Building summertime loyalty programs to acquire and drive new customers
With the long, hot days of summer comes the crowds looking to enjoy leisurely meals, the latest menu trends, and searching for unique dining opportunities. If you want to capture new customers, engage your loyalists and boost your revenue this summer, now is the time to start preparing and executing with the right type of engagement. Creating a seasonal campaign is all about understanding the shifting demands of your guests and customizing an experience that fits into their summertime activities. Make the most of your loyalty campaign with these warm-weather program best practices.
START FRESH WITH LOYALTY
Previously, it was easy for brands to recycle old limited-time offers (LTO’s) and run the same campaign year over year. When the pandemic devastated the industry, it also evolved customers’ behaviors and forever shifted what loyal patrons expected from brands. Guests now want experiences, to be rewarded for their loyalty, and to feel a personal connection to the businesses they frequent.
Now is the time to take a deep dive into your customer data, dayparts, and SKU level engagement, particularly during seasonal periods. A loyalty program partner like Punchh can help you generate item-wise reports to give you insights into what menu category is resonating with what type of customer and the trends that facilitated those purchases. Don’t ignore factors such as the last days of school, national holidays, weather patterns, or even the continuation of regional Covid restrictions. It’s also essential to take into account customer shifts to digital strategies, such as the inclination for takeout or 3rd party delivery, trends in new customer acquisition, and changes in loyalty engagement. These dynamics will afford you an innovative view of how your customers will be approaching dining out this year and help you build an effective summer marketing campaign.
GET CREATIVE WITH SEASONAL LOYALTY OFFERS
Summertime is all about road trips, family gatherings, patio dining, and warm-weather activities, leaving restaurants with an opportunity to deliver campaigns that fit into this seasonal lifestyle. Utilize these off-premise opportunities to create engaging campaigns that integrate your brand into summertime activities and appeal to customers’ season-specific mindsets. Keep your menu fresh and exciting by updating it with seasonally-inspired specials. Consider offering bundles unique to various activities like poolside or park gatherings and make sure they have the flexibility to cater to various sizes of attendees. Promote seasonal menu offerings that are more in demand during the summer months, like salads, frozen treats, finger foods, and fruit-based beverages.
Next, you will want to prepare for the season by updating the look and feel of your campaign templates. This can be done by identifying your branded assets and blending in seasonally focused campaign narratives. By refreshing your creative, you can engage your customer and create content relevant to their reality. Seasonal branding gives your everyday look a little twist while still maintaining the core concept’s icons and company values. It also can make customers feel a stronger connection to your brand by feeling more relatable and more aligned with their own experiences.
SHINE WITH SUMMER RESTAURANT LOYALTY PROGRAMS
Now that you have identified, adapted, and connected using your loyalty program, it’s time to really shine. Take your loyalty program to the next level by engaging your loyal users and developing marketing initiatives that make you the go-to place this summer. Try a challenge campaign that gamifies multiple visits over the summer period and rewards them with specific offerings customized to their preferences. Frequency compression programs like Punchh’s Journeys can encourage your customers to come in more often, spend more to achieve milestones, and ultimately feel rewarded and appreciated for being loyal to you.
Also, don’t forget to continue to promote all of the new digital platforms you have instituted over the past year. Incentivize guests who, as of yet, have not ordered online. Diners who are members of loyalty programs spend more than twice as much on takeout than those who are not part of a loyalty program. You can convert dine-in guests by offering unique incentives or online-only bundles to this target audience, increasing that customer’s average lifetime value.
Another campaign that can help drive sales, increase loyalty and cultivate summertime visit frequency is by employing a surprise and delight strategy that delivers derived rewards of seasonal items shortly after purchase. By gifting right after a visit, you have a higher likelihood of successfully engaging the guest and improving customer frequency over a shorter time frame.
Ultimately, crafting seasonal messaging through your loyalty program unleashes the power of your brand and allows you to flex to your guests’ seasonal preferences and the realities of their everyday life experiences.
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