THE CLARUS Blog

How to Start Optimizing Your Premium Loyalty Program

We talk a lot about all the great things that make a premium loyalty program that appeals to your most loyal customers. But, what does it take to make a premium loyalty program successful?

Did you say benefits that your customers want? If so, you’re right, but wait… There’s more.

You can offer great benefits, but are you presenting them in a way that appeals to prospective members? Are you creating a connection with your members? How are you engaging and rewarding your most senior members? Is any of it working?

Optimization turns a premium loyalty program into a successful premium loyalty program. It helps you achieve your goals. Set it and forget it doesn’t work. We all know that. An optimization engine that runs healthy consists of sweat, data, analysis, planning, constant testing… oh, and more sweat.

See why optimization is more important for premium loyalty programs than traditional programs.

You might ask yourself some questions. Where should I start? How do I know if I should be dedicating resources to optimization?

If you have a premium loyalty program with goals to drive revenue, you should be optimizing your program regularly. In this blog post, we’ll talk about how to start that process.

 

Analytics is King

First things first. Make sure you’re looking at your data and understanding it. Impressions, clicks, opens, joins and any/all types of conversion goals are the most actionable form of data. These metrics are showing true engagement and interaction with your program at any stage in the member cycle and should be at the base of your optimization engine.

Now that you have your data, how do you know where to start testing?

Short answer? Where the volume is. Obviously, conversions drive revenue. But, if your reach is limited and you aren’t driving enough traffic to your program offer, testing further down the funnel won’t deliver significant results you can build upon.

The larger your sample pool, the quicker you can be confident that results for a winning (or losing) test will hold and aren’t just by chance.

Significant test results will drive your optimization planning and focus. Having significant results is almost like knowing without a doubt that your test is a winner or loser and ultimately will give you confidence to be able to take action.

A statistical significance calculator will tell you confidence level based on the volume and difference in variation performance and give you a hint at how much more volume you may need to reach significance.

Using it for every test will keep your focus on achieving significant results you can make confident decisions on without acting too quickly on numbers that could change as soon as you roll out your “winning” variation.

 

Know What to Test

Ask the right questions. Survey your members and utilize user testing tools to get information from your demographic. Listen for what they like, what they don’t like and what doesn’t make sense to them.

What, why and how should come across crystal clear to prospective members looking to sign up for a premium loyalty program. Easier said than done.

But, with some insights through user testing, some of those key elements that may not immediately strike you as a problem have the potential to become the key to not only checking the boxes that get people converting, but they can create emotional connections that stick with a member throughout their lifecycle.

User interface, core message, call to actions, trust symbols, graphics, program price, level of commitment needed, and benefit value all impact performance and should be tested. At times, everyone gets program blindness and some things considered insignificant, with small tweaks, can end up driving up performance and ultimately revenue.

 

Keep it Clean, Keep it Simple

A/B testing is the cleanest way to get quick, clear results. It’s tempting to say, “For times sake, let’s test this, and that, oh and that too.” You won’t learn much because you don’t know which variable drove the performance changes. Successful optimization engines don’t just run on sweat. They run on results-based learning.

Now, that’s not to say that you should never test multiple variables at once. You absolutely should! But, they need to be all-inclusive and highly impactful.

Testing an updated email format, redesigned home page or different sign up experience needs to have a permanent place in optimization planning. There are only so many revisions you can make to an experience to try to push it to higher performance before it’s time to start from scratch.

Enough losing tests and stale performance always warrant a brand-new, fresh approach. And, with user research and due attention to every performance driving element, there can be more gain than risk.

Not only is it super exciting to test something brand spankin’ new, but there ends up being a million things you can test on your new experience… And the cycle restarts!

 

Test, Dust Yourself Off, and Test Again

Wins and losses build a repertoire that live at the foundation and answer the why of your next tests. The more you test, the more you learn. You’ll fail, but as long as you’re failing fast, learning and tracking analyses for every test, the engine is only getting stronger.

Optimization is a continuous cycle that while planned, can quickly change based on most recent learnings, sudden performance changes or company priorities.

Your plans should be determined ahead of time, but should absolutely change as you discover new things about your demographic and what makes it tick. Being agile and quickly adapting to the needs of your program makes it that much easier to keep on track to achieve your programs goals.

 

Shoot For The Stars

Sky’s the limit! Cliché, right? Well, its true.

Test everything. All the time. But, don’t just test everything, make sure you’re doing your homework and testing the right things.

Remember, loyalty programs aren’t set it forget it.

Members drive the success of your premium loyalty program and they wear the pants in the relationship. Keeping the focus on appealing to your members means you’re taking everything you’ve learned from them and adapting your program to achieve that appeal and take it to the next level.

Analyze your data and learn things. Data takes the center stage for every premium loyalty program. Ultimately, the numbers need to work in your favor. Acting on statistically significant results and improving performance is the goal of implementing an optimization engine and can be achieved with the right amount of dedication and resources.

No test is too small, and no obstacle is too large. Surprisingly impactful results can come from even the most minute changes, so large changes are worth the time to continue pushing the lever on where your performance can be.

Once optimization efforts have proven to make your premium loyalty program successful, it shouldn’t be long before someone sets the bar higher. Everything is possible. Keep it going!

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