Loyalty Programs Part 2: Designing a Program For Your Small Business

In part one of this two-part series, we discussed why small businesses need a loyalty program. Now it's time to talk about how best to create one. When it comes to loyalty programs, there’s really no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s all about what’s best for your business and your customers.


Where to start?

According to a report from Manta and BIA/Kelsey, your first step is determining what you want the program to achieve. Make sure you have a distinct and measurable goal. From there, identify your target audience and begin to structure a program you think will best help you achieve that goal.

Potential designs for rewards programs are virtually endless. But Intuit, the small-business software company, offers a few tried-and-true options. One is the “punch card” model, in which a customer gets a free product after purchasing a certain number of items. Another is the membership-based program, in which members or subscribers are offered exclusive rewards. Or you could offer discounts to customers who spend a specific amount of money, says Intuit.

How “tech-y” should you get?

Manta and BIA/Kelsey emphasize the importance of integrating your loyalty program across multiple online communication platforms, such as mobile, email and social media. These days, people shop across all platforms, and you need to meet your customers where they are. So it’s probably in your best interest to make your loyalty program tech-based.

Fortunately, many automated services can help you do this, usually for a low monthly fee. You don’t need to develop your own app. See this list of services you can use to execute your loyalty program.

Finally, according to payroll and HR company Paychex, don’t expect to get it exactly right the first time. It might take a while to land on the perfect loyalty program design. It’s okay to change things up, as long as you make sure you communicate these changes clearly to all your loyal customers.

Whatever you do, don’t miss this opportunity to communicate with your customers and keep them coming back to your small business. Start designing your loyalty program today.