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Marketing Strategies

How to launch a connected cash back program that converts

As technology advances and options expand, customer expectations continue to skyrocket. Consumers expect convenience, to be rewarded on their everyday purchases, and a connected experience regardless of where the touchpoint is taking place. Brands are challenged with how to meet these demands in a way that adds value to their customers.

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One way in which brands are working to meet these expectations is by incorporating Card Linked Offers (CLOs) into their rewards program. CLOs enable consumers to automatically receive cash back, points, airline miles, or other loyalty rewards when they pay with a debit or credit card that has been linked to an offer. By simply opting in and registering their preferred card, shoppers can earn cash back and rewards on online and in store purchases. Smart brands will also partner with cash back sites to supplement their existing program and add more ways to engage their audience and reward customers.

Many publishers are tapping into a network of cash back offers to white label as their own rewards. They partner with advertisers to promote the advertisers’ brand and offers and drive traffic to their site, and in some cases, their brick-and-mortar store. In theory, this is a win-win situation for the advertiser, publisher, and consumer. The advertiser pays a commission to the publisher only when a purchase is made, the consumer gets cold hard cash back on their purchase, and the publisher gets a loyal customer and perhaps even a cut of the cash back.

However, not all cash back programs are created equal and not all them meet the needs of today’s consumer.  After implementing countless rewards programs for publishers spanning financial services, media outlets, airlines, and more, we’ve learned what separates the successful programs from the pack. Keep the following in mind when building your cash back strategy to ensure optimal results.

1. Implement a Marketing Plan from Day One

Implementing a marketing plan from day one is one of the most important pieces of launching a successful cash back program, and unfortunately, the most overlooked. Publishers who craft a 2-3 month launch campaign with consistent communication across their marketing channels have a much higher rate of success. In our experience, email marketing is one of the most effective ways to launch a cash back rewards program. Messaging that clearly communicates the value proposition, while showcasing some of the brands and offers inside the program before they opt-in is key to getting members into your program.

2. Eliminate Friction During Program Opt-in

Your audience is interested in the program and people are taking the next step to sign up, but this requires them to consent to program terms and provide their credit card details for card linked offers. Establishing a strong value exchange is key to obtaining the consent required to drive your marketing efforts in an efficient and trustworthy way. To avoid some potential drop-off during this process, we recommend a thoughtfully constructed landing page that re-iterates the benefits of the rewards program and doesn’t ask for more information from the member than necessary. Considering including the following on your opt-in landing page: simple how-to earn text or videos, showcase popular brand logos in the program, and highlight available offers to reinforce that by providing their information, they receive valuable rewards.

3. Get Members to Take Action

Your newly acquired members are ready to earn rewards by shopping at their favorite stores. The goal is to, as quickly as possible, get them to see the value of the program. This comes down to how quickly they’re able to find offers that are relevant to them and link them to their credit card. Make it easy for members to find offers with sorting and filter capabilities whether alphabetically, by highest reward amount, near me, category, and more. The use of large logos and legible text are key to members instantly recognizing a brand they love or potentially being intrigued by one they might want to try. For in-store rewards, include a map and the ability to filter by zip code to improve the likelihood that members will find offers relevant to them.

4. Drive Member Loyalty

Once a member makes a purchase, a follow-up message is crucial to instantly communicating the value of the program. Let members know you saw a purchase, tell them the rewards amount they’ll receive from that purchase and give them the option to re-link the offer to keep earning more.

To really drive home loyalty, consistent marketing is necessary to build a relationship with your members. Highlighting their favorite brands and recommending brands, or serving category roundups shows customers you know them and want their experience to fit them. Retailers can also take advantage of seasonal moments where members are already planning to shop by offering increased cash back or bonus rewards during retail holidays that encourage action.

Finally, notify members when they have an offer linked to their card and it’s expiring soon. Too often members link offers and forget to shop after linking, so giving a friendly nudge will significantly improve your rewards program conversion rate.

In conclusion, cash back rewards can be a great way to create long-term loyalty with your members if implemented with these best practices in mind. A well-integrated marketing plan is your first step in setting up your rewards program for success from the start but maintaining regular communication and having a simple user experience is critical to long-term success.

Ready to kick off your cash back program? Get in touch with a Rakuten rep.

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