So you’ve got a loyalty programme or you’re planning to launch an awesome programme? Join the club. Loyalty programmes these days are a dime a dozen and that’s why the metric for success is no longer just about the total number of registered members on your loyalty base, but rather the total number of “active members”.

Many companies measure activity if a member has participated at least once with your brand within a 12-month period. Participating can mean anything from purchasing, earning points through non-transactions, redeeming points or even cashing in a voucher.

In a recent research piece by Bond Loyalty, results indicated that the number of loyalty programmes per person in the US has increased from 10.9 to 13.4; however, the number of loyalty programmes in which a person is active dropped from 7.8 to 6.7. This indicates that brands are coming into market with stale value propositions which, although do enough to stimulate sign-up, don’t do enough to maintain engagement.

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There are far too many “me-too” programmes out there, so, what can you do to keep your members “swiping” and stop them from becoming just another dormant name on a spreadsheet?

Below are three top ways to maintain and encourage member engagement:

1. Frequency, frequency, frequency
It sounds simple when you hear it, but there are only a handful of programmes in South Africa getting this right. In a recent global Discovery Vitality Whitepaper, rewarding customers more frequently, as opposed to less frequently is far more successful in managing programme engagement. See the case study here. 

However, this does not mean that you will see a direct increase in frequency by simply sending an additional voucher per month to your customers and hoping for improved engagement. At Truth, we strongly believe that a loyalty programme is only as good as the communication plan it comes with. The success of a loyalty programme is not getting it to launch, but it’s what you plan to do post-launch to increase reward frequency as a chance to increase the conversation with your customers. But remember, spamming your customers can be extremely detrimental to your brand so keep your communications personalised and relevant at all times. 

2. Coffee vs. the luxury car
Smaller, more frequent rewards are deemed more attractive to members, therefore increasing frequency, opposed to a build up to a larger reward, which often seems impossible to attain in the first place.

As mentioned above, the frequency of rewards provided to members of loyalty programmes indicates clearly that for most programmes and value propositions, smaller rewards can be just as effective as more aspirational rewards.

Truth says: Although experiential rewards such as a fully inclusive overseas trip may still be aspirational and attractive to your members, combine these with smaller, more frequent rewards and engagement campaigns. This enables you to engage your customers more often, helping you stay top of mind with smaller, more frequent rewards.

3. Reconsider your redemption process
The overall redemption experience is one of the top 5 drivers for customer satisfaction when it comes to loyalty programmes. This indicates that the redemption process of your rewards programme needs to be more than just seamless and omni-channel but also fun and exciting.

We suggest to design your programme with redemption in mind or if you already have a programme and are wondering why customers don’t seem to be engaging like they used to, ask yourself: is the process of redeeming a voucher easy? Do I know what I can get for my points?

Considering the above, when it comes to the total number of active members on your loyalty programme, the quality of the programme trumps quantity of members, so tailor your value proposition to get the most out of your members rather than focusing on sign ups as the key metric of success for your loyalty efforts.