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5 Ways to Leverage Incentives to Educate, Engage, and Drive Purchases From Your Customers

If you’re looking to educate your customers while engaging them and driving more purchases, the right mix of incentives can help you achieve this. 

Incentives help brands achieve their marketing and business objectives through programs that are fun, entertaining and sharable digital experiences that educate, engage and drive purchases from consumers.  

Specific engagement tactics are strategically designed to influence behaviors across the entire customer journey more effectively. They drive consumers back to the site, keeping eyes on your website and brand, while motivating purchases. 

Here are five types of incentives your brand can leverage to educate, engage and drive purchases from your customers. 


1. Consider Running a Sweepstakes to Increase Customer and Data Acquisition and More

A sweepstakes is a game of chance where consumers register for the chance to win a prize. Winners are selected at random either throughout or at the end of the incentive period.
Sweepstakes address: 

  • Customer acquisition 
  • Data acquisition 
  • Email acquisition   
  • Social acquisition 
  • Loyalty acquisition
  • SMS acquisition 
  • Mobile app download 

To enter, participants are required to provide specific information based on their method of entry. Entries are often required for entry, first name, last name, home address (to fulfill a prize) and email address (used as a unique identifier within a database). 

Registration can also include opt-ins to receive additional marketing communications and SMS messages (participant provided a mobile number) and by opting in, the participant can earn additional entries. Sweepstakes entries can also be tied to enrolling in a loyalty program or for following/engaging on social media. 

The Capital One Free Lunch Sweepstakes focused on communicating the convenience of making mobile deposits to impact consumer behavior.

To encourage late-adopting customers to skip the branch during their lunch break and enjoy the convenience of mobile banking, Capital One offered them a chance to win free lunch for a year each time they deposited a check on their phones. 

Entrants earned chances to win free lunch for a year every time they made a deposit on their phones. And participants could enter up to 100 times. 

Entrants had to sign in to the Capital One app and enter their check details. Then they had to endorse the check and take a photo of the front and back of it. Then they just hit “Deposit Check” and received an instant confirmation. 


2. Instant Wins Help You With Brand Engagement, Customer and Data Acquisition and Social Acquisition

An instant win is a game of chance where registrants find out if they’ve won or lost instantly. Consumers register for the chance to win a prize. Winners are selected randomly throughout the incentive period. 

The instant win experience can be a simple win/lose the message, or a gamified experience. An instant win can be used as a stand-alone or in conjunction with a sweepstakes or other incentive type.  

Instant wins address:  

  • Brand engagement
  • Customer acquisition 
  • Data acquisition 
  • Email acquisition 
  • Social acquisition 
  • Loyalty acquisition 
  • SMS acquisition
  • Mobile app download

Besides the impact shown above with sweepstakes, Instant Wins can help drive return visits/engagement when offering a daily chance to win. 

Take this Nike Instant Win incentive, for example.  

The objective here was to drive in-store traffic, capture valuable CRM data from consumers visiting new Nike Factory store openings and positively impact in-store customer acquisition. 

Customers checked in on their mobile devices at Nike Factory Store locations to play for a chance to instantly win Nike gift cards. Win or lose, all participants received a $10 digital coupon they could immediately use toward an in-store purchase. 


3. Trivia/Polls/Profile Quizzes Address Customer Education, Brand Engagement and Data Collection

Trivia, polls and profile quizzes can be used in conjunction with a sweepstakes and/or instant win game to educate consumers about content relevant to a brand. They can be a one-time use, or questions can refresh each visit or at set intervals throughout the engagement period. 

Trivia/polls/profile quizzes address: 

  • Customer education 
  • Brand engagement 
  • Data collection 

According to our historical data, 45% of participants will complete the Trivia experience. Trivia/polls/profile quiz programs have the second-highest frequency (behind Instant Win) for customers of brands we’ve worked within the past. Instant Win).  

These programs fuel friendly competition, and virality, by encouraging consumers to share their scores or results. Change out questions on a daily or weekly basis to increase the frequency of participation.   

You can include hint functionality where consumers can click to learn more about the brand’s website before answering a question.  

Hint functionality involves the integration of a light box (a window overlay that appears over a web page, blocking some of the content and dimming and disabling the rest of the background) that holds information participants can use to help them answer the question correctly.  

Trivia tests consumers’ knowledge about relevant brand or pop culture content, gamifying the educational experience by asking questions in fun and engaging ways. Questions can be one-time use, refresh at each visit or set intervals throughout the engagement period. 

Often, Trivia is used in conjunction with a sweepstakes and/or instant win game to drive further engagement and participation. It’s not limited by the medium or channel, and can be text-based, image-based, video-based, location-based or real-time. 

