How to Effectively Promote Loyalty without Discounting
March 14, 2018
Doug Sabanosh

When we think of promotions, we often think of discounts and coupons.  eCommerce websites and retailers have “check out screens” with an area  specifically for promo codes, restaurants run specials, manufacturers offer  coupons … but what if promoting your company didn’t have to mean giving your  profit away. 

That’s when gamification and social media comes into the picture.  

Gamification is the application of game elements, such as levels, challenges, or a  point system to a non-game context, such as customer loyalty.  

By using different tactics to engage and interact with your audience, you have a  better chance of building loyalty than with a simple transaction. 

You Don’t Need to Discount to Build Brand Loyalty 

First of all, the majority of loyalty programs out there are strictly transaction  based. The issue with that is if you’re a small or medium-sized business, you’re  losing a lot of money by giving discounts, rewards and other things with a high  monetary value. There are many ways to interact with your audience without  giving a part of your profit away. 

Additionally, there is plenty of data that supports that these discounts don’t  actually build loyalty. Instead you’re building loyalty to a deal, and as soon as  they find a better deal elsewhere, they’re going to go elsewhere. Providing your  audience with an experience that’s unique and personal to them is really where  you’re going to bridge the gap between these transactional based programs and  these gamified loyalty programs. 

Recognize Your Customers for Being Brand Loyal 

Instead of giving customers a discount, research has shown that recognition is a  great way to engage with and keep your customers. There are different human 

motivators that can influence people to do things, and for a lot of people  recognition is a huge motivator. It can be as simple as calling someone out on  social media to thank them for a follow, or you can even send emails to  customers who just gave you a review. There are lots of options here. 

Build Brand Loyalty with Contests 

Another way to build brand loyalty is through contests. You can give customers  entries for purchases, earning points, etc, but you will only have to reward one  winner with a prize (instead of discounting every purchase). This way you’re not  spending a ton of money, but you have the potential to engage a ton of people. 

Brand Loyalty and Gamification 

By introducing a point system or levels to your loyalty program, customers and  your audience will have the chance to earn their keep. Gamification is an  effective tool that you can use to inspire brand loyalty, acquire new customers,  retain existing customers, promote your brand, and create measurable results — 

all without discounts or coupons for your products or service. 

How? Request and reward. If users complete requested tasks (i.e., share this  link, follow us on Facebook) then they earn points. These points can lead to raffle  entries, unlocking certain parts of your website, offering new information to users,  invitations to events and more. 

When you go to build your loyalty program strategy, don’t forget that you don’t  need to discount and sometimes, simple is better.