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How To Create An Effective SaaS Loyalty Program

how-to-create-an-effective-saas-loyalty-program
How To Create An Effective SaaS Loyalty Program
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Building and maintaining a loyal customer base is extremely important for all types of businesses, especially SaaS companies. One powerful way to increase customer loyalty is with a well-crafted SaaS loyalty program. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover: 

  • What SaaS loyalty programs entail
  • The benefits they offer to SaaS companies 
  • Strategies for creating programs that generate ongoing leads
  • Key elements for program success 
  • The roles responsible for managing them
  • Essential metrics to track their effectiveness

What Is A SaaS Loyalty Program?

A SaaS loyalty program uses structured initiatives to reward and motivate loyal customers. These programs are designed to inspire users to take actions that are not only valuable to the SaaS company but also beneficial to the customers themselves. 

These actions may include making repeat purchases, referring new customers, engaging consistently with the product, or other behaviors that contribute to the company's growth and success. Loyalty points or rewards are usually given for completing these actions and typically come in the form of discounts, account credit, swag, early access or upgraded access, or cash rewards.

Benefits Of A Loyalty Program For A SaaS Company

The benefits of loyalty programs aren’t just for loyal customers. Implementing a well-conceived SaaS loyalty program can yield numerous advantages for your company.

We’ll review those benefits now.

1. Higher Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)

Loyal customers tend to stay with your SaaS product longer and are more likely to upgrade to higher-tier plans, increasing their overall lifetime value. However, the industry grapples with high churn rates, complex pricing models, and the need for continuous product updates. 

Tailored customer loyalty programs can mitigate these challenges, incentivizing longer commitments and fostering trust, solidifying a steady revenue stream and deepening customer relationships. 

Taking the time to establish a meaningful relationship with your customers can increase their lifetime value by 306%. That’s a 75% increase in profitability with just a 5% increase in customer retention. The longer and more engaged your customers are, the more your business earns.

2. Lower Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Acquiring new customers through traditional marketing methods is 5-25x more expensive than keeping your existing customers. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get new customers for an impressively low cost-per-acquisition (CPA) through other marketing methods. 

Referral-based loyalty programs can substantially reduce the cost of customer acquisition, as satisfied users become brand Advocates who bring in new leads.

These referrals bring in more new customers than traditional marketing efforts and often lead to higher conversion rates than traditional marketing methods, as prospects trust recommendations from peers. Referral-based customer loyalty programs also bring in new customers that spend more per order.

low cpa-png-1

To get an idea of what kind of CPA you can achieve, these are the average CPAs by category that Friendbuy’s customers are achieving:

  • Apparel and Accessories: $1-10
  • Essentials: $1-9
  • Health and Beauty: $1-6
  • Subscription: $1-11
  • High Consideration: $1-14

By harnessing the advocacy of existing users, SaaS businesses can achieve more cost-effective growth and a healthier bottom line.

On the fence? See more impressive referral marketing statistics.

3. Higher Average Order Value (AOV) 

Loyalty programs often incentivize customers to make larger purchases or upgrade to premium plans, increasing your revenue per transaction. In fact, 56% of customers spend more merely because they are a part of a loyalty program and 64% of customers spend more simply to boost their loyalty rewards points.

Points based member tiers

4. Stronger Customer Retention 

One of the very first things we recommend for improving customer retention is to launch a loyalty program. Why? They incentivize customers to stick around by offering rewards for doing so. Engaging customer loyalty programs also create a sense of community and recognition among your customers, reducing churn rates and driving customer loyalty. 

Creating Loyalty Programs That Provide Ongoing Leads

To ensure your SaaS customer loyalty program not only retains current customers but also generates ongoing leads, consider the following strategies:

1. Avoid Manual Programs 

Manual tracking and management of customer loyalty programs are neither efficient nor scalable. Instead, invest in dedicated loyalty program software. While there are quite a few customer loyalty platforms out there, you'll want one that comes with excellent customer support and hands-on expertise to help you establish a robust loyalty solution immediately upon launch.

