The Step-By-Step Guide to

Loyalty Program Implementation

Launching a winning loyalty program is a multi-step process — careful planning, the right campaigns and perks, ongoing promotion, and more. Follow our step-by-step guide to ensure your loyalty program succeeds from the start.

Timelines, emails, strategy, social campaigns — oh my!

Retention is in, meaning your loyalty program needs to succeed from the start. Thoroughly planning each stage of your program is essential, but implementation doesn’t stop there. Choosing the right program structure for your brand entices customers and taps into their motivations, keeping them engaged and active. Pre-launch campaigns create intial buzz and excitement, and post-launch strategy keeps that excitement alive with ongoing optimization.

In this guide, we explain each step of the program launch process, including:

  • How to create a launch timeline
  • When to build your program
  • How to choose engaging, effective campaigns
  • When to start communicating with shoppers about launch dates
  • What channels to use during program promotion
Table of Contents
Build a Program Timeline
Set Specific Program Goals
Create the Right Program Structure
Set Up Your Loyalty Emails
Get Ready to Launch
It’s Time to Launch
Monitor Program Metrics
Build a Program Timeline
Set Specific Program Goals
Create the Right Program Structure
Set Up Your Loyalty Emails
Get Ready to Launch
It’s Time to Launch
Monitor Program Metrics
Build a Program Timeline
Chapter 01

Build a Program Timeline

The first step in your loyalty program implementation is to build a detailed, feasible timeline. Why? Because how you launch your program will directly impact its participation rate and overall customer sentiment. Depending on the size of your team, clue in different departments as early as possible, so your program launch is cohesive and effective.

  • Decide the program completion date: Building a loyalty program takes time to decide what structure, rewards, and perks best suit your brand. So before choosing a launch date, align with your team on the program’s exact completion date.
  • Choose a launch date: You’ll need ample time to build excitement around the program, as turning shoppers into lifelong members is the most important step. Once you know the program’s build completion date, choose a launch date a few weeks later. This allows you to schedule your promotional campaigns and strategies effectively.
  • Drill down into the CX: Make sure you’re thinking about the customer experience and making it easy for shoppers to learn about and join the program. You’ll also want to think about your ongoing promotional strategy to engage new shoppers.
    • Motivation: How do we draw awareness and visibility to the program in a way that entices shoppers to join? 
    • Education: How do we explain the program effectively?
    • Engagement: How do we keep the program top of mind for customers and use it to catalyze excitement and loyalty for your brand?
  • Create a soft launch strategy: A few weeks before launch presents the perfect opportunity to create buzz. Start teasing the program via on-site teaser pages, social campaigns, emails, and SMS — and ensure there’s consistency exists across promotional channels.
Set Specific Program Goals
Chapter 02

Set Specific Program Goals

When measuring the program’s success, always look to the specific goals set and structure used to create the program. Of course, baseline metrics like points earned, points spent, referrals made, and AOV are important. But, investigate how your program influences customer behavior over time and how you perform against business-specific benchmarks.

Program goals can include:

You can build a loyalty program based on just one or two goals or all of the above — but it’s necessary to define how you will measure success. With clear benchmarks, you’ll know what’s working more concretely — and you can quickly pinpoint and adjust what’s not.

Revolution Beauty & Defining Brand-Specific Success

When creating their loyalty program, Revolution Beauty knew they wanted to incentivize customers to shop directly from their site. And, with over 75% of their online shoppers only making one purchase, the brand also needed to boost retention rates.

Using the specific customer behaviors they wanted to reward, drive, and change, Revolution Beauty strategized and built a successful program. As a result, they delivered engaging loyalty experiences that tapped into their shoppers’ motivations. Before launch, Revolution Beauty reached out to customers via social media to understand exactly what shoppers wanted to see from their program. Now, their customers have a reason to shop D2C and make repeat purchases.

