Developing Incentive Programs to Speed Up Growth

During this edition of FranNet’s blog, we’re going to delve into the subject of developing incentive programs to speed up your growth and profitability. First—a cold hard fact. Our customers are evolving. They’re becoming more savvy, more conscientious, more discerning, prone to online review histories and price-conscious. Wrap that up into one amalgamation and you have consumers who are looking for more than just trading money for good and/or services. These folks are looking for both engagement and an experience with your franchise brand. Here are a few suggestions on delivering it to them.

Surveys and studies show that repeat customers spend more than new customers. And they need to be rewarded via incentives to keep them engaged. First and foremost, whatever incentive you plan to investigate must “fit” within not just the confines of your particular good or service, but within the rules and regulations of the franchise brand itself. Most, if not all, franchisors have taken charge in rolling out carefully developed incentive programs. They may go by names such as loyalty or rewards programs, but the sentiment is just the same. It’s a way for you to build up your franchise sales through augmented customer outreach.

Your incentive program must accomplish two key goals. There has to be a real reason to join the incentive program and frequent outreach updates which offer members an advantage over those who have not yet joined. Some common examples include the “punch card” tactic. Fill out an application to receive the card, get it punched at each purchase and enjoy free product or service after a set number of repeat purchases. But if you’re not selling donuts, how does this help everyone else? Glad you asked.

If your franchise offers a service-based product such as consulting—or even hair styling—why not arrange a program which rewards frequent customers with priority scheduling or appointment setting? Add-on discounts can be a popular strategy, as can special sales available to members ahead of the general public. If implemented correctly, word of the inclusiveness for incentive program members will eventually get around to those who have yet to take advantage.

It’s a proven fact that incentive programs can be a very effective use of your franchise’s marketing budget. That’s because you typically spend less to retain engaged customers than to go after new ones. And because loyalty club members provide you, the franchisor, with customer data, you have a better way to keep track of them, how they spend, and how you can continue to earn their future business via outreach.

Another advantage to considering a loyalty program is through the branding your franchise already provides. After all, it’s what you pay for when you enter the world of franchising. There’s no doubt that incentive programs go a long way towards developing deep ties to brand loyalty. Additionally, the programs can improve communication, increase month-over-month incremental sales and even contribute to organically grown word-of-mouth business referrals. Since these incentive programs are actually scalable in nature, they can become an efficient and effective method to market to the masses.

After making sure that you’re in the clear to develop a locally-based customer incentive program, carefully consider what you have to offer and see how your customer base responds. You may not always hit a home run, but keep returning to the plate and taking those swings at it. Effort matters and if you’re able to use incentives to tap into the psyche of the people who keep you in business, you’ll have knocked it out of the proverbial ballpark.

 

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Aug 22, 2017