Before the coronavirus pandemic boosted its sales by 26%, Amazon was already the world’s largest retailer with a customer base that includes just about everyone. That brand loyalty, which has its own Black Friday-caliber sale each year, is massive but 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.

Last year, 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. For example, Express uses its loyalty program to fuel proactive triggered emails, reminding customers that they have money to spend.

5. Drive Members to Your Stores

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 likely a big factor in Ulta‘s success. More than 95% of the brand’s sales come from Ultamate Rewards members.

In these periodic loyalty recaps, Ulta includes promo codes that members can use wherever they prefer to shop, whether in-store and online. That’s important to note, as Ulta has introduced curbside pickup while retail stores around the country reopen. 

Loving your loyalists is just the beginning. To learn more about how you can recoup revenue while business is anything but “as usual,” download our guide to 14 Email Marketing Tactics to Test Now