Skip to main content


How To Use Incentives To Bolster Your Customer Base

| Kayleigh Alexandra |

The root of every successful business is a solid value proposition: if you can offer something that people are willing to pay for, you have the key ingredient. But it isn’t the only ingredient: in other words, it’s necessary but it isn’t sufficient. Things are somewhat more complicated than that. For instance, imagine that you operated in a modest niche and sold something that the average customer would only want to buy once — how could that be sustainable?

More pressing, though, is the prevalence of alternatives. You can have a solid value proposition, but that won’t get you very far if you’re up against comparable competition. Spoiled for choice, your prospective customers will be able to demand more from you — and if you want to earn their custom, let alone their loyalty, you’ll need to pull out all the stops.

That means optimizing every aspect of your business, from the on-site content you present to the customer service you provide. Most notably here, it means knowing how to use incentives to win some all-important long-term customers. Here are some tips for doing just that:

Tailor Incentives to the nature of your business

What incentive types you should use will depend on the type of company you’re running and how compelling your fundamental business model is, because there are various different ways to add value. The simplest is to offer free trials and/or gifts. A free trial is incredibly powerful for attracting customers when your basic service is very sticky (which is to say that it tends to keep people around with little effort once they’ve signed up). Think about sites like Netflix (though they’re starting to experiment with free shows and samples).

Alternatively, there are the conditional gifts used by financial services that can’t get anywhere through providing free things. Take slot games, for instance. The best slot sites offer conditional gifts that require people to play — and pay — to use them. Giving someone a hundred unconditional spins would be disastrous since each new customer could arrive, take those spins, take whatever money they won, and leave without ever investing anything in the service.

Strict limitations are necessary to ensure that conditional incentives actually lead people to become customers. For some examples, rather than looking at sites in this country, you should look to take inspiration from the greatest slot websites within the UK: it’s ahead of the game as far as online gambling goes, with much more complex welcome bonuses and schemes.

Factor in what your competitors are doing

Your incentives, like your value proposition, can’t be judged in a vacuum. If you offer a 10% discount to all new customers but your rivals all offer 15%, you won’t be lauded for your generosity and incredible value for money: you’ll be considered a miser. You have two options for excelling here: you can try to beat them, or you can forge your own path.

Beating them, as you’d expect, will mean flatly exceeding their numbers. When they send out free gifts worth $20 each, you’ll need to send out free gifts worth more than that. What’s more, you’ll need to find a way to publicize that action without coming across as petty. That isn’t exactly an easy feat to accomplish.

Due to that, I suggest going with the second option. Instead of trying to directly compete on specific incentives, you should find totally different incentives that better fit the unique qualities of your business (ReferralRock has some good instances of the most creative marketing incentives). Instead of free gifts, for instance, you could offer some in-depth support sessions to help your customers make the most of your products. Think carefully about what fits your operation, and what your customers would actually want.

Pay close attention to customer feedback

On the topic of what your customers want, it’s vital that you don’t forget to monitor customer feedback. You might be sure that you have a great idea for a compelling incentive, but don’t just barrel ahead assuming it’ll work out: people can surprise you, particularly since consumer preferences change over time due to shifting standards and tough economic conditions.

When you roll out an incentive, track its impact very diligently. How well does it convert? Does it surpass or fall short of your expectations? If it’s a clear disaster, don’t stubbornly cling to it just because you were happy with the ideation. Scrap it and move on. In the end, what matters is what your customers want, not what you want. Always remember that.

Image credit: Piqsels

Skip to content