Constant Contact®, Inc., the trusted marketing advisor to more than half a million small organizations worldwide. Each year, a select group of Constant Contact customers are honored with the All Star Award for their exemplary marketing results. PowerCard’s results ranked among the top 10% of Constant Contact’s customer base.
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Friday, March 16, 2012
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
A new loyalty program at Copperleaf Restaurant at Cedarbrook Lodge in Seattle launched yesterday.
“We want to show that we value the relationship with our customers, by giving back,” says culinary director Roy Breiman. “We want to show a genuine concern for the people who come here.”
And the program helps the restaurant, he adds, because it encourages customers to come back and accrue points or redeem rewards. It also introduces diners to new items on the restaurant’s menu, such as opting for a dessert when they usually wouldn’t.
Guests can sign up for Copperleaf Rewards online and they are immediately eligible for awards including a $20 gift certificate; and a complementary appetizer when purchasing two entrées any Sunday or Monday.
Members also receive rewards such as a complementary dessert on their birthday and a $20 gift certificate on the anniversary of them joining Copperleaf Rewards.
In addition, they accrue points each time they eat at the restaurant, based on how much they spend. They can redeem them for anything from a custom blended wine tasting for two people (150 points), to a seven-course tasting menu for two people with select northwest wine pairings and custom made herb boxes with organic garden seeds (7,500 points).
“A lot of our benchmarks for points are based around what we’re known for—high quality food and wine,” Breiman says.
The Greene Turtle chain of 31 casual dining/sports bars based in Maryland, with locations in three states and Washington, D.C., has had success for many years with its Mug Club loyalty program.
Customers pay an upfront fee of $35 to $45 (depending on the market) to buy a logoed mug that they keep at the restaurant. Any time they order a 16-ounce pint of beer, their 18-ounce mug is filled, so they get a discount—“and that’s any beer, any time,” says Chris Janush, spokesman for the brand.
Members are also invited to exclusive events or offers such as free appetizers during happy hour “so they do have a sense of ownership and VIP membership when they come in,” he says.
“What it does for us is it creates a relationship with customers. What we really try to develop in every location we open is the neighborhood feel. There’s that feeling when you come in that employees will remember who you are.”
And having these members is great marketing, Janush adds. “They are really brand ambassadors for us.”
Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville, New York, has three levels to its loyalty program: silver, gold and platinum.
Alongside the typical offer of a free entrée on members’ birthdays, it makes more extravagant offers.
Every month there’s a drawing for four to six free birthday parties for members to bring at least 10 of their friends.
“We want more people than less because when you get a group of people together they start drinking,” says chef and owner Marcus Guilliano. “There’s more synergy with 10 or more people.”
These parties have a $21 and more per person alcohol average,” he says. “And we all know how profitable alcohol is. I take a slow night and bring in 10 to 20 people.”
Guilliano’s also found that he can upsell to these members, but that he should do it once they’re in the restaurant, not before. “We’ve found that people respond better to that once they’re in the room, having a party, and in the mood.”
Aroma Thyme Bistro also runs a couple of Top 50 parties.
“We throw a party for our top spenders in a year. We put out the food; they buy the drinks,” Guilliano says. “We do upscale food and it’s not unlikely that guests will buy expensive wine. We can make $1,500 to $2,000 of sales in one night from alcohol.”
And he ensures he keeps his members coming back.
“If someone doesn’t dine with us for six months we send a card to our top 500 spenders with an offer to entice them back in,” he says. “We spent $466 just before Thanksgiving to send a no strings attached offer of $10 off for the next month and the result was just over $1,700 back.”
Loyalty programs can be very valuable if they’re part of an integrated marketing strategy,” says Denise Lee Yohn, a brand consultant who specializes in restaurant companies.
“If you are trying to reward your best customers, a loyalty program can be very effective.”
But she cautions against two things:
- Don’t be in too much or too little contact with your members. Around
twice a month is ideal, Lee Yohn says. “You don’t want to inundate them
with communication, but make sure you remain on your customers’ radar
- Don’t provide communication that’s not relevant to your loyalty program members. “Don’t just beat your own chest and talk about the great things that you do. People don’t always want to be hearing you talk about yourself.” Much better, she says, is to give members offers.
“You can then use that information to send out personalized offers,” she adds.
“You might as well use that to address [your customers] personally or to develop a targeted offer.”
