Do you provide a Member Benefits program for your special customers?
Unfortunately, most business owners are sales driven and focus on special promotions rather than building a suitable Member Benefits program for building long term relationships with their customers.
Even with a glossy presentation which refers to add-ons as “benefits, they are almost always sales-oriented focused on a mindset of “get a sale today” rather than building long term relationships.
This applies to dime sales, fire sales, use of coupons, and discounted prices utilizing countdown clocks till expiry. They are generally up-sells rather than a way of saying “thank you”.
Another so-called “benefit” many use is automatic status as an Affiliate. Now this is a good way to build an army of re-sellers but the reality is that possibly 80% of your buyers are not Internet Marketers and so giving them something they may never use doesn’t make it a “benefit”.
Network marketing isn’t too different in terms of converting everyone into a re-seller.
Yes, you have your diehard network marketers who know and understand how binary systems work and the benefits which flow. However, there are also many people who join some network marketing programs – e.g. Herbalife and Avon – simply because they want the products for personal use. These people have no intention of building a down line.
True “Benefit” Programs are different …
I spent quite a few years in the 1990’s providing “loyalty–related” consulting services to some of Australia’s biggest companies – for their discount, points-based rewards, and travel programs and even programs which involved professional services (e.g. medical repatriation, car breakdown, etc).
With many of these programs, the “benefit” was not linked to a specific purchase as is the case with sales-oriented discounts and bonuses. Rather, they were – in most cases – available to all customers.
The success of benefit programs varies. Those which provide “instant” benefits are generally the most successful … and often people are willing to pay for access (e.g. dining cards, movie theater passes, travel clubs, etc).
No matter what the benefit, the underlying principle behind every benefits program should always be that it is a way of saying “Thank You” to your clients … by giving them something extra.
Building the RIGHT Benefits Program For Your Business
This takes time as there must be something different about your program to ensure it offers VALUE to your customers.
Here are some of the important elements to include / consider in your Benefits program.
- It’s important to keep the process simple – in terms of both access and use.
- For this reason, I recommend a discount-based program as benefits are black and white and can be redeemed immediately – i.e. they are not tied to accumulation.
Benefit Depth / Choices
- A good program needs to give the user “choices”. So limiting the range of benefits to 2 or 3 products will probably not be very attractive to many of your customers.
- Ideally, you will be able to offer benefits tied to both your own products plus benefits you can negotiate with 3rd parties.
- The norm is to make benefits available to all customers – e.g. points accumulated through credit card usage which can be allocated to redemption on a variety of products.
- An alternative is to tie the benefits to a specific product or level of expenditure. The benefit of this is that it can help drive sales to high-margin products.
Stand Alone Value – Without Being Stand Alone
- Many companies provide access to their benefits program on a monthly or annual subscription basis – e.g. $10 a month. This approach can and does work for many. However, by imposing a fee on access, it effectively becomes another product so it’s best not to refer to it as a “member benefits” program.
- An alternative approach is to provide the benefits at NO extra cost within one of your primary products, particularly if the initial sale is likely to generate flow-on sales of other products.
More Than A Benefits Program:
- Ideally, a benefits program will be seen as a tremendous “value add”, something that ensures a continuing relationship as well as encouraging those who have access to refer others to your business;.
- If the benefit is tied to certain products, then that could lead to more buyers / subscribers of those products.
As I mentioned above,building a decent benefits program takes time and ideally is designed to reward your best customers – the 20% who generate 80% of your revenue.
The key is to offer some sort of benefit to your most important customers rather than doing nothing.