X Marks the Spot of a Well Thought-Out Loyalty Program


Before you get into the app business, you’ll need to determine if your app is not only worth the time and energy and investment, but you’ll also need to figure out whether it’s well thought-out enough to go to market and it it can build loyalty. You don’t want to rush a product before it’s complete, and you don’t want to rush an app into development before it’s ready for that next step.

So how do you determine if your app is good to go before hustling it out into the world and into consumers’ hands? And how can you ensure loyal app users that will continue to use your app far beyond the initial download?

We’ve previously provided a guide for measuring customer retention, but now it’s time to dive deeper into the world of constructing a loyalty program that goes beyond simply retaining users but rewarding them for using your app. You want to be able to keep users coming back, and one of the best ways to do that is by creating brand recognition and loyalty by offering your users something they can’t get anywhere else.


Why Should I Care About Loyalty? 

Why are you making this app? Why is your app going to be better than things already on the market? What will your app provide that your competitors can’t?

You’ll first need to go through the steps of validating your app, which includes determining what your place in the market is, what problem you’re going to solve, and what you can specifically offer that your competitors aren’t.

A loyalty program has an untold amount of benefits. Now, if you’ve got a product that absolutely nobody has out there, then maybe you won’t need a loyalty program because they’re only going to find what you have through your app.

However, if you’ve got a lot of competition, consider that a loyalty or rewards program will help them come back to you time and time again looking for what nobody else offers. Cater to their values by figuring out what it is about you that they came for. It will help with conversion rates to turn upfront users into continuing users


Get Feedback Early On and Utilize Free Marketing Channels

Consumers love being able to provide input and feedback on their engagement with an app. Offering an upfront and clean feedback system is crucial for connecting with consumers in a way many haven’t done before.

One of the best methods for doing this is for building a simple landing page advertising your app, potentially what will be your wireframed app idea and your MVP,  and getting it out to early-on loyal app users who can give you feedback on the beta testing.

Another thing to keep in mind is that consumers don’t want to fill out lengthy and time-consuming contact forms. Instead, make it simple. Let them easily leave comments or reviews, and create a direct messaging system where they can reach you. Be sure to respond immediately—it’ll help build app user loyalty upfront.

You also want to take advantage of free and direct marketing channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to gain brand recognition and build digital awareness of your product. Make sure you mention your rewards and loyalty program, and make it easy and simple to earn those rewards through engagement points.


Building Loyalty Upfront

Remember that the easiest way to build loyalty upfront is by ensuring the onboarding process is ready, smooth, and seamless. Having a functional and well-working app is going to be crucial for them to keep coming back. Don’t overload them with information upfront, and make sure that the actual technology behind your app is solid and that they don’t have extraneous loading times or too much unnecessary and irrelevant information to sift through. Basically, ensure great performance usability. This can be tested by direct feedback and beta testing and how consumers initially view the usability and engagement with your app.

Consider utilizing information hierarchies and customer segments – what do your upfront users tend to download the app for? Consider that and direct their attention immediately to the part of your app they came for, and then slowly lead them into the other components of your app.

Offer those first-time users a specific reward or incentive for continuing to use your app. First time downloading your app? Give them a specific discount code they can apply to any of your products. Ask them to sign up for push notifications and reward them for it. Make it easy and easily understood on what you’re offering upfront. Include it in your marketing messages and emphasize what they’ll get if they use you.


Rewards and Discounts and Prizes, Oh My!

In addition, it helps to create upfront loyalty rewards, like coupons, discounts, or early access to sales and products you’re pushing out into the market. Users tend to download things specifically for discounts and coupons.

You can do this through several methods. One of the methods we recommend is creating a tier system where you tally up the points of your most loyal users and provide the top 10% with special discounts or rewards that the others don’t get. Create a system of engagement moments that you can measure and rank up. For instance, count how many times a user clicks on push notifications, how many times they open the app a week, or how many products they’ve already bought from you.

Not only do you make sure your top-spenders keep coming back, but you can incentivize using your app more to make sure that those who are initially lukewarm about your app use it more to get those rewards.

Just remember that people are much more likely to spend on an in-app transaction than on upfront app payments. Because of this, consider the benefits of not using paywalls or making your app cost money to download, but instead provide either Freemium content (some functionality with the app but not access to the entire app’s uses) or in-app purchases they have access to after using your app for a while. Consider even not offering a certain product until they’ve engaged with your app a certain amount of times, which will encourage them to rack up those points. Make those points easy to track as well.


Personalized and Personalizing: Win Them Over through Relevance and Following Up

The best discounts and coupons are the ones they’re likely to use. Consumers don’t want offers for products they’re unlikely to purchase—this just fills up their spam inbox/set of notifications which can immediately turn them off to your app or, worst case scenario, ensure they opt-out of notifications altogether and then forget your app exists.

Track their behaviors and what they tend to look at and how they use your app. Do they tend to window-shop? Take note of what they usually look at and determine why they’re on the fence, and then provide them with a personalized targeted ad or coupon for that product to incentivize them to move forward with purchasing.

Utilize methods like geotargeting to give them relevant information about local deals and products that are highly sought after in the area they’re in. Take note of the locations they tend to frequent: do they go to furniture stores a lot? Do they go to sports stores? If your product is specifically relevant to places they go a lot, then figure out a way to advertise to them.

Make your rewards program into a game of sorts! People love earning points and feeling like they’re being rewarded for what they’re doing. Like we mentioned above, make the rewards/loyalty program easy and fun to use, and make it clear that not only do you provide extra benefits for using your app but also that you deliver on your promises. Once again, don’t forget about the benefits of creating an easy follow-up system for them to provide feedback.

Loyalty programs have the added benefit of reaching back out to people who have stopped using your app. Yes, you’ll want to reward your most loyal users, but you’ll also want to provide an incentive for those who have stopped using your app to come back. Hit them up with a push notification or email about a special discount if they come back to you.