According to a recent post highlighting the ultimate list of alumni marketing stats, most organizations can benefit from offering a discount program to their benefits package. Whether you are interested in offering a compelling benefit for your alumni membership, or if you are looking for a good member engagement tool, discount programs can be leveraged for both member acquisition and retention.
All of your alumni are consumers, and all consumers want to spend less on the things they buy every day. Discounts have been used for decades as a compelling tool to engage people. But not all programs are created equal, and not all will attract and keep your alumni engaged.
So how do alumni relations professionals know what they should look for in a discount program?
Here are my top ten things to look for:
1. In-Store: Most offers should be redeemed at a cash register,(in a store, restaurant or retailer, not online).
2. Popular Retailers: Look for a good mix of big-box national retailers and popular regional and local merchants.
3. Private Network: Insist that the discounts are not available to the general public.
4. Dining Deals: Casual and fine dining deals are most popular, but much harder to obtain and retain. And although fast food discounts are popular too, a good program has a healthy mix of both.
5. Deep Discounts: The average discount should be between 25-50% off. Anything less than that is ho-hum.
6. Everywhere: Look for discounts in the suburbs and rural communities, not just in big cities.
7. Relevant Savings: Not only should there be discounts on dining and shopping (the most popular categories), but deals for auto, home, office, entertainment, travel & leisure, groceries, etc.
8. Easy Redemption: Because most alumni have smartphones, discounts should be searchable and redeemable on a mobile device.
9. Branded: The purpose of the discount loyalty program is to promote your organization/institution. Make sure your brand, logo and colors are front and center so when alumni save, you get all the credit.
10. Customer Support: For alumni who have a problem signing up, or if they need help redeeming an offer, they need a toll-free number to call in a pinch.