When it comes to exploring new marketing tactics, VIP programs are usually neglected. Many business owners only have a surface-level understanding of how these programs work and how beneficial they can be – so they merely consider building one, and never really implement it.
Whilst they shouldn’t be used to the detriment of a good marketing strategy, VIP programs can be a great addition to your toolkit. After all, 68% of loyal customers would enter a loyalty program if one is offered to them. If they aren’t offered one, of course, they won’t take it. As you can see, there’s a great opportunity to be explored here.
But first, let’s understand exactly what a VIP Program stands for, and why you should start building yours.
What is a VIP Program, and How Can My Business Benefit From It?
A VIP program, reward program, or loyalty program is reserved for your most loyal customers – the ones who love your brand, buy frequently, and are more likely to spread the word.
Because those customers are already known for their repeat purchases, you’ll give them even more reasons to love your brand and bring in more customers.
The specific benefits of loyalty programs include:
- Repeat purchases
- Increased referrals
- Boosted sales and revenue
- More customers!
We’re going to get into the details in a moment. The above are just so you can understand that reward programs can bring the benefits every single business is striving towards.
The question is: how do you create a VIP program that works, and what are some examples of successful programs I can get one or two ideas from?
Take Starbucks Rewards, for instance. Starbucks customers may join the app and collect points in exchange for free food and drinks. These points are also called “reward stars”, which customers may choose to accumulate or spend as they earn. As an example, they could spend 25 stars on an espresso shot, or accumulate 25 more stars in order to earn a free cup of hot coffee or tea.
Not only that, but members of the Starbucks Rewards program are the first people to know about seasonal offers. VIP programs are all about exclusivity, and we all know how big of a role it plays in persuasion. This feeling of being “the first to get” and “the first to know” is enough to make coffee aficionados feel like choosing starbucks was their best decision.
Of course, several brands offer reward programs and find success with it. Another example is Sephora’s Beauty Insider, in which clients may exchange their earned points for free cosmetics.
Now, what benefits do all VIP programs have in common? Here they are.
A Boost in Sales Numbers
When loyal customers accumulate a certain number of points or purchases, this qualifies them for exclusive discounts on certain items. If their purchase is above a certain value, some of them may also be eligible for free shipping. Free shipping + a huge discount = success! This combination is sure to get them coming back for additional purchases.
Besides, if your business constantly suffers with seasonal slumps, VIP programs could boost your sales numbers during periods of slow activity. If many of your customers have been accumulating discount-heavy rewards, they’ll be more likely to buy from you at any time of year.
Increased Brand Loyalty
People will only be loyal to your brand if it benefits them in some way. What’s in it for them? How can you earn their loyalty when they could choose countless other brands over yours?
Gladly, VIP programs are fully based on building and nurturing customer loyalty, above all. It doesn’t end at “thank you for your purchase!”. Instead, there’s a whole infrastructure around delighting existing customers and attracting new ones. It shows you’re really fighting for your customers’ happiness while giving them discounts they wouldn’t find anywhere else.
Encouraged Customer Engagement
A great example for this one is Shein. As a rule of thumb, people will only consider buying a product after looking at ratings and reviews. Trouble is, writing reviews and even leaving a star-rating is…hard work. If people could simply receive their product and do nothing else, they would.
However, apps like Shein turn this around by granting points for each rating and review a customer leaves on a product. This keeps the wheels turning because, the more reviews and ratings a product has, the larger the sense of trust is around a potential purchase. And the more products a customer buys, the more comments they’ll want to write so they’ll earn more points…and so on. See how this works?
It Makes Customers Feel Special
When built correctly, VIP programs make customers feel like this was their best decision ever. It makes them happy to be a part of your world.
Ideally, the messaging around customer loyalty discounts and special offers will focus on exclusivity. You should make your customers feel like they’re part of something huge – because they are.
It could be the biggest opportunity in the world – but if your messaging doesn’t reflect that, customers will feel like they can get it anywhere else. So make it count. If you’re giving them early access to a product, focus on the fact that they’re some of the first people to get their hands on that. If it’s not available to the public, let them know. Make them feel like royalty.
It Generates Helpful Feedback
Feedback is the backbone of your business. Without feedback, a business is unable to grow. This is yet another way VIP programs can create a huge opportunity for growth: by giving customers early access to a product in exchange for their feedback.
The feedback you’ll receive is golden. It’ll give you a timely chance to improve on the product and make it even more desirable for upcoming customers. And the more desirable a product is, the more sales you’ll make.
It Creates More Referral Opportunities
You might be familiar with this one: TikTok’s referral links. If you ever wonder why the number of TikTok’s users continues to explode, remind yourself that they have a solid TikTok Rewards program in place.
TikTok Rewards allows users to earn points (rewards) by inviting their friends to join the app. Users can generate a unique referral code, and for each person who signs up to TikTok through that specific code, the user earns points. Their earned points can then be exchanged for money and coupons.
Besides, we’ve also got word-of-mouth referrals. When customers are satisfied with a brand’s loyalty program or service in general, they’ll be more than happy to tell their peers about it. It’s all about making your customers feel valued.
Do You Have a VIP Program Yet?
Now that you understand the deeper meaning behind VIP programs, you know how to leverage customer loyalty to increase your sales. If you’ve already got raging fans, a reward program is a much-needed bonus they’ll be more than happy to join.
All customers, without exception, are always on the lookout for free stuff and discounts. For this reason, businesses of any size should consider creating a VIP program if they’re willing to increase their loyal customer base.