How to Make Your Online Reward Program Better Than Your Competition’s

by: Luke Kreitner July 5, 2016

Reward programs, if implemented effectively, are one of the few ways to get employees, customers or channel partners to think about your organization or brand even when they’re off duty. But when your competition also offers reward programs, does it mean that your program stops making a difference? Not if your reward program remains engaging, agile and relevant to your organizational goals…and not if it’s better than your competitors!

According to a recent study by The Incentive Research Foundation, few organizations operate properly constructed reward programs or “apply formal return on investment processes or measures to their incentive program design.” Thoroughly planning and updating your reward program is the difference between a program that gets lost in the crowd and a program that outshines the competition’s. Here are five things you can do to ensure your reward program is better:

1. Better Reward Program Pay-Out

Most of your competition has likely already caught on to the advantages of online reward catalogs—ie, reward catalogs in which reward program participants can redeem digital reward points for merchandise, event tickets and travel opportunities. To ensure you’re taking your online reward system a step further than your competition, develop a better and more strategic pay-out system.

Many companies go for a standardized reward point pay-out system. Their participants may receive one point for every dollar spent on qualifying products, for instance. But potential customers, employees and channel partners will be more motivated by pay-out system that offers better rewards for greater achievements. For example, add double- or triple-point bonuses to sales reps for pushing out products that are high-end or difficult to sell. This is a sure-fire way to make your reward program better than those that don’t recognize bigger accomplishments.

2. Simple Reward Program Solutions with Advanced Technology

At the very least, your reward program should be online. This makes it easy for participants to access it at their leisure. For ultimate engagement and participation, you should use integration services to build your online reward program directly into your existing site navigation and make the program available through a mobile app.

For 64% of the population, many of whom check their smartphones up to 150 times a day, mobile phones are hubs of social and business connections. By partnering with a reward program provider who offers a mobile app module, such as Atlanta-based Incentive Solutions, you can make your reward program part of your participants’ regular mobile use. Reward program participants can use reward app technology to instantly submit important data such as invoices, sales claims and warranty registrations using UPC scanning and smartphone cameras. A quick submission process means participants receive their rewards faster. Advanced technology solutions can make your reward program easier to use and therefore more appealing than the competition’s. 

3. Frequent Communication for More Engaged Reward Program Participants

Today’s employees, customers and channel partners are too busy to constantly check in with your reward program for updates. If you don’t reach out to your participants frequently and keep them engaged, they will likely forget all about the program altogether. Many of your competing companies are probably making the mistake of poor reward program marketing and engagement. Avoid doing the same by making use of a sophisticated, multi-channel communication plan that includes texting, push notification, email and mail-out options.

Another way to make your reward program engaging is to implement interactive features. Online training modules, for example, give participants the ability to earn rewards at any time, just by passing quizzes or filling out surveys. This way, you can increase product, service or policy knowledge and sustain high participation in your reward program at the same time. This keeps your program and your brand top of mind with customers and channel partners, siphoning them away from competition.

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4. Competitive Analysis of Reward System

If you don’t know what the standard competing reward program is like, you won’t know what to beat, so run a thorough competitive analysis of your competition’s rewards. Search “[your industry] reward programs” and have a look at what your competition has to offer. Answer questions like:

  • Are their reward programs easy to find or built into their official website?
  • Are they using an online rewards mall?
  • Do they have a reward program mobile app?
  • Does your lead loss analysis suggest that you’re losing to competition with better, more sophisticated reward systems?

Find out all you can about the competition and bring this information to the reward program provider you choose. A company like Incentive Solutions can pinpoint which reward program features are best suited to your needs and help you strategically plan and launch a program that goes above and beyond the industry standard.

5. Performance and ROI Tracking of Your Reward Program

Your reward program is a business enhancement tool and your investment in it should be justified by ample performance data. Don’t burden administration with the time-consuming burden of developing a reward program data analysis method. Seek out a reward program provider that offers measurement and data aggregation tools along with the reward platform. Incentive Solutions online reward programs, for example, act as comprehensive marketing and data tools, tracking and analyzing information through the reward program’s usage. Easy access to these reward program performance reports means that you can align your program with your company goals, discover new opportunities, and pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses when developing new marketing strategies.

As you gather the results from your reward program’s performance, you should soon have enough data to determine which promotions are most profitable for you. Is Product A more popular in a particular region? Is your ROI higher when you run monthly promotions rather than quarterly? When you continuously update your goals using reward program performance data, your program will remain agile and current, staying fresh while the competition’s outdated efforts go stale.

More and more companies are using recognition, loyalty and reward programs. As reported in a recent Loyalty360 whitepaper, over half of surveyed companies had a formal customer loyalty program and a 2013 WorldatWork survey found that 88% of organizations have recognition reward programs. But in-depth IRF studies mentioned earlier reveal that many of these companies don’t devote the time, effort and strategizing necessary to maintain a consistently profitable and engaging program. To ensure you’re not one of those other companies operating an unsuccessful program, offer an unbeatable pay-out strategy, use mobile and online reward technology to sustain high participation and engagement rates, analyze your competition’s reward programs and conduct proper ROI and data analysis to keep your program goals relevant and effective. Before long, the competition will be eating your dust.

 


About Luke Kreitner

Luke Kreitner is the VP of Sales at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that specializes in helping B2B businesses accelerate growth, increase sales, motivate channel partners and retain B2B customers.