How To Use Strong Marketing Incentives To Boost Your Sales
incentive marketing

Who doesn’t enjoy a reward, right? Especially being rewarded for buying something you were going to buy anyway. Providing your customers with an appealing incentive will certainly boost sales and make for very happy customers.  

Every time someone has the feeling of being rewarded, they get a big hit of dopamine. There is just something about the perception that they made out with an absolute steal of a deal. 

Let’s see how to maximize your sales with strong marketing incentives.

What is incentive marketing exactly? 

Incentive marketing tools can also be referred to as “motivational devices”. An incentive or rewards program in the marketing world can come in many forms. It is usually some sort of enticement to get customers to buy one product or service over another. 

marketing incentives examples

We’ve all seen these right? Everywhere from the supermarket’s “buy one get one free” deal to online services offering a substantial discount if you “buy now.” All of these things are designed to get customers to choose one product or service over another.

Effectively, a good incentive marketing strategy will persuade a potential customer to take a certain action, which is usually purchasing your business’ services or products. In exchange, they get some type of reward or bonus for taking said action. 

Basically, you are saying “buy from us and we’ll sweeten the deal.” 

Sometimes an incentive, such as the “buy one get one free” example we used earlier, can also be used to sell slow-moving products. Or even start some buzz about new products. Incentive marketing campaigns are very versatile in that way. You can cater them to promote exactly the action or behavior you are seeking. This makes them great for boosting sales in any business. 

Why should you use marketing incentives 

There are countless reasons why instituting marketing incentives is important to your business. Here are just a few of them. 

Increase your conversion rate

Marketing incentives increase your conversion rate like crazy. 

Consumers love to save money. They will clip coupons and hunt for promo codes all day to save a few pennies. As a matter of fact, about 92% of consumers used some type of coupon for shopping in 2019. And that was down only two percent from the year before. Consistently, nearly everyone likes getting a discount. 

And that is just one single type of incentive out of dozens you can use.

Provide a strategic advantage 

Marketing incentives give your business a huge advantage over your competitors. Do a little research to see if your competition is offering any rewards programs and if so, look into how you can make yours better. 

If you really want to stand out, think if there is something valuable you can offer that will be hard to replicate by your competitors. That will prevent them from doing the same to you.

Increase lead generation

Marketing incentives can seriously boost your lead generation. In referrals alone, you’ll see an increase. Think about how many more people will opt in to use your services when they hear from a friend that they will get 50% off the first three months. That’s a killer deal! And when people get a deal like that, you better believe they’ll brag about it. 

The characteristics of a great marketing incentive 

First and foremost, a well thought out plan is key. Do a proper research on your target market. Make sure that you are offering incentives your customers will actually be interested in. 

For example, if your target demographic is women from 40-65 years old, don’t offer them a gift card to Forever 21. See how that doesn’t align? The incentive needs to be alluring and appropriate for your target audience

Some of the best characteristics of incentive programs are: 

  • They cater to the folks they are trying to reach. 
  • They clearly and concisely communicate the benefits of the offer.
  • They clearly communicate the action they are asking the buyer to take.
  • They are easy to use. 
  • They feature a call to action. Or “buy now” verbiage. This creates urgency and insinuates that if the customer doesn’t act now, they will lose out on whatever deal or reward is being offered. 

Some incentive marketing ideas to try out

As we said before, there are a million and one ways to build an effective incentive marketing campaign. Here are just a few that are tried and true. 

Allowing for early access

These make the customer feel like they are getting a sneak peek at a product. These work great to create urgency and a sense of excitement. They also make incentivizing things like app downloads or digital media purchases a breeze.

Early access promotions
Anastasia Beverly Hills does a great job of showcasing their early access promotions. 

Choose your own adventure

Offer multiple options for your clients to choose from. People love to feel in control, especially when they are spending money. This works extremely well when you are targeting a wide audience.  

For instance, USAA is an online bank designed for folks in the military. They have a fabulous reward program for using their credit card. This is common with credit cards, but USAA does it better. 

reward promotion

They offer a boatload of ways to redeem rewards. Like an account credit either on said credit card, or that same amount deposited directly into your checking. You can also choose from a zillion gift card options and of course the good old travel miles. Why wouldn’t you use their card every time you swipe?

Promo codes

They are easy to implement and very effective. It’s basically an alphanumeric word or phrase that can be input at checkout that will give the customer a discount of some kind. 

A promo code is extremely easy to advertise too. You can just slap the info on existing ads you already have or pop it in a social media post. Try something like “And for $30 off your first purchase use promo code AWESOME at checkout.” 

promo code promotion
J. Crew puts their promo codes right below the navigation.

An added bonus is that they are super easy to share. Think of how easy it is for you customers to text a friend a link to your site and the promo code. 

Bonus packs or service bundles

Studies show that consumers are much more likely to purchase a larger quantity of something that includes “Extra/Bonus (insert product)” over a discounted product. Mainly because doing the math to figure out how that percentage translates into real savings can be hard for some. Plus, more is better. Right?

For example, one study showed a 73% boost in sales of lotion that was sold in a value pack. Like Aveeno has done here. This is because people are more inclined to get something extra for free than buy the same product in smaller volumes for cheaper. 

If you offer online courses in social media marketing, for example, try bundling a few courses together at a slight discount. This should generate you more overall business and leave your clients feeling like they are big winners. 

Loyalty program offerings

This fantastic option gives you the opportunity for a double whammy. First, you’re going to draw in more customers by offering some sweet loyalty perks, and it will aid in customer retention down the line. 

Think about your little local coffee shop. They probably offer a punch card, where after you buy nine drinks the tenth is free. That is, though very simple, a great example of a loyalty reward. Folks are going to buy coffee regardless, but you can convince them to buy your coffee because eventually, you fork over one for free. Everyone loves free.

 loyalty reward promotion
You can be an industry leader like NorthFace and offer an awesome reward points plan.

One of the biggest challenges to providing your customers with unbeatable promos is not undervaluing your products or services. It is a fine line to walk. Adding a discount or incentive to generate the perception of increased value, while not just giving your services away. 

Incentivize away! 

Think ahead, do your homework, whip up great content, and you’re off! Well, not really. But almost. Remember that the ultimate goal here is to grow your company, so build these programs with that in mind. 

Make an attentive effort to cater each discount or reward offering to your specific target demographic. Remember, if you do a stellar job with this you can generate a ton of leads. 

Give your clients a wide variety of options and make the steps they need to take easy. If you’re offering a promo code, keep it simple. The shorter the better, people don’t want to have to type “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”.  

Now that you know what an incentive marketing campaign is and how to knowledgeably implement marketing incentives, it’s time to get started! The sales boost is yours for the taking!


Gabe Nelson

Gabe Nelson

Gabe Nelson is a content specialist with over 7 years of experience, currently working with promo.com. He has a passion for and keen understanding of digital marketing. Currently, he lives in Missouri with his wife and kids.

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