I received something in my mailbox recently that absolutely thrilled me. I reached gold card status at Starbucks and my new card arrived! If you didn’t know, Starbucks lets you register any gift card, and then tracks your purchases made on that card. Once you reach a certain number, Starbucks will send you a gold card. In addition to the cool card with my name on it, I also get periodic free drinks and discounts on products.

Starbucks reminded me in the card info to update my email address so I know when my special deals arrive. Great for email marketing! By updating my address I’m also signing up for their marketing emails, an easy way to grow their list. Any business can do this, and you don’t have to set up a special page on your site; this can also be accomplished in person at a register or in your store.

With the exception of the fancy card, this is a pretty simple loyalty program. You probably are part of one or more like this already: “Buy X sandwiches, get 1 free” or “Spend X amount of money in our store and save 25% off your next purchase.” A simple punch card is an easy way to start a loyalty program for your regular customers. Knowing that buying from your company or using your service will earn them something in the future will help keep your company top of mind and keep customers coming back for more. There’s even a new app called Stampt built specifically with this use in mind, making it easier and faster than ever to create your own loyalty program.

Really, my fancy new card just shows my dependence on caffeine. But now that I have reached this special level I will be more likely to think of Starbucks when I need a pick-me-up. And, that continued business is the true value of a loyalty program.Are you using a loyalty program at your business? How do you make it work?

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