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Are you building loyalty programs into emails?

loyalty program

Customer loyalty is gold these days. But it’s fragile. Slippery too, especially with Gen Z. More on that in a bit as we dig into 16 statistics about customer loyalty programs, expectations, and brand mistakes.

These stats, facts, and examples will help you keep your clients, customers, and subscribers loyal to your brand. Instead of slipping off in the middle of the night, clicking on competitor’s offers.

Don’t believe loyalty matters in the modern age of digitization and automation? The loyalty management market is worth $5.57 billion (Fortune Business Insights). For those in the back, that’s SBF-level loot, or was.

Time to make customer loyalty a priority because it’s a new age and expectations have never been higher.

Proof Brand Loyalty Matters, 3 Big Stats 

Most brands sell to Americans. Why? We’re reckless with money… and we’re loyal.

  • US beats all other nations in lifelong customer loyalty
  • 75% of American consumers say they’re more likely to be loyal to brands that understand them on a personal level (Acquia)

What makes Americans loyal? We like a good story + we get behind causes. Even wastes of time like saving silver-hooved baby goats.

Not a real animal, so relax, cause-bandwagoners.😅

Make no mistake though. Price will make anyone jump ship / bandwagon. 

💲 Price is the #1 factor keeping customers loyal to their favorite brands

Not 100% of the time though…

Why They Buy?

Years ago I heard a guy talking about his wealthy aunt and uncle buying every car from the same dealership for decades. He thought they were getting ripped off since they never price-shopped. 

First, they were wealthy, and rich folks are not dumb-dumbs. 

Second, price may not have been the biggest factor:

  • They may have gotten free oil changes
  • Never had to wait in line 
  • Got Christmas & birthday cards from the business owner
  • Were treated with respect over the phone / in person
  • Every employee knew their names
  • They got a loaner car when repairs were needed
  • Personalized emails with relevant offers landed at the right time

inbox mailers demo triggered emails

Demo Inbox Mailers → improve deliverability, jumpstart opens, & boost clicks (50%-70% open rates)

Just a few possibilities that could keep a deep-pocketed couple loyal. Related survey:

  1. 61% of buyers think brands should be more thoughtful in using personal information to predict customer needs
  2. 55% of US and UK consumers say they trust brands less than in the past

*Read 33 Customer Journey Map Tips & Tools (and how to use)

Using that Knowledge in Email Campaigns

Before you send a newsletter or promo, ask yourself if you’re predicting what the subscriber needs. Or if you’re predicting what you want them to need. 

Also, technology can’t replicate friendly service consumers remember from the past. Doesn’t matter if those memories are just nostalgia. It’s their reality.

Friendly service has to come from the person who programs automated email campaigns. 

Trust and Loyalty take Time

Consumers often trust product advice from friends and family over brand messaging → (80% of those US / UK consumers who trust brands less agree. 71% of them don’t trust sponsored social media posts / 65% don’t trust traditional advertisements)

A friend in my town owns a store – family-owned since 1967. Before buying the place, he worked there as a kid. He knows every family around.

Hard for a brand to buy that kind of loyalty. Time is a powerful loyalty builder. Taking time with people, but also when customers know your business will stand the test of time (a guarantee is meaningless if there’s no faith your business will be open in 3 years).

Most consumers aren’t experts on funnels, inbound marketing, lead magnets, etc. But they are more suspicious than ever. The internet pulled the curtain back on everything – Ellen’s a jerk and wrestling’s fake😥, but consumers trust family and friends.

How to Know a Loyalty Program’s Effective?

Only 42% of brand executives think their customer loyalty strategies are effective (Harvard Business Review)

More data to track (you’re welcome). But if you don’t track the effectiveness of your loyalty programs, you may be wasting resources. 

Besides metrics, ask your subscribers what they like and dislike about your program:

  • Do an email survey (easy)
  • Ask for a reply via email (easier)

Disappointing rewards are the top reason millennials abandon customer loyalty programs (Statista)

loyalty program

Brands Lean into Causes Despite Blowback

Now, it’s unlikely your organization was around in 1967. Doesn’t mean you can’t build trust fast – if you take a stand.