It also means you can tailor your offerings specifically to a guest. “If you capture their birthdate, send them a birthday greeting and give them something free, but at least acknowledge that it’s a special date. You could also send out offers for their wedding anniversary, their kids’ birthdays, and other events.”
The Greene Turtle doesn’t gather information beyond birthdays from its Mug Club members “but going forward we do want to learn more about them,” Janush says.
“We have talked about a loyalty program that’s card based or code based on a phone to learn more about our customers. We would hope that can help us come up with better decisions and programs to grow revenue and keep us as a very attractive franchise opportunity.”
By Amanda Baltazar
Special thanks to Christopher Youngers at Cafe Trio for sending us this article!
Commentary: Loyalty marketing drives sales and brand affinity
In January, Starbucks shared some statistics to prove once and for all that loyalty marketing drives sales and brand affinity.
In its most recent earnings announcement, the company president reported that the My Starbucks Rewards program grew by more than 400,000 members in December 2011 alone – now totaling almost 4 million members. Just as impressive, 1 in 4 customers are using rewards cards instead of cash at the till, which create many other advantages. And in terms of sales impact, Starbucks' president said that the loyalty program is contributing to the topline in a significant way.
So, what does this mean for smaller QSRs? If your business is like most, you don't have the millions of dollars and other resources to do what Starbucks has done. But that doesn't mean loyalty marketing isn't a fit for your business. Perhaps you've tried punch cards in the past, but were unable to track the benefits of the program. Well, the landscape has changed in the past five years and here are three themes that will bring you up to speed on loyalty marketing today:
Not all Customers are Created Equal
Loyal customers can drive more than half of your sales. According to the Center for Retail Management at Northwestern University, about 12-15 percent of a business's most loyal customers contribute 55-70 percent of the company's total sales. These customers not only give their patronage to your business – they are also a source of growth. In a recent study by Granbury Restaurant Solutions about customer loyalty programs in restaurants, 82 percent of loyalty program members referred at least one person, and 42 percent referred four or more. Your most loyal, VIP customers are a powerful asset!
Just imagine what your business could be like if you were able to turn some of your regular customers into loyal VIPs. For example, at Perka, our loyalty revenue calculator was designed to help assess the spending habits of your current customer base and estimate, in advance, the impact that a loyalty program could have on your bottom line. The result could mean thousands dollars in additional annual sales.
Loyalty Programs are a More A Sustainable Alternative to Daily Deals
In recent years, you may have felt a lot of pressure to join the daily deals bandwagon. Some small businesses have found success with them, but in truth, that group is the minority. Although deal campaigns may bring in a handful of new customers, these programs don't promote long-term patronage and can be financially detrimental to small businesses as steep discounts gouge your bottom line. According to Beyond Customer, it costs nearly seven times more to recruit a new customer than it does to keep a current one. And since we know loyal customers refer friends, investing in your VIPs is the most sustainable way for small QSRs to increase your customer base.
Loyalty programs have also proven financial gains for companies who use them. The book, The Twelve Laws of Loyalty, cites a Bain Consulting study, which found the average company loses 20-40 percent of its customers every year. By decreasing customer attrition by just 5 percent, your business can improve its bottom line profits by 25-85 percent. Similarly, increasing customer loyalty by 1 percent is equivalent to reducing costs by 10 percent.
Forget Paper Cards, Loyalty is Mobile
If you've tried paper punch card programs in the past and found them cumbersome and difficult to track, you're not alone. Many small QSRs have avoided or stopped running loyalty programs because of that reason. But according to Deloitte Consulting, companies that track their customer loyalty are up to 60 percent more profitable. And in the past five years or so, technology has drastically improved tracking convenience.
Enter the mobile phone. Experian Simmons reported that more than 33 million U.S. consumers use mobile phones for shopping and many loyalty programs are recognizing the need to go mobile.
What business owners love is that mobile-based loyalty programs remove the anonymity of punch cards. You can know your best customers by name and build a relationship with them. Provide targeted offers based on their spending habits and best of all, mobile applications track the results of your program for you – you'll easily be able to see how the spending habits of your customers change and to what extent your loyalty program is growing.
Major companies like Starbucks are realizing the benefits of loyalty marketing and many QSRs are missing out on some degree of financial gains. Loyalty works: regardless of your industry, regardless of your size. And technology has made it easier than ever to get started. Your customers and bottom line will thank you.
Special thanks to Christopher Youngers at Cafe Trio for sending us this article!