One of my favourite past-times is cooking. Ever since I was a child, I would watch the Food Network endlessly and with pen and notepad in hand, eagerly copying down recipes and tips.
I liken my experience in the kitchen to my experience with loyalty programmes. Crafting an email or communications strategy for loyalty programme members takes a similar approach –Preparation is key, you must be willing to adapt and take risks and also be ready to sometimes fail.
Preparation is key
From my experience, there are a lot of things you can do to prepare your campaign so that it is more likely going to produce a positive response. This includes:
- Clear and concise call-to-action. No need to be too wordy or over-complicate what you are asking your member to do. Chances are they are just going to skim over your email so you have only a brief moment to grab their attention!
- Personalisation – as Will Palmer said in episode two of #AskMovio personalisation will increase your open rate so add the persons first name, points balance and a suggest reward to the communication. This sounds obvious, but the number of loyalty programme emails I receive that are lacking any sort of personalisation astounds me. If you have your member’s information, use it to your advantage.
- Find the right audience. Select a targeted group of your database to communicate with in relevant fashion versus going out to your entire database. This might mean only communicating with a small segment of your base for a particular campaign, but if it is the right segment, you will more likely get the right results.
- Provide value – This may come in all shapes and forms. What someone perceives as value, may vary member to member. For some it might be the first look at a new trailer or the first chance to buy tickets to their favourite franchise film. For others, it might need to be a tangible value such as a bonus offer or discount voucher. If your communication does not have value, over-time your member interest in opening your messages may wane.
- Control group - Always hold back a statistically significant. This is the most accurate way for you to measure success.
- Optimised for mobile. Over 50% of emails are now first opened on a mobile device. Mobile optimisation is not an option any longer - it is table stakes.
- Proofing your copy against spam trap filters. If your email doesn’t make it into your member’s inbox, it has been a wasted effort.
Adapt and take risks
Over time, with experience and confidence, you will start to build a repertoire of tried and true tactics. These are campaigns or offers that you consistently see good results with and that you can turn to at any given time if necessary. Especially in the cinema industry, with the speed at which the product and business is changing, you want to be able to react and respond at a moment’s notice. Having a collection of proven tactics can help with just that.
Yet it is equally important to continually try new things and to take risks for your communications strategy. Whether it’s a slight tweak to an existing campaign (new creative, a new call-to-action) or trying an entirely new offer or message, testing and learning is an important way to keep your programme fresh and exciting for members. This will help you learn what resonates most with your audience and ultimately will help you improve and refine that tool-kit of successful offers that you can draw from.
Don’t be afraid to fail
Not every campaign will be a success. As a marketer, I can tell you that it took me a while to be comfortable with this notion.
In a traditional marketers world of metrics such as “impressions” and “earned media”, being faced with ROI metrics that directly show whether the campaigns I was running were working or not, was scary. However it is in fact this transparency and measurability that makes database marketing so powerful.
When something fails, you will immediately know what not to do again. When a campaign is a success, you know that you are directly contributing to increased revenue within your organisation. Over time, as you refine your approach and communications strategy, you are going to see more wins than losses, however no one ever bats a thousand and even the most experienced database marketers will have their share of failures.
Is there a foolproof recipe for success?
As any good cook will tell you, while recipes are a great guide, cooking really gets fun when you get creative and adapt based on the tools and ingredients that you have available.
From a marketer’s perspective, this means testing new combinations of offers and messaging. Targeting based on different criteria. Finding new reasons and occasions to speak to your members. Innovating beyond your tried-and-true tactics.
So with all that being said, I hope you enjoy my recipe to help guide you to successful loyalty programme communications.
- 1 meaningful offer
- 1 or more personalised messages
- 1 break-through subject line
- A spoonful of well-written copy
- 1 direct call-to-action
- 1 pre-measured target group of members
- A generous dash of creativity
- 1 well designed email template
- 1 reliable deployment mechanism
- 1 quality analytics tool
- Combine all of your ingredients
- Add your target group of members
- Put into your well designed email template
- Savor your results
- Refine and repeat!