Will that cost you fans and sales? Yep. Brands with super-loyal followers have haters. 

You can be lukewarm if you’re Goodyear or IBM.

If you’re starting up, choose hot or cold if you want more loyalty.

Or risk looking like every other sock retailer / widget maker / consultant on the web. I buy socks made exclusively from silver goat hair because the brand took a stand.🐐

Seriously, why do you think some successful brands let comedians make up ad copy on their podcasts? Because loyal fans of comics know BS when they hear it. Bill Burr saying “Dear Valued Customer” won’t work.


The Best Loyalty Program

My dad talks a lot. Which helped him with his loyalty program when he had a house painting business. Did he know it was a program? He never called it that but he knew taking time to talk to homeowners led to more work and referrals. 

It was natural. He liked telling stories and customers enjoyed listening to them. They referred tons of friends, neighbors, and family to him. 

So much so, he had a wait list longer than a dentist. And painters were everywhere. Not many willing to pause working to chat with customers though. 

Or perhaps their stories sucked! 

loyalty program

*Should he have tracked his referrals with a loyalty program? Yes, it could have led to expansion and bigger profits. 

**61% of global consumers have cut ties with a brand over poor customer service. (Key point: poor customer service is defined by the customer, not by the brand and could simply mean not being heard.)

More Referral Loyalty

Two more quick anecdotal examples of building customer loyalty and getting referrals.

  1. Business coach: She gets all her work via word of mouth. Some in an odd way. She also trains dogs. Who has expendable income to pay for dog training? High-earners and business owners who know other business owners. 
  1. Commercial photographer: He found little success in photography until he got an “in” with one of the largest companies in the field. The “in” was via a friend of a friend. Instant loyalty from the person who hired him at the company. 

Loyalty programs come in various forms. They should all be trackable. Yet, it’s wise to remember the personal aspects and opportunities of loyalty, trust, and having the good word spread by people in your orbit.

Now for Gen Z stats and facts on being loyal to a brand. 

Gen Z Customer Loyalty

Before the pandemic, almost a third (31%) of Gen Z – digital natives – had never purchased anything online. Since COVID-19, the vast majority (87%) say their online shopping skills have improved.

Now that they’ve grown up and have money to spend. They’re flexin’:

  • 63% have less patience with slow or poorly functioning websites
  • 37% either abandon a purchase or post a negative review with a poor digital shopping experience

I’ve seen negative Yelp reviews by people who didn’t even hire a company. Example: They simply didn’t like the construction company’s estimate!

Can’t say they were Gen Zers but… the stats above suggest treating them with kid gloves (no offense youngsters😅).

Seriously, treat them right because they now have incomes → and that it-factor → they’ll shop after we Olds drop.😐

Loyalty Program Wrap Up 

The best way to build customer loyalty is to be real and give your audience a reason to be loyal.

Email is the most personal and efficient way to accomplish that. 

  1. Keep subscribers loyal and they’ll become buyers
  2. Keep buyers thrilled and they’ll turn into life-long customers 
  3. Then their loyalty will influence others over the years and decades

Um, there are VIP subscribers on your email list right now who would like to tell you their thoughts on your loyalty program or the one you need to start. And here’s more Gen Z intel in an infographic.

🎉Have a safe and Happy New Year’s, from the Inbox Hacking crew.

Knowledge Base

Knowledge, but first motivation → don’t do it Johnny.

One of the top traffic sources of 2022? Still email, says survey.

How brands get the most customer feedback (email 60%).

Need more time to focus on email campaigns? Then delegate like smart folks.

Delegation is hard. No one’s as efficient as you. And won’t be unless they learn by doing. 

Self  Help 

How can the most ridiculous spam emails of 2022 guide you on your email campaigns?

You know we say not to look like a spammer to ISPs. So your deliverability doesn’t suffer.

But anything inside your emails that seems suspicious or even “off” can make a subscriber hit delete or unsubscribe.