A Choose Your Own Adventure Promotion is a different type of trivia that puts the experience in the hands of consumers, allowing them to weigh in on the narrative and determine the outcome.  

Once a participant registers, they are taken through trivia or survey questions and each question they get correct can earn them an additional entry. Responses are stored within a database for the brand to evaluate and analyze. This can also be incorporated into a loyalty program to earn without purchase to get more insights on member preferences. 

Consider this trivia engagement tactic called the Miller 2-Minute Drill.  

The objective was to give NFL fans a second-screen activity during Sunday games to keep the brand top-of-mind all season long.  

Every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET, NFL fans could play “two-minute trivia drills” by answering football-related questions for chances to win national and team-specific sweepstakes prizes. 


4. Purchase Validation Addresses Customer Engagement

This method should be used when the key marketing objective is to drive

Purchase validation: 

  • Encourages engagement and motivates participants to make a purchase 
  • Allows the vendor and brand to track purchases attributable to the engagement for measurable results  

Purchase validation methods include: 

On Pack Code: These are codes printed on the packaging or inside the packaging. They can be unique, semi-unique, or one code that is used for all entries. A participant enters the code on the promotion website to obtain entry. 

  • Strengths: Highest conversion rate, low fraud risk with unique inside pack printing 
  • Challenges: Long lead time to get on-pack, printing costs can be prohibitive, less control around when packaging is in-market/on-shelf, high fraud risk with non-unique and semi-unique codes as well as unique codes printed outside of the pack 

Receipt Upload: The participant uploads a qualifying purchase receipt to the incentive website to enter. 

  • Strengths: No packaging requirements, enhanced receipt insights  
  • Challenges: Lower conversion rate, moderation costs, not a great solution for c-store/mom and pop sales 

On Receipt Code: These are the same as on-pack codes, but the code is printed on the receipt by the brand. 

  • Strengths: Low cost, no packaging requirements 
  • Challenges: Limits to specific retailers, lowest conversion rate 

Loyalty Card Integration: This is typically done through an API. A participant adds their loyalty card number or member ID on the incentive site and the qualifying purchase can be verified through the confirmation of the purchase via the API connection from the incentive site to the brand’s loyalty database. 

  • Strengths: Integrated approach lowers participant hurdle and creates a seamless experience  
  • Challenges: Limited to specific retailers 

Within the user flow, a participant is required to upload a receipt/enter a code/provide their loyalty card number to obtain entry(ies)/earn points.  

Listerine used an interesting incentive called Join the Bold Percent to drive sales through brand engagement. 

Consumers were invited to test their boldness through a personality quiz, check their Oral Health IQ, upload Listerine receipts and complete other activities for chances to win bold-themed prizes. 


5. User-Generated Content

User-generated content allows participants to create and share their content, which includes texts, pictures, videos, reviews, images or essays. 

User-generated content achieves the following marketing objectives: 

  • Brand engagement 
  • Education 
  • Content Creation 
  • Virality 

User-Generated Content extends brand conversations to consumers, allowing participants to create and share original content through online engagements or social media networks.  

When brand enthusiasts create and share their authentic content, you extend the reach of marketing campaigns, engage social followers more organically and positively influence consumer purchase decisions.  

For example, you may require people to upload a photo or video to enter but have the winner determined by voting or other judging criteria. The element of chance does not exist in a contest.  

In exchange for sharing their original content across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and/or by uploading their submissions on a promotional contest site, entrants earn chances to win prizes or earn rewards. 

Participants can elevate your UGC contest when incentivized to invite friends and family to view their entries in a branded gallery. Winning submissions can be determined by registered user votes, predetermined judges or a combination of both, as well as through social aggregation.   


Make Your Incentive Fun and Exciting to Engage Customers 

So, we’ve shown you five ways to leverage different types of incentives to educate, engage and drive purchases from your customers. 

Consider 81% of consumers say they’re more likely to engage with a brand if it offers an incentive. 

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing an incentive to engage your customers because every brand is different and so are its customers. 

What matters is wrapping that incentive around something simple, fun, exciting and sharable for your customers. 

The easier it is for your customers to participate, the more engagement you’ll see. 

When done correctly, these types of promotions most certainly can educate, engage and drive purchases from your loyal. 

If you need help with any incentives or would like to talk about your customer engagement efforts, feel free to reach out to our experts here any time. 


ebbo helps brands achieve their customer loyalty goals with full-service, end-to-end solutions and also creates original educational content straight from the experts to help loyalty marketers stay on the cutting edge of customer engagement.

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