Reward marketing is the practice of leveraging a reward or loyalty program by virtue of program participation, and the actual rewards seeming so appealing that it’s intended to be as compelling as the other forms of marketing being utilized. Having strong content can help effectively communicate reward program benefits and compound the effectiveness of a reward marketing strategy so that plenty of prospects are constantly signing up. Here’s how to make the most of reward marketing by blending it with content strategy.
What Makes a Robust Reward Program?
77% of retail customers participate in loyalty programs, and there are all types of them out there: discount programs, point-based programs, frequent buyer cards, gamification, and many more. So, having a program itself isn’t enough. What makes a reward program stand out so much that it can actually be used as a form of marketing?
Tiered programs with heavy degrees of personalization tend to have the most success, with Sephora’s Beauty Insider Program being one of the most prolific examples. The reward program has three tiers based on how much a customer spends during the year: Basic Beauty Insider is open to all customers, Very Important Beauty Insider for customers who spend $350 or more during the calendar year, and VIB Rouge for customers who spend $1,000 or more during the year. VIB Rouge has become a status symbol thanks to bloggers and social media influencers in the beauty sphere, but they play just a small role in making the rewards program appealing: Sephora also creates personalized web pages based on highly targeted profiles for every customer based on skin type, preferences, and other user input as well as past purchases.
Their content also clearly communicates the benefits of each tier while demonstrating the luxury and exclusivity associated with the brand with free gifts and makeovers opposed to discounts. VIB Rouge is painted as an aspirational status with plenty of surprises in store that make the customer feel special.
Rewards as an Emotional Form of Marketing
Reward marketing doesn’t have to be restricted to purchases from one’s own stores. Businesses seek out reward partners to provide an incentive for customers to sign up or keep buying but don’t actually fulfill the rewards themselves like Sephora does. Lyft has partnerships with JetBlue and Delta that give riders free airline miles when they connect their mileage accounts for free and buy rides through the app. Banks and insurance companies entice new clients by teaming up with airlines and offering larger amounts of free miles that could conceivably cover longer distances in better fare classes.
The reason this type of reward marketing works is because people like the feeling that they’re saving those miles or points for something major, and each ride or purchase gets them one step closer. But when given the instant gratification of a significant amount of miles or a travel package they can use immediately, it creates a stronger emotional attachment in that they know the brand helped them make that dream vacation or other trip of a lifetime happen.
What type of customer will see the appeal in this type of reward program? How can content be tailored to them that communicates the benefits of the program and also taps into their emotions? By having concise content like blog posts and email campaigns that demonstrate the tangible benefits of these reward partnerships and appeal to both practicality and emotions, reward marketing can do what it was intended to do while the content serves to be a long-term investment that allows discoverability.
Obviously, having a strong rewards program and/or reward partners is the first step in a successful reward marketing strategy. But once the program has been established, strong evergreen content needs to be part of the outreach portion of executing a reward marketing strategy.
Rachel P is an indie game developer, writer, and consultant. She is also a content strategist here at Writer Access and would be happy to help you with keyword maps, customer journey maps, and buyer personas in addition to writing for you. If you would to like to hire Rachel to devise a content strategy for you, please contact your account manager or send a direct message.