Five steps to building a loyalty programme that works

Adam.pngWhen your customers feel valued, everyone’s a winner. People want their loyalty to be recognised, and if you do it right, it will do wonders for your profit margins. With IAG Cargo’s loyalty scheme, customers redeem around 97 per cent of their points annually, so what makes a loyalty scheme really work? Head of Marketing and External Communications Adam Chaudhri gives tips on ensuring your customers feel the love.


1. Points mean prizes

It might seem obvious, but tell your customers what they’re getting. Too many schemes promote the earning of points. Balances and statements often focus on a meaningless ‘point balance’. Let your customers know what those points enable them to do, and continue to communicate that. Once a customer realises the benefits of spending their points, they are far more likely to continue engaging.

2. Know what makes your customers tick

If the rewards you offer aren’t relevant, then your customers will never engage. Work out exactly who your customers are and what rewards would enhance their lives. At IAG Cargo we know that our SME customers are ambitious businesses that want to grow. Our reward scheme offers them bespoke rewards like cargo credit and reward flights that support their business and employees from day one.

3. Simple rewards. Simple to redeem.

Whether it’s a free coffee for every five, or hitting milestones in a hotel earning scheme, rewards like these all require a concerted effort from the customer. Whilst coffee stamp cards are popular loyalty accessories, there is very little evidence to suggest they work. If you’re asking your customers to do the work, then expect your engagement rates to drop off a cliff. Take away the effort and let your customers focus on the benefits.

4. Don’t let the message get lost.

The speed at which content and adverts are presented, digested and discarded shows no signs of slowing, and brands need to focus on their message in order to engage properly. An Instagram post disappears into a feed in seconds, and an email is lost in reams of junk mail – understand how your customers prefer to communicate, make sure your emails are worth their time and that your adverts truly represent the brand. Your loyalty scheme communication must be consistent. Remember it can take up to 10 touch points for a message to be truly understood by a customer, so land it once, twice, three times… you get the idea.

5. Time is running out

Don’t underestimate the fear of loss. In direct response marketing you’re trying to elicit an immediate response (often an emotional response) from your prospect. Loyalty schemes often only focus on the concept of gain, rather than the more powerful emotion of loss. It is no coincidence that advertisements tell you…..”you don’t want to lose out on this special offer”. The same can be applied to loyalty. Give your points an expiration date. Tell your customers when they expire and then remind them about what they are going to lose. You’re helping your customers get the maximum value out of what they have earned, so they will thank you for reminding them.

In the last year, IAG Cargo’s Forward.Rewards loyalty programme has won two industry awards – the Building Customer Relationships award from The Marketing Society and the Bronze award in the Best B2B category at the DMAs.

Specially designed for small to medium sized freight forwarders, discover how our programme could work for you.