The brand increased their average purchase rate by 234%, evidencing how delivering the right customer experiences transforms retention efforts. And loyalty members quickly became their best customers — the brand saw a 378% increase in lifetime revenue per member and a 44% increase in average order value (AOV).

Create the Right Program Structure
Chapter 03

Create the Right Program Structure

When we talk about bringing your program to market, there are two core elements: creating a captivating program and establishing the right communication strategy around it.

First, create a program structure that resonates with shoppers while also targeting larger brand goals. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Choose 4 to 6 campaigns that align with your objectives: reward for signing up, leaving a review, adding your birthday. From here, you’ll need to assign these campaigns value — what shoppers receive in exchange for these actions.

Your program reward structure should be obtainable and easy to grasp. Customers need to understand program mechanics and reward options when they land on your rewards page. Why? Simplicity breaks down customer hesitation and drives program engagement. But, you can always optimize and adjust the program post-launch. For more information on creating a strategic loyalty program from the ground up, read our Quickstart Guide to Loyalty Programs.

Now, consider how the program elements you’ve created will resonate with shoppers as you begin to strategize promotion.

Consider these questions:

  • What rewards and perks will entice different groups of shoppers?
  • How do you plan to engage different customer segments about your program launch?
  • Do your VIP tier names resonate with your target audience?
  • How will you encourage shoppers to “level up” their VIP tier?
  • Which reward or perk is best to tease during your pre-launch stages?
  • After initial launch, how can you launch timely campaigns to encourage sign-ups from new shoppers?
Set Up Your Loyalty Emails
Chapter 04

Set Up Your Loyalty Emails

Sending out timely, engaging emails to promote your program is integral to your communication strategy. The following emails are necessary to set up before going live with your rewards program.

Program Announcement Email

First, create a program announcement email for launch day. This email is your most significant opportunity to celebrate the program’s launch, create excitement, and, most importantly, drive customers to create their loyalty accounts.

Send an email to all email subscribers promoting the launch. Remember, this is your first chance to announce the program, so be sure to include:

  • A catchy subject line to ensure customers open the email
  • A brief overview of how the program works — how to join, earn points, and redeem rewards
  • A call-to-action to encourage shoppers to create an account

Welcome Email

Next, set up your Welcome emails. After shoppers join, it’s important to further explain the ins and outs of the program.

Joining the program is an exciting milestone in a customer’s journey with your brand, so make sure you give them a warm welcome. Now is also a great time to let customers know if they’ve accrued any welcome loyalty points.

Make sure you explain the program’s benefits — redemption options, VIP tiers, points for purchases. Then, with a clear CTA, encourage shoppers to check out the rewards page to check their points balance and rewards and begin completing some campaigns to earn points.

Referral Share Email

Turn happy loyalty members into organic social ambassadors. Once customers are referred to your brand, they receive a personalized referral email encouraging them to shop your products.

Redemption Created Email

Make sure loyalty members know they have a usable reward, and send a Redemption Created email when shoppers have redeemable points for a coupon. The email will include the redeemable coupon used at checkout.

Tier Earned Email

This email will be sent out to customers when they enter a new VIP tier. If you’re offering coupons to customers for entering a tier, make sure to include their discount code in this email.

Other recommended emails include:

  • Customer Birthday
  • Customer Anniversary
  • Points Reminders
  • Redemption Reminders
  • Referral Share Reminders
Get Ready to Launch
Chapter 05

Get Ready to Launch

Getting customers excited about your program prior to launch ensures high sign-up and participation rates, driving your program’s success through the roof. Shoppers love to be a part of an exclusive community and creating suspense around the program’s launch only heightens their anticipation.

Here are effective strategies to get shoppers talking about your upcoming program:

On-Site Teaser Pages

Use Yotpo’s “Coming Soon” module to create buzz around the program, engage with shoppers, and collect emails before going live with your rewards page.

Pre-Launch Social Campaigns

Tease the program launch on social a week or so before launch. Leverage linking features on different social platforms to start collecting customers’ emails and phone numbers. You can also offer incentives to those who sign up for the program early.

