How to Create a Successful Customer Loyalty Program

We’ve all participated in customer loyalty programs. Perhaps you joined a rewards program for your local supermarket and you keep your membership card on your keychain for easy access. On the other hand, I bet you have several membership cards crumbled at the bottom of your wallet forgotten.

Loyalty programs are an effective way to land more repeat business. However, they’re not as simple as they sound. You need to adapt to new technology and create a system that works for your customers. Are you ready to boost repeat conversions and brand loyalty? Follow these tips for customer loyalty programs.

1. Go Digital with Your Rewards

Your wallet is probably home to more than one discarded rewards card. Those cards might have worked in the past, whether they were scanned at checkout or punched with a stamp, but they’re a thing of the past.

The statistics show that rewards programs do work. Loyalty program members will spend up to 18% more each year than those who aren’t in the loyalty program. Investing in these programs now will earn you big down the road. However, the days of paper and plastic cards are in the past. People no longer want the burden of carrying these around.

The most successful rewards programs are all digital. Whether they have phone apps or use a loyalty program system at checkout, making it easier for customers to get their membership perks will go both ways. Stop ordering those paper punch cards and join the next generation of rewards.

Screenshot via

2. Utilize Social Media and Email

Another important tip is to remember that people need reminders. Not everyone will remember that they signed up for your membership program a month ago. We all lead busy lives, and we all need a reminder every now and then.

Help your best customers remember they have special perks by sending targeted emails and posting regularly on social media. When someone signs up to your rewards program, make sure they’re also signed up for your email list. From there, they’ll get regular reminders about special perks and their membership status.


The best example of this in action is the Starbucks Rewards program. Occasionally, Starbucks offers members special discounts or double rewards stars for purchase on certain days. This not only keeps them at the forefront of their members’ minds, but it gives members unique perks.

Screenshot via Starbucks Rewards Email

3. Encourage Referrals

Building a referral program into your rewards program is an excellent incentive for customers. Getting word-of-mouth referrals isn’t always easy, but it pays off in big ways. An unbelievable 83% of over 30,000 survey participants in this study claim word-of-mouth referrals are the most effective form of advertising.

Incentivize your current customers or clients to reach out to their own network. Providing a discount for them or a credit will go a long way towards building their loyalty. Airbnb currently encourages users to refer their friends in exchange for a credit towards another stay. This is a small offer, but it speaks volumes to their ideal audience.

Screenshot via Airbnb

Reach Your Audience

Do you have a rewards program that works? Building customer loyalty is essential in an age of so much competition. How will you attract your audience and then keep your audience? An eye-opening 43% of all customers will spend more money at brands they’re loyal to.

The best part about creating a loyalty program is that it doesn’t cost a lot to get started. Aside from the digital program to keep track of reward earnings, there is no cost to you. In fact, you’ll earn more from your customers than you would if you failed to have any rewards program in the first place. Follow these tips above to build a modern, effective loyalty program your customers will rave about.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.