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Growing Your Business Online with Loyalty Programs

Growing Your Business Online with Loyalty Programs imageThis is the first in a series of articles we will be publishing relaying thoughts and ideas from the Internet Retailer Conference in Chicago, which occurred June 5th through June 7th. Mark Goldstein, CEO of Loyalty Lab (a company that implements loyalty programs for merchants), and Gary Korotzer, CMO of Red Envelope (a company that specializes in selling gift items), delivered a presentation about loyalty programs. Red Envelope currently has a loyalty program managed by Loyalty Lab.

Loyalty programs are taking off. If you have a retail web site and you don’t have some kind of loyalty program…chances are that by the end of next year you will.

It costs a lot more to generate a new customer than to sell to a repeat customer. Loyalty programs allow you to build a customer base that is loyal to your products, and will continue to purchase from you, rather than your competitors. A loyalty program is some kind of program that allows your customers to build up credit to apply to further purchases, or to redeem for cash. For example, a retail web site could grant a customer “points” for every purchase he makes. When he has enough points, he can redeem them for a discount on more merchandise, or possibly redeem them for cash.

To implement a loyalty program, you need some way to keep up with your customers’ accrued points (or whatever kind of measurement you use). This should be done by keeping records of a customers’ transactions in a database. Goldstein and Korotzer recommended tying the information to a customer’s credit card number. Every time a customer makes purchases with a particular credit card, a record of the purchase is recorded along with the credit card number. In this scenario, if a customer used a different card than in previous purchases, her existing loyalty account would not receive additional credits.

You should try to make it easy for a customer to know how many points they have. Out of sight, out of mind, as the old saying goes, so make sure your customers are aware of how many points they have and how many more they need to redeem their rewards.

When you begin the process of deciding on the details of your loyalty program (exactly what participants will receive, and how much they have to purchase for redemption), Goldstein and Korotzer argue that you should explore your company’s economics as deeply as possible. Two important statistics to examine are the lifetime value and acquisition cost of your customers. This will better help you determine how much you can afford to give to your customers. Another critical consideration is exactly who gets to participate in the program. You may choose to only extend an invitation into the program to the top 20% (or whatever percentage generates the majority of your revenue) of your customers. If there is a segment of your customer base that represents the majority of your income, then it makes sense to concentrate your marketing dollars on that group.

Another point that Goldstein and Korotzer emphasized is that your loyalty program should be cross-channel. In other words, if you operate a physical retail location and take orders by phone in addition to your web site, the loyalty program should extend to all of the channels. Avoid confusing your customers. Make it easy for them to gain credits and cash in on their loyalty regardless of what channel they use to make purchases.

Loyalty programs have been around for years in certain industries (i.e., airline frequent flyer miles) but are just starting to gain traction with a lot of retailers. If you sell retail, you should begin the process of researching the implementation of a loyalty program now – before your competition does. Feel free to contact Work Media for information on implementing a loyalty program for your web site.

Finding A Work at Home Telemarketing Job

Finding A Work at Home Telemarketing Job imageMany of us have been fooled by the latest work at home hype that is popular today. Letter stuffers, medical transcription, online pyramids, surveys, and even eBay stores may all sound promising, but many times they let our hopes down. In the field of work at home telemarketing you may have discovered that there too just like the others are a lot of promising offers that are nothing more than cheap scams. This can be very disheartening when trying to start a new career. You may even wonder if there really is any legitimate work at home telemarketing jobs out there.

The good news is there is! Right now there are many telemarketers making a substantial amount of money by working right out of their own home. The bad news is that these careers take a lot of work to find. Don’t let the hype fool you. Thought it may sound like there are millions of telemarketers making a great deal of money in the comfort of their own home, this is simply not true. While the industry is starting to really take off, there are not as many workers as you may think.

The problem is that there are many online scams. Since so many online sources do not offer legitimate jobs, if you really have your mind set to working at home as a telemarketer you are going to have to do some serious homework.
Keep in mind before you get started that though many work at home scams may try to convince you that you little or no experience, as well as very little skills are required, this is simply not true. You will not be able to just start a career up in this field by reading an e-book in one hour. Not only will you need good communications skills just like you would in a regular call center, but you also must be able to be knowledgeable about any services or products your company carries. Knowledgeable enough to perform customer service duties, take orders, make sales, and of course you must able to run any software associated to the job.

Once you feel you are ready to take on the task of finding a legitimate telemarketing job, remember stay realistic. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Figure you will need to put in slightly less time finding a legitimate job as you would working a legitimate job. Do not limit your search to just the internet. Try calling legitimate call centers to see if they offer or know of any work at home positions. Ask around locally to see if anyone knows of any leads you can follow.

Remember, real telemarketing positions are out there! Don’t let all the scams get you down. With hard work, luck, and a little help you will be on your way.

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