Pre-Launch Emails

Similar to social, email is a great channel to incentivize pre-launch sign-ups for shoppers already subscribed to your email list.

Pre-Launch SMS Campaigns

You can also send personalized messages announcing the forthcoming program with your SMS subscriber list. According to a Yotpo consumer survey, almost half (49%) of consumers have already signed up to receive SMS messages from their favorite brands, and loyalty updates are among the top messages consumers prefer to receive.

HomeWorx Catalyzes Customer Excitement

HomeWorx, a home fragrance brand, partnered with Yotpo to build their loyalty program. Promotion leading up to launch largely contributed to their success.

They implemented:

  • On-site teasers
  • On-site countdown
  • Engaging social campaigns
  • Banners on-site linking to the rewards page
  • Email campaigns
  • SMS campaigns

“The launch of our loyalty program was the biggest sales volume day we’ve had since we launched our website!. We did 62% of the total week’s volume on the day of our launch. All of our metrics were positive across the board, and customers were extremely engaged,” says Brittany Burke, HomeWorx Brand Manager.

It’s Time to Launch
Chapter 06

It’s Time to Launch

The day is finally here — your loyalty program’s launch day! Now is the time to keep up the momentum you’ve created during pre-launch and push your program’s launch on all channels.

Launch Day

Like your pre-launch strategy, leverage on-site features, social, email, and SMS.

On-Site Banners and Footers

Given that your homepage is probably the highest-trafficked page on your site, it is prime real estate to promote the program’s launch. Leverage the banner section above the fold to announce the launch. And, highlight the membership sign-up incentive to drive traffic to the Rewards page.

You can also promote the program on any other high trafficked website pages to maximize visibility upon launch.

Social Campaigns

Social media is an impactful way to engage your community and work your brand voice into the program’s implementation. On the day of the launch, leverage stories on Facebook and Instagram. You can also create a launch video or social stories to announce the program. Using these platforms, educate customers on joining, earning points, and redeeming rewards.

After posting, you can also add these stories to your social highlights so new and existing customers can learn more about program details We also encourage you to create organic social posts and paid ads to promote program’s launch.

SMS Campaigns

Create SMS campaigns to announce the program to your subscriber list.

When it comes to SMS:

  • Keep messages concise to stay within the character limit for SMS campaigns
  • Be sure to highlight any account creation incentives you may be offering
  • Include a CTA linking to the rewards page for customers to create an account

Monitor Program Metrics
Chapter 07

Monitor Program Metrics

You’ve officially launched your brand’s loyalty program. What’s the next step? Management, optimization, and ongoing promotion.

When measuring the program’s success, look out for cues like:

  • A steady flow of new member sign-ups: This indicates the program is remaining fresh, engaging, and relevant for new shoppers. Launch timely campaigns to keep shoppers interested.
  • Members actively redeem rewards: If too few members redeem rewards, it may indicate an issue with their obtainability or desirability. This may also signal a promotional issue, and it can be solved by sending redemption reminder emails or text messages to members about their reward balance.
  • Higher AOV among members compared to non-members: Your loyalty members are your most valuable shoppers, which is represented in part by AOV. Basket size-oriented perks, like free samples, can boost cross-product adoption.
  • Higher CLTV among members compared to non-members: Similarly, loyalty members are long-term, frequent shoppers. If you’re not seeing a higher CLTV from members, consider your reward offerings. Do they resonate and excite your target audience?

Agile loyalty programs offer you the flexibility to adjust your program as needed and adapt to shoppers’ desires.

Ongoing Promotion

Ongoing program promotion is also crucial. It ensures new shoppers are aware and excited to engage with the program — it also keeps sign-up rates high. KOS, a health and wellness brand, promotes their loyalty program through Instagram stories. They ask viewers to answer trivia questions about the program, effectively educating new shoppers about the ins and outs of membership and redemption.

Ready to start building your loyalty program? Request a demo.