Guide to Running a VIP Program

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Overview

 

Developing a VIP audience allows you to target top-tier customers in an effort to build a community around your brand. Having this exclusive correspondence in place paves a path toward owning your growth and incentivizing customer loyalty. In this guide, I will run through who to target, and best practices around engaging your brand enthusiasts with forms, social media, flows, and campaigns.

Create a VIP Segment

 

When you create a VIP segment, be sure to include highly engaged customers who either purchase often or spend a high monetary value on your brand. The following example focuses on people who purchase often, but you can choose to edit these conditions in a way that makes the most sense for your company.

When building this segment, include individuals who are subscribed to your newsletter list. In this example, these VIPs will also have made at least 5 purchases in the last 45 days.

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It is important that you include a time restriction when defining this segment, as is the case with the 45-day distinction here. If you do not include this, you may capture inactive customers who previously interacted with your emails or purchased from you a long time ago, rather than VIPs who have done so recently.

Once this segment is in your account, you are ready to create targeted content. While email and SMS are two obvious ways that you can contact your VIPs, there are a few other great use cases for this segment, such as the following:

Target Your VIP Segment

With a Signup Form

In the Signup Forms tab, select Create Signup Form in the upper right, and then either select a form from the Form Library or build one from scratch. Once you have this established, customize the content, tone, and style to match your brand and emphasize that this message pertains to their VIP status.

In the following example, this form offers VIPs free shipping for being loyal customers.

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Next, edit the behavior of this form. Under Targeting, select Target visitors in a list or segment and have it appear only to your VIP segment.

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Select Publish and set the form live so that you can continue targeting your VIPs and building brand loyalty.

Via Social Media

As previously mentioned, you can sync your VIP segment to a Facebook Custom Audience to target them with specific ads tailored to their customer experience. Additionally, you can create a Lookalike Audience to find new customers on Facebook who share similar interests and attributes as your VIPs.

Prior to this step, you will have to integrate your Facebook account with Klaviyo.

To get started, go to the Settings tab of the VIP segment and scroll toward the bottom to the Facebook Advertising section. Click Choose an audience to sync with.

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A list of your Facebook custom audiences will appear, along with the option to create a new custom audience. Select the custom audience you want to sync your Klaviyo list to (in this case, VIP).

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After selecting Sync with Audience, your VIP segment will begin a one-to-one sync with the selected Facebook audience. This can take up to 24 hours to completely populate, as Facebook needs to accept and process profiles from Klaviyo. Then, as profiles are added or removed from your VIP segment over time, they will also be added or removed from that Facebook audience on an hourly basis.

Once you've created your VIP Custom Audience, you can continue to create your VIP lookalike audience on Facebook by clicking Create a lookalike audience.

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For your Lookalike Source choose the Custom VIP Audience you created in the previous section. Enter your desired audience location and size, and click Create Audience. Now, your value-based lookalike audience is available for you on Facebook for even more ad targeting.

It is important to note that only email addresses associated with a Facebook login will be synced, so the size of your audience and VIP segment may not exactly match. In addition, because Instagram ads are managed through Facebook, you can also advertise to your VIPs on Instagram.

Use this integration to the fullest, and target your exclusive group with ads and key insights tailored to them; then, see how they continue to engage with your brand in Klaviyo.

Create a VIP Flow

 

You have likely heard of, or employed, a welcome series flow if you are using Klaviyo. However, have you ever considered taking this to the next step and creating a VIP welcome flow? This flow welcomes customers to an exclusive group and follows up with insights on your brand, extra deals, and requests for customer feedback or referrals.

To begin, create a flow from scratch. Trigger the flow when someone joins your VIP segment. Next, drag in an email.

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One strategy to consider is using a text-based email. This type of formatting makes the email feel very personal and is likely different than the emails you typically send to your larger customer base.

In your first VIP email, welcome customers into this unique group. Emphasize that they are your most valuable customers and build a community among them. For example, the following text-based email serves as a short introduction to the VIP Club and alludes to what is to come.

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Next, drag in a time delay and then another email, or SMS if you choose.

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For example, you could add a delay of a few days after your first email, and send a second email informing VIPs that if they spend over $50 on their next purchase, they will receive a special gift from your company.

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Other ideas for content could be to tag your brand in a social media post and get a special deal or ask for opinions in a survey for products that you want to test out. You could also start a special VIP newsletter campaign and send updates and exclusive offers to this audience every few weeks.

In general, creating a VIP welcome flow allows you to connect with your most loyal customers, and have them feel closer to your brand as a result.

Create a VIP Campaign

 

A crucial component of running a successful VIP program is the content of your campaigns. First and foremost, it is important to focus on the tone of your messages to build a community around your brand.

Some things to include in your tonality are the following:

  • Be friendly, personal, and brand-specific
    Display that there is a human behind the brand who wants to connect with these loyal customers. Again, consider using a text-based format on occasion to change things up, but also consider including logos, signatures, hashtags, and specific branding that you feel is important.
  • Build an exclusive community among your VIPs
    Use pronouns such as we, us, and you. Make sure to include offers and content that are specific to your audience's VIP status.
  • Keep a strong cadence via VIP campaigns while also not bombarding customers with too many emails
    Make sure that your VIPs are not getting too much content from other avenues that would cause frustration. For example, exclude them from emails to your newsletter list that they already received in advance via a VIP newsletter.

To help create this exclusive community, you could include special offers in a campaign to incentivize VIPs to purchase again. Though many people jump to adding coupon codes, you may not want to do so if these are your biggest spenders. A coupon of 20% could mean the loss of a large chunk of revenue.

If that is the case for you, experiment with different kinds of incentives in your VIP emails.

Some examples of incentives are the following:

  • Free shipping
  • Buy one GIFT one (buy one item, send a discount to a friend)
  • Referrals (discount or gift for referring someone new to your brand)
  • Spend X amount, get Y amount off your next purchase

Another idea for a VIP campaign, or even an email in your flow, is to ask your customers their opinions. You could do so in a survey or in a plain-text email asking for responses or a phone call.

Here is an example of what that email might look like.

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Make sure to maintain the style and tone of your brand even when using this text-based format. You can choose to add graphics -- such as a photo of your team or your company logo -- as well as your signature at the bottom to keep it personal. In the body of this example email, there’s a section that indicates that if a VIP completes the survey, they will get a $10 credit toward their next order. You can edit this as you choose, but it is a good idea to add an incentive for feedback to show your appreciation and boost the likelihood that people participate.

Another example of how to engage your VIPs with campaigns is through special announcements. These can be either sent exclusively to your VIPs or sent to them earlier than the rest of your customers.

Some types of announcements that you could extend to you VIPs are:

  • Flash sale announcements
  • Advance access or insights into new products or best sellers
  • Early-release ticket sales to events (if you have a brick-and-mortar store or host events for your company)

For example, you can run a VIP flash sale announcement. In doing so, send one campaign to your VIP customers a few days or even weeks ahead of time, and a second campaign to the rest of your subscriber list excluding the VIP segment you already targeted.

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Above is the example email for VIPs. It states that they have early access to deals and is scheduled to go out on a specific date. Then, send this email only to your VIP segment.

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Next, if you have a similar message you want to send to the rest of your general newsletter audience, open that general campaign. Set it to go out a week after the VIP campaign and consider including fewer deals than your VIPs received. Make sure to exclude the VIP segment from receiving this email, so as to not send the same content twice.

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