Dose #107: Unmatched Loyalty Programs

Enable the Right Kind of Loyalty

Matt here with your weekly Subscription Prescription đź’Š

Loyalty - something every brand does, but does it create lasting value for your business? In this week’s dose, we talk about the right way to approach loyalty, including examples of how you can do it differently. Whether you’re a small or big brand, we end with key takeaways for you to focus on.

Prefer listening or watching the podcast? Grab links to watch or listen at the bottom.

Changing the Game in Loyalty

Is your loyalty program inspiring customers to engage with and buy more from your brand?

In a world where points programs miss on what your customers want and need, Upzelo is changing how you engage with them.

Upzelo is a customer loyalty, referrals, and rewards platform designed for online and retail stores. They’re building something special that focuses on how customers shop, refer, and pick winners for their repeat business.

Take a moment and check out their platform to see something different in the loyalty space!

Loyalty. Something we all wish to inspire in customers. But the question that always nags me is whether loyalty creates action or rewards someone for what they would do already?

This is an important question because if loyalty creates increased engagement and repeat purchases, we’re just giving away profit.

Take the classic punch card example: buy 4 coffees, get the 5th free. But does that fifth free coffee make it more likely you’ll buy the first 4?

When it comes to loyalty, we should all be asking: is this increasing the value of each customer or making it easier for them to share about our brand?

Rethinking Loyalty Programs

Traditional loyalty programs often rely heavily on points systems. While these can be effective, thinking beyond just financial rewards is essential. Loyalty should be about creating engaging experiences that resonate with your customers on a deeper level—experiences that drive more revenue and profitability for your business.

Here are some different ways to think about it:

  1. Beyond Points for Dollars: Focus on creating experiences and rewards beyond simple point accumulation. Think about what will genuinely delight and engage your customers.

    For example, top-tier loyalty members can access exclusive content, events, or special product releases.

  2. Gamification: Introduce gamification elements to your loyalty program. Creating multiple levels of engagement, each offering unique rewards and challenges can keep customers motivated and participating actively.

    For example, creating different levels of rewards to inspire greater spending. Airlines have different perks available based on the amount or miles you spend. You can earn them in different ways.

  3. Value-Added Rewards: Offer unique perks that add value to your customers’ lives. This enhances their experience and strengthens their connection to your brand.

    For example, an outdoor health supplement brand that gives members discounts to National Parks or other sporting events.

Engaging Through Communication

Effective communication is crucial for the success of any loyalty program.

Consistent messaging across all channels—emails, SMS, and social media—keeps customers informed and excited about the program, driving higher engagement and participation.

A local smoothie company is one of the most random brands sending me SMS messages. I keep it because they send messages about 2-for-1 specials.

This is a great example of someone being open to communication and getting customers to do something they wouldn’t normally do. Without those texts, I get smoothies there a lot less.

Customizing for Your Brand

Every brand is unique, and your loyalty program should reflect that. One of the simplest ways to create loyalty is to create it around your brand.

Goth Rider Coffee creates rewards around their unique flavors and merchandise, which their customers love.

Pet food brand? Offer perks that act as treats for pets.

If you’re trying to be edgy, welcoming, funny, or ironic as a brand, your loyalty should reflect that.

Practical Tips for Enhancing Loyalty Programs

Depending on the size of your business, you should approach loyalty a bit differently.

For Smaller Brands New to Loyalty:

  1. Simplify the Process: Make it easy for customers to understand and participate in your loyalty program. Avoid overcomplicating the structure, as this can deter engagement.

  2. Offer Tangible Rewards: Ensure the rewards are valuable and relevant to your customers. Free products, exclusive content, or special discounts can be very effective.

  3. Keep it Personal: When you’re small, it’s easier to interact personally with many of your customers. Talk to them, find out what they love or want, and see if you can offer them more.

For More Established Brands:

  1. Gamify the Experience: Introduce multiple levels and challenges within your loyalty program to keep customers engaged and motivated. For brands with a large loyalty base, you can afford to have some nuance or complexity if it increases engagement.

  2. Integrate Across Channels: Ensure your loyalty program works seamlessly online and in physical stores. This cohesive experience can significantly enhance customer satisfaction.

  3. Leverage Customer Data: Use data to personalize offers and communication, making customers feel valued and understood. Pay attention to what is being redeemed to understand better what motivates your customer base.


Talk to customers instead of trying to make things infinitely more complicated when it comes to loyalty. Look for one thing you can do differently that will promote more purchases or more sharing/referrals.

Loyalty should make people want to share your brand or buy more. Otherwise, what’s the point?

That’s it for this week! Stay tuned for dose #108 out next Tuesday.

 - Matt Holman đź©ş

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