We wrote a post a few years ago called, the Two Thousand Dollar Advertising Plan. It was one of the more successful posts on our blog and gained a lot of buzz. For us, it served as a resource for those companies and individuals who asked us these same questions and wanted to know what they should be doing, even though they did not have adequate resources to put into advertising at the time.
What we are presenting below is the hundred-dollar loyalty campaign that reviews some of the best practices on how you can get a loyalty program up and running for a small retail operation. This might not make sense for your business, and that is OK. If that is the case, you should be working with someone like New North, to help design a program that makes sense for your customer and appeals to the real reason they shop with you. For those of you that see the light at the end of the tunnel with what we present here, we encourage you to take what you can below and give it a go!
Loyalty Program Setup
The campaign we are going to set up here is going to be a punch card campaign with email promotions. So first you will have to setup your punch card and set up an email account to be your list management tool.
Mailchimp still offers a free email account for lists less than 2000 people, so it’s a logical option for someone just starting out. Create the account and set up your list to include information like First Name, Last Name, Email, Address, # of Cards, Last Card. The last two fields are for you to note how many punch cards they have completed, and when the last card you entered was. You’ll be entering all this information by hand and these two points will help you see cycle time, and deeper indications of loyalty in multiple card use.
Mailchimp Account : Free
For the punch card, you’ll want to create a simple design for a business card using any online printer. Shops like 123print.com offer online design applications so you can create your punch card and everything online for free. So the front of your card should have X punch slots, your company name, Website and the basic clause of your program. “Buy ten coffees, get one free”. On the back of your card, you should have the details and disclaimers (this can be in small type) and a place for the customer to write their name, email and address. Note: Make sure that is not in the same place the punches will go!
1000 Loyalty Cards: 85.00
Make the cards freely available and hand them out to anyone who purchases your products and tell them about the program. Make sure you have a custom punch or symbol you use so to lessen the spoofing of your cards. A note on spoofing: Let it go. If you sense a crisp clean punch card (real cards will look beat up) that has all ten spots punched, just talk to the patron. Thank them for coming back in so often. Ask their name, get to know them. The free coffee is worth getting to know one of your customers in more detail who may become an advocate. Plus they won’t have the opportunity to do it again per your record keeping.
Custom Punch: 15.00
When a patron does have the card completed, require them to fill out the information (name, email, etc) on the back to receive the offer. Be sure to write the date on the card yourself. Put it into a safe place to reconcile later. If you have time, you can pull up your email database, and see if they are already a customer or check for spoofing as well.
Email will be your best bet for marketing your campaign freely. What you’ll have in your email system is a database of loyal customers, who have completed at least one punch card. Your job at this point is to encourage them to spread the word. Send them promotions that make sense for them to share. New customer promotions, or group discounts are great in this case. But before you get too carried away, a couple of ground rules. One, do not email more than once a week. Why? read here. Two, keep on message. Say what you are offering and be done. This is not the place for photos of your new employee, or pets. Three, be gracious. These are loyal customers. You don’t need to sell them on coming back to your store. Thank them, and give them something special that shows how special they are.
Conclusion and Next Steps
So there you have it. A quick introduction into how you can start up and launch a punch card loyalty program for less than $100. There is so much more to be said, but this basic program can be the starting point for a much more meaningful interaction with your customers. Take the opportunities you have now to grow with your customers into a loyal relationship.
Once you have this program off the ground and you are ready to really address loyalty as a key metric in your business development, contact us for a free consultation on how we can help you take loyalty to the next level with more automation, loyalty program management, and reaching deeper into retention and loyal communications.