11 Popular Incentives to Motivate Your Customers to Take Action

by Jenny on May 7, 2013 Comments Off on 11 Popular Incentives to Motivate Your Customers to Take Action

In the marketing world, an “incentive” is something that motivates an individual to perform an action, such as making a purchase, completing a survey or signing up for a mailing list. In other words, it’s an “enticement” to get customers and prospects to do what you want them to do.

What’s the difference between an incentive and a rebate?

A rebate is actually a type of incentive. Essentially a rebate is a price reduction. With a rebate the customer buys something at full price, and then has a portion of that purchase price returned to them. This can either be an instant rebate or a mail-in rebate.

With an instant rebate, such as what is often used in the auto industry (“only $33,999 with a $5,000 rebate”), the customer is rarely handed the cash. Instead, the rebate amount is applied as a discount to the purchase price. For mail-in rebates the customer pays in full and then receives the rebated amount by mail at a later date.

What are some of the most popular types of incentives?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to incentives! Most incentives fall into one of the following categories:

  • Price reduction – rebates, coupons for dollars or percentage off, and “buy one get one”-type offers

  • Loyalty programs – punch cards and points systems such as buy 10 coffees and get the 11th free, frequent flier miles, and insurance discounts given based on the consecutive number of years insured with that company

  • Free samples – the sample itself (such as diapers and baby formula mailed to expectant mothers) is the incentive

  • Bonus product with product trial – test drive a motorcycle and get a free pair of sunglasses

  • Bonus product with purchase – buy $100 worth of cosmetics and get a free cosmetics carrying case

  • Free upgrade with purchase – buy a car and get free floor mats

  • Trade up programs – bring in your infant car seat and get a discount on a toddler car seat

  • Options at time of purchase – buy an RV and get a choice of either a free generator or a free extended warranty

  • Sweepstakes and prizes – complete our survey and be entered into our free drawing

  • Free information – give us your contact information to receive our free white paper; take our survey and we’ll send you the industry-wide results

  • Promotional items – stop by our trade show booth and we’ll give you a free smart phone holder

Keep in mind that a well-designed and executed incentive program can yield tremendous results. Test out different incentives and approaches to find out what works best for you.


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Jenny Dinnen is President of Sales and Marketing at MacKenzie Corporation. Driven to maximize customer's value and exceed expectations, Jenny carries a can-do attitude wherever she goes. She maintains open communication channels with both her clients and her staff to ensure all goals and objectives are being met in an expeditious manner. Jenny is a big-picture thinker who leads MacKenzie in developing strategies for growth while maintaining a focus on the core services that have made the company a success. Basically, when something needs to get done, go see Jenny. Before joining MacKenzie, Jenny worked at HD Supply as a Marketing Manager and Household Auto Finance in their marketing department. Jenny received her undergrad degree in Marketing from the University of Colorado (Boulder) and her MBA from the University of Redlands.

Jenny11 Popular Incentives to Motivate Your Customers to Take Action