haircuts and oil changes, for example, in addition to stores)
- Entertainment (museums, bowling alleys, mini golf, etc.).
There has to be enough content to make it worthwhile for your account holders and also broadly appealing – not just in offer category but in type as well (buy-one-get-one deals and percent and dollars off deals). Variety is essential to ensuring frequent engagement with your program.
What makes these deals so popular? The local emphasis.
National chains should be represented to complement the mom and pop establishments, but truly local brands must be the focal point to enhance your institution’s community-focused reputation.
It’s also important to offer local deals on a nationwide scale. This increases its relevance by allowing members to take advantage of the deals even when they travel.
The Importance of Mobile
The near ubiquity of smartphones is another factor that’s driving the increasing popularity of local offers.
While a print option is still the standard, your deals should be redeemable via smartphone so that members have immediate access to the offers while on the go. This way, your program will be their go-to source when they’re in search of a deal, keeping your institution top of mind.
In addition to adding value to your loyalty program, local deals are a great way to reinforce your institution’s connection to your current and prospective small business customers.
Your local offering will drive consumers to local merchants, giving their business a boost and reinforcing your value to their business and the community every time a member redeems a coupon. It’s a win/win.
Local offers are so popular that they are often the most highly redeemed type of reward in a loyalty program. Including a robust local offering in your loyalty program is one of the best ways to drive frequent engagement and enhance your institution’s image. It is a powerful tool that weaves into the narrative of people’s everyday lives. And that is what every customer-focused financial institution strives to do.