How to Use Marketing Automation to Create a B2C Rewards Program

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Customer Marketing

Many B2C companies know that their growth is dependent upon current customers making repeat purchases. And the key to doing that is keeping customers engaged, making them feel good about their purchase, and planting the seed to inspire them to buy more in the future. 

But how can companies possibly do all that?

Sending promo codes and email campaigns announcing new product releases is one way to entice people to visit your website or brick and mortar. But many individuals need more incentive to take that extra step in the customer journey, which is where customer loyalty programs can save the day. 

Chances are you’re part of a few customer loyalty programs. If so, accruing points probably makes you feel better after your purchase. You probably buy more knowing that you’ll eventually get a reward to use toward a future purchase or free offer. Now, imagine the benefits your organization could experience if you motivate your customer base to adopt that same mindset. 

Before we go any further, let’s discuss what a customer loyalty program is, how they can benefit your bottom line, and how you can leverage marketing automation to implement your own loyalty campaigns at your B2C company. 

What Is a Customer Loyalty Program? 

A customer loyalty program is a marketing tactic designed to reward current customers for their ongoing business in an effort to drive engagement and encourage future purchases. Customer loyalty program members are granted special perks (such as points, promotional offers, gifts, and more) for being long-term and loyal customers. 

An effective customer loyalty program enables companies to engage customers, demonstrate their value, and motivate their audience to make more frequent purchases. Now that we’ve established what a customer loyalty program is, let’s chat about a few ways you can leverage marketing automation to implement one at your organization. 

Create a Scoring Program to Determine How to Reward Customers (and Motivate Them to Engage)

Most of us probably associate lead scoring as a practice reserved for B2B companies that are trying to gauge where customers are in the sales funnel. But most B2C rewards programs use the same concept. The only difference is that, because these points systems are public, companies don’t subtract points for certain actions (at least as far as customers can see). 

These are a few critical customer actions that you can assign positive scores to: 

  • Making a purchase: Most rewards programs assign customers certain points for every dollar they spend. Customers usually have to achieve a certain threshold before they are able to redeem those points for discounts on future purchases. How many points you assign to each dollar and the threshold customers usually need to reach before using those points depends on factors such as the average customer purchase and purchasing frequency.
  • Browsing and saving items: You don’t have to wait until customers make a purchase to reward them for their loyalty. After all, window shopping or browsing through your website is one of the first steps in the customer journey, so giving customers an incentive to complete their purchase might help them reach the end of the sales funnel sooner rather than later. 
  • Purchase history: Many of your customers are probably creatures of habit, and you can use that to your advantage by assigning additional points when customers make repeat purchases or, if applicable, buy in bulk. You can also track these repeat purchases to gain a sense of which offers to send to your customers in the future. 

Urban Outfitters, for example, rewards customers with points as they save items to their wish list on their app. Customers can search and save items right on the app, but they can also scan the barcode of an item while in-store. In addition to encouraging engagement, this practice allows Urban Outfitters to track user preferences and even encourage customers to act fast by notifying them when an item is almost out of stock. 

If a customer is not accruing points over time, this is your cue to enter them into an automated email nurture campaign. You can focus these campaigns around your customer’s specific product interests and remind them to use their points before they expire at the end of the year. 

Implement Event-Triggered Emails to Celebrate Special Events

A good loyalty program doesn’t just reward customers for making a purchase; it keeps them engaged by making them feel special and valued by your company. That’s why, in addition to offering a points system, you should provide your customers with gifts and promos to help them celebrate special days such as birthdays, the anniversary of them signing up for your program, and even holidays. 

You might think that keeping track of all these dates can be a handful, but managing this part of your program is simple and intuitive with event-triggered emails. You can use marketing automation to easily create eye-catching emails with enticing offers, and then identify criteria that signal to your platform to automatically send them out when a special day or event comes around. 

A/B Test Offers and Measure Engagement to Optimize Your Program

In addition to helping you build customer loyalty, an effective customer reward program should empower you to learn more about how to create an enjoyable customer experience. You should set up your program to track your customers’ purchase patterns and identify which promotional tactics are motivating them to make more and bigger purchases. 

A/B testing is the best way to understand what is resonating with your audience. So, if a customer doesn’t engage with your initial email, you can send it to them again with a different subject line to see if that piques their interest.

Once you have a good formula for subject lines, you can test your email designs, copy, and CTAs to learn which marketing efforts and offers are working best with your customers. 

If your outreach efforts are completely falling flat, you’ll need to make significant changes and improvements. If, for example, you notice a low click-through rate on your CTAs, you should restructure your loyalty program to feature more appealing offers that match the product or service interests of your consumers.

Act-On Can Help You Deliver an Enjoyable Customer Journey Every Step of the Way

A good customer loyalty program can do wonders when it comes to improving repeat purchases and brand reputation. And marketing automation makes it easy to implement and manage one for your organization. 

Not only that, but marketing automation can help you do a lot more to build a robust customer marketing program. Act-On, for example, equips B2C marketers with a variety of tools that enable you to promote loyalty, match customers with awesome products and services, and help your organization grow. 

If you’d like to learn a few more ways you can leverage marketing automation to improve retention and encourage customer loyalty, go ahead and download our eBook, Optimize the Customer Journey

If you’re interested in seeing our platform in action and learning more about what makes it unique to other marketing automation options, please schedule a demo with one of our marketing automation experts