How to increase engagement with sales incentives for customers

Cassy Aite
August 18, 2021
How to increase engagement with sales incentives for customers

With so many businesses treating customers like another name on a list, there’s a real opportunity to stand out with a thoughtful sales incentives strategy. After all, there’s nothing better than being rewarded for taking action.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at sales incentives for customers. We’ll walk you through what sales incentives are and when to use them. Plus, we'll share examples of incentive strategies you can use in your own business, and we'll take a look at our tool for simplifying your rewards process.

What is a sales incentive?

A sales incentive is simply a reward or token of appreciation you give to a customer in response to them doing something. That action can be positive, like filling in a feedback form, or negative, like reporting a problem with your service. The sales incentive is designed to help you build a relationship with your customer so they remain loyal into the future.

Sales incentives are effective because people love being rewarded for something they’ve done. Even actions as small as leaving a review, reporting a bug, or sharing a competition online are opportunities to thank your customer and encourage them to continue to engage with your brand. When done well, sales incentives can also help you increase sales, customer retention, and brand loyalty.

When to use these sales incentives with customers

A man is excited about sales incentives for customers that he's received on his laptop

Often people look at customer incentives programs and think they’re just for rewarding customer loyalty or trying to close a sale. There’s much more to it, though — including lots of great ways to use these incentives to thank, encourage, motivate, and reward your customers.

When you're building your sales incentive strategy, think about the different interactions your customers have with you and which moments you can reward them for. Then, look for rewards that align with their personal goals, taste, and interests. Combine these, and you have a winning incentive strategy.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some of the best uses for sales incentives.

Encourage customers to attend a sales meeting

Getting your customers to make it to a sales meeting can be tough. They have plenty of priorities to juggle and might be speaking to several potential suppliers at once. Offering a sales incentive can make it more likely they’ll join you for a meeting or let you pitch.

Not every incentive will work in this scenario. A loyalty program is unlikely to convince someone to spend time on a sales call with you, but an attractive discount or an extra bonus thrown in could help sweeten the deal.

Apologize for an error or interruption to service

Sometimes things don’t go to plan, and a customer can end up feeling dissatisfied, frustrated, or let down by your product, service, or support. A small incentive can go a long way toward repairing that valuable customer relationship.

Free products, services, and gifts are popular ways to smooth over a rough patch with a customer. Pair something that they find value in — personalized to their situation when possible — with an apology, and you'll give them a better customer experience than they were expecting.

Encourage engagement in surveys

It’s not always easy to get insights and customer data from your audience, even if all they need to do is fill in a short survey or questionnaire. Encourage them to take part in your evaluation and market research with a thoughtful incentive.

Discounts, coupons, and free bonuses work well as incentives to encourage customers to take part in surveys and research. A gift card is another great option — and with Hoppier you can theme your gift card around a topic like wellness or entertainment.

Express gratitude for completing a task

Sales incentives don’t always have to steer your customer towards a purchase. Sometimes you can use them to reward customers for an action they’ve already taken — like sharing your content on social media or leaving a review.

A great way to show gratitude to your customers is through a points system where they can unlock VIP rewards. Make it extra fun and gamify their experience so they can earn points through multiple actions and then redeem those points for rewards.

Reward customer loyalty

Customers can be fickle and tempted by competitors — especially if you’re a retailer or SaaS company. There’s a lot of choice out there, but for one reason or another, they choose to continue doing business with you. Let’s celebrate that with an incentive or reward.

Set up a customer loyalty scheme full of benefits that they’re interested in, or ones they can choose for themself. Rewards like stacking discounts, free gifts with purchases, and exclusive access to new products and services are all great examples of incentives you can feature.

Thank them for reporting bugs or issues

Nothing works perfectly all the time. If you offer software or tools as a service, chances are there are bugs somewhere. Encourage your customers to help you find them by offering incentives for people who report bugs, issues, or errors.

Bugs and issues often cost you money, so offering a discount or a free month is a great way to thank someone for reporting the error. If you want to offer a monetary reward but don’t want to hand out cash, Hoppier cards are a great alternative. Customers can spend the virtual card balance on something that matters to them — whether it’s dinner at their favorite restaurant or a music streaming subscription.

Reward customer referrals

Word of mouth is everything, and the people who refer new customers to you should get something in return for the value they bring. A sales incentive or customer reward is a great way to not only express your thanks, but to encourage more referrals in the future.

The best way to reward customers who bring you new leads is through a referral bonus scheme. Offer a discount, monetary reward, or points for each successful referral, and allow them to cash out in the future when it hits a certain amount. You could also consider sending a small gift or gift card to your customer as a thank you.