2. Integrated Software

Ensure that your customer loyalty software is seamlessly integrates with your sales stack. This integration can streamline operations and provide valuable data insights.

Attentive image

For example, Friendbuy integrates with your existing tech stack so that you can maintain consistency in branding and send personalized communications. Here are a few of those integrations:

  • The Friendbuy-Segment integration allows brands to seamlessly merge referral data with Segment's customer insights for optimized tracking and personalization.
  • The Friendbuy-Klaviyo integration streamlines email and SMS outreach by syncing referral data and automating personalized communications.
  • The Friendbuy-Attentive integration enhances SMS marketing by automatically syncing referral data to Attentive, enabling brands to design personalized SMS journeys based on referral and loyalty events.
  • The Friendbuy-Recharge integration allows brands to automatically reward subscription customers with Recharge discounts or free products, enhancing retention by incentivizing actions like referrals and subscription renewals, and seamlessly applying rewards to upcoming subscription charges.
  • The Friendbuy-Shopify Plus integration provides one-click setup for referral tracking, automated coupon generation, and a dashboard for advocates, enabling customers to accumulate and use credits seamlessly.

3. Leverage Loyalty Program Providers 

Partner with experienced loyalty program providers like Friendbuy, who specialize in creating effective and scalable loyalty solutions tailored to your SaaS company's needs. Contact Friendbuy today to see how we can create a robust and cost-effective loyalty program for your SaaS business.

Essential Elements of a SaaS Loyalty Program

For your SaaS loyalty program to succeed, it should incorporate the following loyalty program best practices:

  1. Friendly and Welcoming Language: Communicate program details in clear, approachable language that resonates with your target audience. Make your customers feel valued and appreciated.
  2. Clear Information: Provide comprehensive information about the program's benefits, rules, and rewards. Transparency builds trust and encourages participation.
  3. Cohesive Branding: Maintain a consistent look and feel with your brand identity. This coherence creates a seamless user experience and reinforces your brand's image.
  4. Regular Communication: Keep your customers engaged with a consistent drumbeat of emails and text messages. These communications should remind them of the program's value, upcoming events, and their progress. Learn more about loyalty program emails.
  5. Customer Earning Events & Rewards: Offer a variety of opportunities for customers to earn rewards, such as referrals, making purchases, achieving milestones, or participating in surveys and feedback sessions.

Who Is Responsible for Managing a SaaS Loyalty Program?

Effective management of a SaaS loyalty program requires a dedicated team. Consider assigning the following roles to ensure its success:

1. Growth Marketer 

The growth marketer is responsible for crafting the strategy behind the loyalty program. They strategize how the program can align with the company's growth objectives, optimize customer engagement, and maximize its impact.

For instance, they might analyze customer data to identify high-value segments, then design targeted incentives for these groups. 

A_B

They could also A/B test different reward structures to see which resonates most with users, or employ retargeting campaigns to re-engage members who haven't participated in a while. 

Their ultimate aim? Increase customer engagement and amplify the program's overall impact.

2. Brand Manager 

The brand manager ensures that the program aligns with your brand's identity and values. They oversee the program's branding, ensuring it remains consistent with your company's messaging and image. They guarantee that every touchpoint, from in-app notifications to email campaigns, aligns with your brand's voice and aesthetics. 

Don’t have a brand manager? Friendbuy works with brands to create branded loyalty reward programs that seamlessly integrate with your existing marketing campaigns.

3. Community Manager 

The community manager plays a pivotal role in day-to-day program operations. They engage with program participants, resolve issues, and foster a sense of community among members.

They're actively involved in forums, webinars, or in-app communities, answering queries and gathering feedback about the program. If a user encounters an issue with redeeming a reward or understanding a feature, it's the community manager they'll likely turn to. 

They might also host virtual events or webinars to educate users about new loyalty features or benefits. Their primary goal? To nurture a supportive and engaged community, ensuring users feel valued and heard within the loyalty program.

