First impressions count. So when you start contacting new loyalty program members, you want to make sure you get off on the right foot.
It’s worth putting some time and thought into what we call a “welcome series”. That is, the first lot of emails – or perhaps some SMSs – that you send to new members to welcome them to your program.
Welcome emails generate four times more open rates and five times more click through rates than other promotional material, according to industry experts*. It also showed the transactions from welcome emails are nine times higher than from bulk emails, and they produce eight times more revenue.
There’s a prime opportunity to capitalise on this engagement.
As such, we’ve narrowed down four main aims of a loyalty program welcome series.
- Get new members excited about what’s on offer so they engage with your program.
- Introduce your loyalty system and how it works.
- Find out more about your members to boost your progressive profiling.
- Let them know about other parts of your business, products and services.
What your welcome series need to be
You should plan your welcome series in line with best-practice principals that apply to any marketing activity. But if you want to deliver 1-2-1 communications at scale to your individual members, having marketing automation capabilities will be a game changer for you.
Make it timely
About 75% of brands automate the first welcome email on the day someone opts-in, according to a ReturnPath survey on the email subscriber experience. You’re at the top of a customer’s mind and they are expecting an email from you. Strike while the iron is hot!
Segment and target
Detailed segmentation will give you greater flexibility when delivering a welcome series to individual members and allow you to send them tailored communications. Your first emails could contain a self-selecting segmentation survey that will help to drop your members into the right customer journey.
Some customers will get on board with your program from the first email. Others will need a nudge. Tailoring your communication to different segments and in line with the customer journey that you’ve mapped out for them will help to drive your program.
Fine-tune for franchises or multi-store retailer or business
If you’re a franchisor or multi-store retailer/business, then make sure your system has the capability to tailor your welcome series so that emails come from a customer’s local franchise, which you can determine by a member’s location or transactional data.
While some content can be done centrally, a franchisee or similar should highlight local deals and services to give their customers a personal and relevant welcome to their program. For example, a new loyalty member in country Victoria wouldn’t feel valued by being offered a 10% discount in Melbourne stores only.
DCA has experience working with franchisors if you want to find out more.
Use relevant subject lines
Using the words “thank you” and “welcome” somewhere in the subject line will let new members know that they are receiving their first welcome email rather than a bulk email. Emails with the word “welcome” in the subject line had typically four times the open rate than other emails^.
Add a personal touch
This starts at the subject line or first sentence. Include their first name. If there’s an opportunity to personalise in response to their behaviour and data you have about them, take it. For example: “We hope you’re enjoying the winter scarf you bought on the weekend. This purchase brought your reward points up to 2,500.”
Educate them about your program
Educating your members is a key part to any loyalty program welcome series. When members understand their benefits and perks, they are more likely to engage with your program and other parts of your business. Give them a taste of what products will interest them, and tell them how they can progress through your program.
Balance it out
If your welcome series is all “sell sell sell” then the customer is going to wonder where the value for them lies. Striking a balance between selling products and providing members with useful information will help keep them engaged.
For example, the welcome series from a cosmetics company might include a couple of emails about deals on moisturisers and skincare products. But it might also include an email with useful pointers for how to keep your skin hydrated during winter.
Outline the email frequency
Towards the end of your welcome series and once a new member is settled into your program, let them know how frequently you’ll be contacting them.
For example: “We’ll get in touch with you every week to let you know about our best deals. But if something amazing pops up that we know you’ll want to hear about, we’ll be sure to get in touch.”
Once you’ve seen out your welcome series, the next step will be to put members on a new customer journey. You can use the information you’ve gleaned along the way – from customer behaviour to demographics – to keep their journey relevant and engaging.