6 of the most effective sales incentives to explore

A woman smiles after receiving sales incentives for customers

Sales incentives make a lot of sense — especially if you want to improve your customer retention rates, increase sales, or create a better than average customer experience. To help you add exciting new features to your incentive marketing strategy, here are some of our top picks for sales incentives.

1. Coupons

Coupons can be an effective way to encourage customers to take action — especially if you’re in the business of selling products or low value services. Since coupons are physical (or digital) and often have unique codes, they can be limited or have a short term expiry date — meaning you can use the rarity of them as an additional selling point.

2. Discounts

Discounts are always a popular sales incentive because they’re easy to set up and manage, and they work well for most situations. What matters here is setting the right level of discount — too high and you risk cutting into your profit margins, too low and people won’t find it attractive enough to take action.

3. Free gifts

There’s something great about getting a free product or gift with purchase, even if we don’t need or want it. Use this incentive to encourage people to spend more to unlock a gift with purchase, or simply send a free gift to recognize moments that matter to you — like a customer anniversary. If you’re sending free gifts, a virtual gift card is a thoughtful idea because your customer can spend it anywhere.

4. Free upgrades

When it comes to software and digital tools with multiple tier plans, getting a free upgrade can be a great incentive for loyal customers. Not only is it something that they’re likely excited about, it ensures they continue to stick with you and get to experience more of the features you offer. Free upgrades are one of the best incentives or rewards for positive tasks like completing a feedback survey, taking part in a focus group, or sending new customers your way.

5. Loyalty programs

For your VIP customers and the ones who have stuck with you since the start, there’s no better way to reward them than with a loyalty program. These customer loyalty programs encourage customers to take actions, make purchases, and engage with you in order to earn points that they can redeem for rewards and perks. The right loyalty program rewards your customers for the good things they do and encourages future spending.

6. Referral programs

One of the best ways to stay (and thrive) in business is to be recommended by others. Word of mouth referrals from friends, family members, and our network count for so much more than advertising, so it’s only right that those who sing your praises get rewarded. Referral programs encourage people to recommend you to others in exchange for perks like discounts or early access to upgrades, and they help you grow your future sales pipeline.

Hoppier: An easy way to reward your customers

Sales incentives work, but they’re often tricky to manage — especially if you’re not sure exactly what the reward should be. Take the guesswork out of the process and opt for something simple, like Hoppier virtual cards.

Hoppier is the perfect place to run and manage your incentives program if you want to send out digital gift cards as a thank you, reward, or incentive. It’s easy to create a program, customize your cards, set spending limits, and email the cards to the right people.

Easy to manage

A virtual credit card program that can be used as sales incentives for customers

Using a tool like Hoppier for your sales incentives helps you simplify the whole process. Instead of manually issuing gift cards or investing in a complicated system that does more than you need, you can issue virtual gift cards easily.

All you need to get started is an account with Hoppier. Then, give your incentive program a name, and you can move on to personalizing your card and setting the balance, expiration date, and more.

Customized experience

Vendors that customers can purchase from using their Hoppier virtual credit card

Sometimes sending gift cards as incentives or rewards can feel impersonal. There’s often little opportunity to personalize them — especially if you opt for a physical card. With Hoppier, you can fully customize the card and experience for your customers.

Once you’ve set up your program, you can change the colors and logo design on your virtual cards. Add your company branding to make the moment memorable, and remind your customer who’s sending them the gift. You can also personalize the experience by limiting the vendors where the card can be used. This works well if you want to put the focus on relaxing, treating yourself, or enjoying a great meal.

Send sales incentives in moments

Once you’ve set up your program and customized it, you’re ready to start distributing these virtual cards to your customers. All you need to do is add their email address, which you can easily import using our tool.

With all the details ready, there’s one last step to personalize the experience — the email. This is another opportunity to build on that customer relationship, express your gratitude, or apologize for something that went wrong. And with your program already set up, you can simply send another card to the next recipient when you need it.

A simple way to incentivize customer engagement

Sales incentives are a powerful way to motivate your customers to engage, take action, and stay loyal to your business. Choosing the right sales incentives can help you put together an attractive package for your customers and deliver tangible benefits to improve your bottom line or increase brand awareness.

If you’re looking for an easy way to manage your sales incentive program, try Hoppier. Our simple platform lets you create, customize, and send virtual gift cards to customers as part of your incentive programs. To discover more about how it all works, book a demo with our team today.

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