Your Loyalty Program

New research is in…

It’s rare to find a radio station in the US, South Asia, or Europe that does not have some type of listener loyalty program.

It’s even more rare to find one of these programs that is staffed and funded to make it the communication tool it could be in deepening your relationship with your most loyal listeners.

A recent Research Brief from the Center for Media Research listed these common complaints from loyalty program members:

  • One-third see little or no value in being a member of the club.
  • One-quarter say the rewards we offer aren’t valuable.
  • One-quarter say they get no personalized interaction from us.
  • One-fifth say they are getting spammed
  • One-fifth can’t find anything worthwhile for which to redeem “points”

This can’t be surprising.

Do we ever arrange for them to get the very best seating at a local theater, or early entrance into the huge sale, or free parking at concerts, or access to behind-the-scene tours at the zoo or museum of natural history, or free dessert every time they eat at one of their local restaurants?

What do we do that makes them feel truly special? What do we offer them that they cannot buy?

Why would we ask our very best “customers” to join a self-described “club” that will offer them real benefits, and then treat them worse than we do those who could care less about our station?

Make no mistake: We are treating them worse than listeners who never take the time or effort to join our “club” because we’re raising their expectations with the solicitation to join.

And how do we reward these elite listeners?

By sending impersonal mass emails once or twice a month, filled with plugs for our biggest advertisers, and wordy promos about our events and appearances.

I would love to hear from those of you who have gone to the trouble to actually communicate one-to-one with even 1% of your club members, to ask them what they would like from you, to ask what you could to to make their experience a better one, to begin to segment these individual people as individuals.

The whole point of the effort is developing a deeper relationship with an elite 10%-20%, and that is impossible if you treat everyone who responds exactly the same.

Find out what would make them feel special as an individual.
Find out the kinds of incentives each would love, and then personalize their rewards.
Find out how often each wants to hear from you and meet their desire.

As long as we use these mailings to dump prizes we wouldn’t give away on the air…

As long as we make this an added duty for an over-worked webmaster or Promotion Director or air staff member…

As long as we do this the cheapest way possible

We will get exactly what we’re getting: a wasted opportunity at best, spam at worst.