Loyalty is about creating relationships with your best customers and all great relationships are reciprocal. In loyalty, that typically means that if a customer spends a certain amount of money with your brand, you give them a something they want in return; a discount, free item, upgraded status, or better customer experience.
But relationships are more complicated now.
For modern consumers, especially the coveted millennial consumer, it’s not just about being rewarded for purchases. These fickle consumers want more from brands now. They want to engage on a deeper level and they are hunting for the products, services, and experiences that accurately reflect their values. Your loyalty program can help deliver the opportunity for consumers to get to know your brand on a deeper level. By leveraging interactions, you can deepen their relationship with your brand by incentivizing members to interact with brand content in a way they may not have otherwise considered.
The good news is, interactions aren’t just another immeasurable brand building initiative. Members who are incentivized for engaging with brands in non-purchase behaviors are more engaged with the brand and the program, and end up purchasing more than those who don’t.
For example, a global CPG has seen that members who engage with interaction earning opportunities (receive good will points via a post on their Facebook or Twitter page, earn points for reading an article or watching a video, etc.) purchase 250% more product over their lifetime than those who don’t.
While there are many types of interactions you can reward members for in your loyalty program, each brand needs to find the right mix that works for them. Most often, brands I work with tend to gravitate to offering incentives for the following types of interactions: 

  • Reading articles and watching videos – an easy way to build brand affinity and push content in an age where consumers are tuning out ads at a staggering pace.
  • Surveys – a great choice to drive high engagement and get member feedback. Many programs love that surveys allow members to give feedback on the program, products, etc. in a controlled medium.
  • Good Will Points – commonly used for member acquisition, win-back offers, and surprise and delight campaigns.
  • Referrals – drive member advocacy and generate a high-quality membership base.
In addition, there are many more types of interactions that you can incent members to participate in:
  • Writing product reviews
  • Creating user generated content
  • Visiting your website
  • Reading emails
  • Linking social accounts/posting on social media
When designing your interaction mix, be sure to consider the following factors:
  • Frequency – how often will members be willing to participate?
  • Value- will the points be worth the members’ effort?
  • Targeting – do you want to open up these interactions to your entire database or are they better suited for more segmented, personalized campaigns?
  • Giveback – how much of your overall giveback do you want to drive from interactions vs. transactions?
  • Differentiation – how can you use interactions to help differentiate your program from competitors?
Ultimately, interactions can take place on any of the channels you control: your website, mobile app, email, in-store, and social media. Designing your interactions to have a seamless user experience is the key to delighting your best members and fostering long–term relationships.

Christy Reutiman is Manager – Communications & Member Engagement, at Aimia

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