In parts 1 and 2, I talked about various methods of retention and how mainstream businesses have succeeded to understand and implement effective Member Loyalty Programs. I also went through 4 out of the 6 steps to implementing a basic retention program. In this 3rd and final part, I will talk about the last 2 steps (STEPS 5 & 6) and then I will dig deep into one of the most important and affordable concepts used to create loyal members. To continue discussing the design of a Member Retention Plan (MRP), these are the last 2 steps to consider:
STEP 5) Monitor the Results
Let’s assume you’ve gone ahead and implemented a retention program to some degree. Either by giving free prizes, discounts or whatever. Remember that your effort will be totally wasted if you do not monitor and accurately track your results. Also, do you remember STEP 3? That was the step where you needed to get your "current" or "recent" retention rates so that you would have something to compare it to once you have launched and ran the MRP. Without doing STEP 3, this current step will not give you what you need.
STEP 6) Learn From the Results and Adjust Your Approach
So, you’ve got your past retention rates and now you have compared them to your new retention rates. Happy? Not happy? Either way, take note of what worked and what didn’t work in your plan and make adjustments along the way. Maybe offering that discount didn’t work so well? Here’s a thought. Instead, of just pulling the discount and upsetting your members, keep it going for a bit longer to see if it will stick.
BE PATIENT. These programs take time to work. If you want overnight success, this is not the plan for you. I have implemented some programs in the past where not much happened in the first 6 months, but then all of the sudden the word caught on and it exploded in the last 6 months. That is typically how it happens. To be generic, I found myself countless times telling a friend later on "Hey, go to that place because they give you free stuff!"
Get the "Point"?
We have all seen it. Most of us have even used it in one place or another. I’m talking about the simple "Points Program". From airlines to gas stations to department stores to restaurants. The general Points program is pretty much one of the most powerful systems ever created to increase client or member loyalty. Plain and simple!
To understand the concept of a Points program, all you need to know is this: "Buy our products or services and we will give you Points!. Then use your Points to…….. (whatever we want you to use your Points for)......" Get Points, then use your Points. That’s it.
Why is the Points Program so Powerful?
The answer is two-fold: For the business owner, giving Points to their clients or members is relatively a low cost investment. Points are something intangible. So whether you give 1000 Points or 1 million Points does not matter. What matters is the value you assign to those Points.
For the customer, they feel like they are getting something back on an ongoing basis. Accumulating Points gives the customer the sensation that they are building upon something. It gives them huge satisfaction! Personally, I spend more on one particular credit card because they offer huge Points for airfare.
So you may say to yourself "How can we possibly use the Points system for the Adult Internet Industry? How could I use it on my web site(s?)" This is where we come in.
The Points Model for the Adult Internet Industry
You may have read my Interview with Stephen Yagielowicz. In this interview, I mentioned how we came into the Adult side of the business. I have personally consulted and have been involved in designing and launching successful MRPs in other industries. I quickly noticed through my research that the Adult Internet Industry meets all the criteria to have some real Member Loyalty Programs in place. Some of the criteria are a) Saturated industry and b) Highly competitive.
What we did was take the tried and true concept of giving Points and put an adult-related "spin" on it. Our system (once implemented on your site or sites) will give Points to your subscribers. They achieve Points by two ways. Points are given for each month your subscriber remains a member. Then additional Points are given when the subscriber logs in each day. For example, a web site would use our system to give 1000 Points per month and 100 Points for each day they log in (limited to the first unique login per day). Here is an example to show this model:
• Per month = 1000 Points
• Per day = 100 Points
So, if the subscriber logged in every day, they would have accumulated 4000 Points (assuming a 30 day month). Through this design, the system naturally encourages the subscriber to stay on and log in as often as they can so they can get more Points. It’s a simple yet effective plan which does not intimidate the subscriber. The reality is, they don’t even have to look at your content everyday, all they need to do is log in (which will increase the "sticky" factor).
What are the Points Used For?
This is the most exciting part! The members can use their Points to bid in a free and private Adult-related prize auction. Should the member have enough points (designated by the webmaster) they could also buy (redeem) the same prize with points.
For example, if you gave your members 1000 points per month, you could start your prize auction bid at only 50 points. Most members will bid because they automatically have enough points. As the bids climb, members get competitive (almost addicted) to win that darn prize. Then they will find themselves logging in on the dailies to get their daily points. That way they could bid even more points.
If the member loses an auction, he/she will be even more determined to win next time. This behavior may encourage the member to stay on yet another month to get even more points. The cool thing is that even if they win a prize, they might say to themselves "Wow that was easy, I’m going to keep doing this!." I have personally seen this happen.
The auction is hosted by us and is totally "white-labeled" with your branding so it looks like your auction. We also supply the prizes (typically Adult DVDs from our partner Adam & Eve). As part of our system, the back-end will monitor your retention rates (remember STEP 5?) and it will also give you full control of your auction.
Since our launch at Internext – Las Vegas 2003, we have noticed that subscribers are definitely "getting the idea". As the days go on, more and more people are logging in daily and bidding their points for prizes. So here we are at the end of our 3 part series. I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed it and most importantly, I hope I have illustrated the potential power of Member Loyalty Programs and what they could do for your business (no matter what industry you are in).
In my up and coming articles, I will explore and talk about retention and the different tools currently used in the Adult Internet Industry. Such tools (or value-added services) I will discuss are Adult Stores, Merchandising, Games, Casinos and much more! ~ Stay tuned!