Loyalty Program Metrics To Track

To gauge the effectiveness of your SaaS loyalty program, it's important to monitor and measure specific loyalty program metrics. Here are the top loyalty metrics that we recommend monitoring when you launch your rewards program.

1. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS measures customer satisfaction and their likelihood to recommend your product to others. A high NPS indicates strong customer loyalty and advocacy. 

NPS is such a powerful metric that focusing on improving your NPS score can lead to a 5-10% increase in customer retention, which as we know from earlier can increase business profitability by 75%.

NPS is a straightforward metric, gauged by asking customers a single question: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our product to others?” Typically, scores of 9-10 are considered ‘Promoters', 7-8 are ‘Passives', and 0-6 are ‘Detractors'

To calculate NPS, subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters.

Once you have your NPS, it's more than just a number. Dive into feedback from Detractors to understand pain points and areas for improvement. Engage with Passives to see how you can elevate their experience

For instance, if feedback suggests users are leaving due to a lack of advanced features, consider introducing loyalty rewards that grant early access to new features and functionalities. Or, offer exclusive training sessions and webinars for loyal members to maximize their product usage.

By actively addressing concerns and enhancing your product based on NPS feedback, you can drive a higher score and foster deeper brand loyalty.

2. Churn Rate 

Churn rate represents the percentage of customers who stop using your SaaS product during a given time frame. Lower churn rates indicate stronger loyalty and retention

Calculate churn rate by dividing the number of customers who churned by the total number of customers at the start of the period, then multiplying by 100.

A loyalty program can significantly reduce churn rate since 84% of consumers will continue to shop with a brand simply because they have a loyalty program. Launching a loyalty program is the easiest way to reduce churn rate.

3. Loyalty Program Adoption Rate 

The adoption rate measures how many customers are actively participating in your program. It is determined by dividing the number of active loyalty program participants by the total number of eligible customers, then multiplying by 100.

A high adoption rate is a positive sign, indicating that your loyalty program is appealing and relevant to your users. 

However, if the rate is lower than expected, it's time to investigate. Here are a few questions to answer:

  • Are users aware of the program? 
  • Is the sign-up process straightforward? 
  • Are the rewards compelling enough?

For SaaS businesses, consider integrating the loyalty program seamlessly into the user dashboard or offering a tutorial to guide new users. If feedback suggests that the rewards aren't enticing, perhaps it's time to introduce exclusive features, discounts, or early access to updates for loyalty members. 

By continuously refining and promoting your loyalty program based on adoption metrics, you can ensure it remains a valuable asset in retaining and satisfying your SaaS customers.

4. Return on Investment (ROI)

Calculate the program's impact on revenue and compare it to the resources invested. A positive ROI is a clear indicator of program success. It's calculated by subtracting the program's cost from the additional revenue it generates, then dividing by the program's cost, and finally multiplying by 100.

For SaaS businesses, it's essential to factor in both tangible costs, like software integrations or reward payouts, and intangible ones, such as time spent on program management. On the revenue side, consider the increased subscription renewals, upsells, and referrals attributed to the loyalty program.

If your ROI is positive, it's a testament to the program's effectiveness. However, if it's lower than anticipated, explore deeper. Perhaps certain rewards aren't resonating, or maybe the program isn't being marketed effectively. Use this insight to tweak your loyalty rewards program, ensuring it not only delights customers but also delivers tangible business value.

Conclusion 

By fostering customer loyalty, reducing acquisition costs, increasing average order values, and promoting customer retention, SaaS loyalty reward programs have the potential to drive significant growth for your company. With the right strategy, software, and team in place, you can create an effective SaaS loyalty program that not only rewards your loyal customers but also propels your business to new heights. 

Contact Friendbuy to see how a loyalty program can support your SaaS business.

This originally appeared on Friendbuy and is made available here to cast a wider net of discovery.
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