5 Ways You Can Nurture Your Loyalty Program with Email Marketing

Its share of the U.S. ecommerce market is nearly half so it’s safe to say that Amazon’s customer base includes pretty much everyone. Each year, the average regular shopper spends $600 on Amazon, while Prime members spend more than double: $1,400. Amazon Prime may just be the most lucrative loyalty program on the planet, but it’s not so unusual in theory.

According to Accenture research, brands’ loyalty program members generate 12 to 18% more revenue per year than non-members. Of course they do. Loyal customers are the best customers with the strongest retention rates. And if you’re looking for the best way to reach them, look no further than email.

A January survey from iVend also found that 62.9% of consumers prefer to receive communications from brands via email. That makes email the perfect channel for nurturing loyalty program membership. Here are five tips:

1. Send All Email Through Your Email Provider

The aesthetic and brand experience should be the same across all channels, which isn’t always the case with loyalty programs. Why? In many cases, the program has its own email functionality. “A lot of providers won’t have the required technical infrastructure to trigger events, for example. If a customer earns a VIP tier, you want to be able to notify them,” says Stewart Wesley, Head of Technology Partnerships at commerce marketing cloud Yotpo. “If this is your only way to send emails, it’s better than nothing. But it’s better if you’re able to take advantage of an integration.”

See these two emails from Nike side-by-side? The sportswear giant creates such consistency that’s it not immediately obvious one is actually from Nike+. That’s important; Nike+ members spend three times more than non-members.

2. Include Loyalty In Your Welcome Series

If someone signs up for your email list, they’re telling you that they want to hear from you. Naturally, welcome emails have sky-high open rates relative to other marketing messages. Your welcome stream is a perfect place to highlight your values and what sets your brand apart. The same applies to your loyalty program.

MZ Wallace does this particularly well, introducing people to My MZW Rewards as they’re learning about the brand. Perks include points and free shipping, as well as the opportunity to shop new collections early and attend in-store VIP events. By highlighting the benefits during onboarding, MZ Wallace aims to lock in loyalty early, increasing engagement down the road.

3. Actually, Include It Everywhere

Welcome emails are a great place to highlight your loyalty program. So are… every other kind of email, even if it’s just a brief mention at the bottom of your template. As Wesley says, “Including the loyalty programs in all your emails is a great idea because awareness is a main driver of success. If someone doesn’t know about it, they can’t participate.”

Make sure the customer’s status and points balance are on display on the order confirmation emails. When following up post-purchase, leverage the loyalty program perks to nurture the next sale. DSW VIP is a hallmark of the DSW shopping experience so naturally, the brand incorporates it into every email header. DSW includes not only your loyalty status, but also how close you are to your next reward.

4. Leverage Loyalty Program Data to Personalize

Loyalty members provide a lot of valuable data. You can see whether someone prefers in-store or online shopping and what kind of promotions appeal to them, in addition to their purchase history. Use all that data to personalize, creating the best possible experience for your most valuable customers. Ulta Beauty uses all that data to fuel personalization in the Ultamate Rewards program, recommending products based on members’ interest, skin and hair type, and more.

Personalization is exceptionally important in the beauty industry in general. And since personalization has been proven to boost sales and loyalty programs lead to retention, it’s also crucial for Ultamate Rewards. More than 95% of the brand’s sales come from members. In November, Ulta acquired an analytics startup called QM Scientific, intending to enhance its personalization, which CEO Mary Dillon referred to as “the next frontier of loyalty” for Ulta.

5. Drive Members to Your Stores

Last year, Sailthru spoke to 2,000 consumers in the U.S. and the U.K. about their attitudes toward brick-and-mortar shopping. You may be surprised to learn that most of them prefer it over ecommerce, and many like a combination of the two. For example, one-third of the Americans we spoke to visited a store because of an email, most commonly to redeem an offer.

Last year, eMarketer found that Starbucks Rewards is the most popular proximity mobile payment in the U.S. with 1 million more users than Apple Pay. That success is partially a result of Starbucks’ mastery of using loyalty as a traffic driver. If you’re a Starbucks Rewards member, you can count on emails reminding you of all the benefits of popping into one of its 30,000 locations. Like this one that includes a free drink and a bar code.

Sailthru's 2019 Holiday Marketing Playbook

There’s plenty of time before “the holidays,” right? Not exactly. Holiday sales are perpetually on the rise, while consumers are starting their shopping earlier and earlier. This means retailers must get a head start before the holidays, especially since the most wonderful time of the year is also the most lucrative.

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