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Incentive programs have been used to entice consumers to make purchases for many decades. As consumer behaviors have changed over the years, though, rebate programs have had to evolve as well. Technology has greatly changed how consumers are able to stay connected with the latest sales, including incentives, which has caused rebate programs to become one of the most sought-after deals on the Internet. Businesses are seeing more and more that incentives can be used to stimulate sales and increase their overall customer acquisition. It should also be noted that an incentive program can be used to create long-term, loyal customers.

Loyalty 360 recently published an article. In it, Theresa Mcendree describes how incentives can be used by retailers to gain access to the best of both worlds; they create a way to drive attractive promotions that help sales thrive, while at the same time increasing customer loyalty. These incentive programs bring about an array of benefits, including being able to attract consumers and turning them into repeat customers. Let’s take a look at four ways incentives can stimulate sales and customer loyalty as well as a few tips for getting the most out of your rebate programs.

1: Excellent Way to Collect New and Accurate Consumer Data

When you offer incentive programs, you are essentially collecting consumer data and then offering them a rebate. You should know that a significant amount of consumer data can be collected, but it is your responsibility to ask the questions to ensure it is collected. Four of the primary types of clean consumer data that you can collect through your incentive programs are:

  • Shopper demographics
  • Purchase information
  • Customer satisfaction scores
  • Product reviews

Once the consumer data is collected, you must make sure it is properly stored and managed. More so, you will need to use it for your future marketing campaigns. In doing so, you are able to use this customer intelligence to create highly-effective marketing tactics that are cost-efficient and increase your overall sales.

2: Acquire Loyalty Registration

Nowadays, a loyalty program is one of the most popular types of incentive programs being offered to consumers. Most loyalty programs are free to sign up for and don’t require the consumer to make a purchase to sign up. All a consumer has to do is provide a few pieces of information and then once so many dollars are spent or purchases are made, an incentive will kick in. For example, gas stations often offer loyalty programs in which a customer can receive a free coffee after so many coffee purchases are made. Offering this type of deal is an easy way to acquire customer information, including name, contact information, email address, and more. Having a simple loyalty program in place like this enables a retailer to decrease their overall consumer data collection cost.

3: Incentives Facilitate Enhanced Brand Interaction

The overall marketing goal of any company should be to increase brand awareness; this allows a wider audience of consumers to become aware of the services/products being sold. With an incentive program in place, enhanced brand interaction becomes possible. A lot of incentive programs offer their incentives via prepaid cards or gift cards, and this in itself increases branding possibilities. A gift card or prepaid card is like having a “billboard in the wallet” of your customers. If you are considering how to offer incentives to your customers, you should definitely consider the benefits of prepaid cards and gift cards. Besides having your own personal billboard inside the wallet of your loyalty incentive customers, these cards also provide the ability to track the way in which the customers use their incentives; this means you will be collecting an even greater amount of consumer data that allows you to track your customers’ behaviors. This consumer data can then be used to create laser-focused marketing strategies.

4: Mobile Incentives are Highly-Valued by Consumers

Consumers want easy. They want simple. They want incentive that can be taken advantage of on-the-go. Their smartphones have immensely revolutionized the way they shop. Back in the day, they had to cut out UPC codes or fill out documentation to receive an incentive or rebate. These days, though, they prefer to type in a few pieces of information on their smartphones and receive their incentive program as quickly as possible. If you are going to offer an incentive to your customers, make sure they can access it via a mobile platform.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Incentive Programs

Check out these tips for using incentive programs to increase customer loyalty. 

Know What to Avoid

If you are going to offer an incentive program, make sure you avoid these mistakes because they can lead to your program actually costing you money instead of increasing your sales:

  • Don’t offer too many incentives too often
  • Don’t set up too many barriers in order for customers to access the incentives
  • Don’t forget to correctly market your promotions and incentives

Your incentive program needs to be simple. If customers have to jump through a bunch of hoops to acquire the incentive associated with the incentive, they will overlook the benefit to be gained and fail to go through with the incentive process.

You Must Understand Your Customers

The best incentive programs are developed around a clear understanding of the customer, including their wants, needs, preferences, sense of worth, and more. Depending on the industry that your business operates in, you may find that your customers would prefer an incentive that is not monetary. When you are able to provide a value to a customer that is beyond dollars and cents, this resonates with them in a truly unique way and will have them spreading valuable word-of-mouth marketing for your brand.

Know When to Increase the Incentives

As a customer becomes more and more loyal, the incentives that you offer should increase as well. This is why it is so important to increase the value of the incentives according to a loyalty ladder. If you are unfamiliar with this type of loyalty program, you should speak with an incentive specialist to help you create a loyalty ladder program that works best for your company.

The Takeaway

Offering an incentive program is a great way to increase customer loyalty. Just like your marketing campaigns, though, an incentive program is going to take time to perfect. And as consumer behaviors change, your incentive program will need to change as well, meaning it is an ongoing part of your business operations.

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