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There is no better way to capitalize on marketing than through your customers. Generally, it is known that word of mouth is one of the most effective marketing channels for both small and large businesses. In the advertising palace, a satisfied customer is the best advertiser. He/she would go to the ends of the world singing praises of your brand and this would invariably increase customer patronage and sales.

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Offering incentives to customers is a cost-effective way of advertising when compared to the gains it’ll bring. Satisfied customers happily recommend your brand and services to others.

Here are tips to incentives your customers and keep them happy:

1. Have a plan: You need to have a well-thought-out actionable plan which will help you achieve your goals. This plan has to be specific and measurable. Writing down vague plans will not get you anywhere. In drafting your plan you need to keep in mind the goals you want to achieve. These goals could be to increase sales, to get new customers, to increase customer satisfaction, to gain/build customer loyalty, etc.

2. Draft a Budget: Now that you have a set goal to achieve, you need to draft a budget structured to generate a return on investment (ROI). What would it cost you to go through the process?

3. Know your customers: Offering incentives won’t cut it if you have a poor relationship with your customers. Knowing your customers entails going deeper to understand their interests, and lifestyle and the most efficient way to achieve this is to conduct market research or send out surveys. This might also open your eyes to gaps in customer behaviour and patterns that you can use incentives to fill up.

4. Pick out the right Customer Reward: To strike a chord in the heart of your customers and gain success in your program, you have to pick out rewards that match your customers’ interests and lifestyles. This helps you to connect better with your customers but in doing this, don’t go out of your budget. You need to provide value to your customers within your budget so as not to run into losses. Rewards could be online rewards (usually versatile, easily automated, and scalable), gift card rewards, debit card rewards, as well as incentive travels.

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5. Choose customer behaviours to incentivize: You can choose to reward customers whose behaviours help you grow your business. Behaviours that should be rewarded include: making a first-time purchase, giving feedback, leaving a positive review, providing referrals, etc.

6. Sell your Program: Customer incentives present a great avenue to communicate with your customers so don’t let this opportunity slip through your hands. Communicate your program plans early enough to your customers using emails, SMS, content on your website or social media handles, etc. Let them know the value of your reward and the chances they have to earn.

7. Monitor Program Success: Conducting a customer incentive program without monitoring its progress might leave you disappointed in the end. You need to keep a close eye at every stage of the entire progress to achieve your desired goal. Customer incentive programs help you obtain data and insights which prove helpful in driving sales.

8. Seek Feedback: At the end of the entire program, it is very important to ask for your customers’ feedback and opinion about the incentive program. With this feedback, you’ll be able to update your customer incentive program to suit customers’ interests as well as generate sales.

Bear in mind that customer incentive programs are a business strategy therefore, you need to be deliberate about it.

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This article was first published on 21st February 2022


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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