Loyalty’s secret ingredient: Email

The best loyalty programmes create a 1:You experience for their very best customers. From earning to redeeming and everything in between, a good loyalty programme listens to its customers. It creates the connections that deliver lifetime value to both the customer and the brand they love.

The best email programmes do exactly the same thing.

Infusing strong email best practices into a loyalty programme can produce powerful results. Why? Because email rounds out the customer experience. Leveraging robust data - including that collected through loyalty participation - creates a 1:You experience wherever your customers are, in the moments that matter most.

1:You is about creating a holistically individualised customer experience. A customer-focused loyalty programme can help you reach that level of personalisation. An email programme rooted in analytics and automation can also take your brand to personalisation at that level.  In this blog, we consider the type of customer experiences you can create by bringing loyalty and email together.

Here's a 3-step plan to align your email programme with your loyalty programme.

1. Start with a template

As highlighted in 5 tips to fuse email creativity with data and technology, dynamic templates create efficiencies in the personalisation game to connect on a 1:You level. Think of the template as a flexible journey where you can change the creative and messaging based on the individual and their previous brand interactions.

This means your email template should be built on a modular framework ,designed to ingest and activate loyalty data, to streamline and automate 1:You personalisation.

Building this modular system takes time, but there are efficiencies that come into play by developing automation capabilities. Once your template is developed, your focus can shift to strategic content development, storytelling and visual design.

2. Set customer expectations

You’ve designed your loyalty programme to meet your customers’ needs; let them know! Use a real-time welcome email to acknowledge their opt-in. In Are you undervaluing trigger emails?, we explain that this is the first triggered email you should set up because the engagement rates are remarkably high.

The welcome sets the tone for the rest of your communications. It shows what kind of business your new customers have a relationship with and gives you a chance to highlight the many benefits of receiving email communications from your brand.

If your programme is more complex, or you have more to say than is appropriate for one welcome message, consider an onboarding series.

An onboarding series can help establish your desired tone and give the newcomer a chance to better understand your programme before diving right in. Put the same effort into evaluating the communication needs of your customers as you put into tailoring your loyalty programme to those customers and decide if your programme has enough information to demand an onboarding series.

Each touch in the welcome and onboarding series is an opportunity to educate your new member about the benefits of the programme, the ways they can earn and redeem rewards, member exclusives and more, before they move into the business-as-usual email stream. These communications give the customer the ability, over time or all at once, to convey their preferences either by sending them to a communications preference center or by collecting clicks through progressive profiling.

In the example below, clothing brand Madewell uses one email to introduce the programme, outline membership benefits and give the member an opportunity to learn more.


3. Show, don’t tell

Storytellers know that you should show as much as or more than you tell. Data visualisation helps your customers contextualise their personal journey, and it reinforces the value your loyalty programme brings to their real life.

Loyalty dashboard:

Even promotional, non-loyalty-specific emails can be personalised for your loyalty customers with a simple-but-effective loyalty dashboard that acknowledges data points like name, member number, points earned and status.

Every email you send to customers who are in your loyalty programme, regardless of whether that email is about the loyalty programme, should include this loyalty programme information. The dashboard on every email creates consistency, is an easy way to personalise, and reminds them of their ongoing relationship with your brand.

Reminders & banners:

Visualise important data like near-tier and earned rewards in banner modules to extend value in any send and remind your customers that they can make it to the next reward or level.

End-of-year or monthly summaries:

A highly visual “look back” recaps their year or month in loyalty and highlights what you’ve achieved together with personalised infographics powered by data. Don’t be afraid to make this email celebratory and highly specific to their spend, rewards, earnings, perks they didn’t use, etc.

A well known example; Spotify sends an end-of-year recap to show members what they listened to over the past year, top tracks and artists and more. They then offer even more value with a personalised and unique playlist based on the members' listening behavior.


Final thoughts

The right email strategy can boost the success – and experience – of your loyalty programme and extend the lifetime value of the relationship. By activating the right data at the right moment, the right or relevant message lands in their inbox.

These messages help customers better understand the programme they’ve opted in to, discover relevant ways to engage with the programme, glean more value and celebrate their success along the way.

1:You is meaningful and powerful, and best of all, it’s achievable for every loyalty programme through the right email programme. Email can help you achieve 1:You dialogue with your customers when paired with loyalty data and powerful technology that enables you to reach your customers in real-time.

Find out more about our Loyalty and Email solutions here.