Avoid that:

  • Use catchy subject lines, not sketchy ones
  • Make it clear where links go 
  • Ensure they recognize your sender name
  • Using humor? Be sure they get the joke
  • Proofread because spammers don’t (major news outlets either 🤐)

We’ll go through 7 of the 10 because 3 of those emails seemed legit to me and I plan on being FTX-wealthy by morning. 
  1. Reality: If the real Kylie Jenner emailed me, I’d call the FBI. A fake Kylie Jenner is likely a safer bet. And yeah, calling anyone besides the FBI would be safer also. The Texas Rangers seem like stand-up folks. 
  2. Pitiful: What do I love more than emails trying to loan me money? SMS loan offers! Anyway, this loan shark email screwed up with the intro: “ATTN.” Then ended worse: “Regards.” No one talks like that and should NOT write like that. Do better, miscreants.
  3. Be Happy: Points for brevity. Spammer tried a vague CTA and generic link but comforted readers with “Don’t worry, it’s safe.” Correction, “IT’S SAFE.”
  4. BTC Bite: This spam message plays on fears of America melting down – nah, stable as ever 🤐. With a meltdown, you can make bank with Bitcoin apparently by replying to an email with one giant block of scary text.
  5. Ivory: GetResponse jumped the gun thinking a scammer is up to no good giving away a dead man’s piano. Sure, you could lose your life savings or end up in the Bates Motel if you replied. But Facebook Marketplace is littered with free pianos. 
  6. Nigerian Prince 2.0: Now spammers say they’re from Ukraine instead and need to forward you money to hold for them. And yes, getting with them on WhatsApp is perfectly normal for scenarios like this. Any email starting with “do not despair at my sudden contact with you” is a sign an idiot wrote it and seeks one to read it further.
  7. Charity: Again, spammers, your intro sucks so I’d never get to the line where you’re lying about building a school for blind penguins. Intro: “I hope you are strong and keeping safe.” Has a friend ever uttered that phrase to you? If so, my sympathies – and regards.😅 Please unfriend them, they’re a spammer.

*Shout-out to Inbox Hacking Subscribers → Kevin @ GoldenHippo (brand builders) and Aneka @ EcommBuilder (ecommerce courses)

Facts & Stats  

  • Email is 40% better at converting compared to Facebook & Twitter (Snov)
  • 69% of brand executives say they’ve increased loyalty investment over the past two years
  • Loyalty management makes up 23% of global brands’ customer ecosystem spending (Business Wire)

*Pre Inbox Mailers Quote Circa 1995… “The perfect time to forget to buy coffee is when you wish to get out of a marriage. Coffee is holding 48% of relationships together.” ~ Attorney Ken ‘Prenup’ Billups

Marketing Musings

Can you buy brand loyalty?

Sure. You can sell it too. 

88% of consumers say it takes 3+ purchases to become loyal to a brand.

Selling cars or other big-ticket items? Better make the first sale / post-sale service count since it’ll be years before sale #2.

For smaller ticket items – how hard is it for consumers to make that first purchase?

Is it a hassle? Are the items hard to find? Is there a free version to try? Do you have an exceptional guarantee? Can they schedule a demo inside the email? 

The easier purchase #1 is, purchases 2 and 3 become more likely.

Probably a good idea to make purchase #2 even easier than #1…

Use product recommendations in email campaigns. 

Not only in the follow-up email. But the email six weeks later and the one five months later.

Get Hacking

Today’s Hack is timely. If your open rates are as stale as off-brand bread, then test a time change. Instead of sending at the top of the hour, schedule your emails to go out a few minutes earlier or say 22 minutes later. Ex. Send at 8:51 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. sharp.

You could find a less crowded inbox and increase opens. Inbox Mailers has even better timing and we did the testing for you. Demo Inbox Mailers to see how our triggered emails hit the inbox with perfect timing. Up to 70% open rates and increased click volume are the results. 

📝Please click on the quick survey below. Your thoughts are desired…