There are many ways to reach consumers today on social media, from celebrity endorsements to social media influencers highlighting products in sponsored posts. A newer tactic that's providing high-impact social influence over consumer purchasing decisions is rewards-based marketing. Consumers can often be motivated to share their favorite products with their friends and followers on social media, especially if their post offers a reward in return. By leveraging consumer incentives, brands can expand their audiences and boost sales.
Why Incentives Work in Marketing
Many consumers are willing to share information across social media platforms for the chance to receive an incentive, and marketing efforts can be adjusted to better accommodate this — e.g., offering more rewards for more shares on multiple platforms. Unlike influencers and celebrities who generally post to a few platforms for a pre-determined cost, consumers might share content on multiple platforms, not just Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, if it means they can earn a bigger reward.
Since there are close to 200 different social media platforms out there which consumers have access to, brands have the opportunity to add multiple tiers of incentives, offering consumers more valued rewards for shares across multiple platforms. This helps to boost visibility, creating a sense of brand familiarity with a wider range of consumers which can potentially increase the likelihood of purchasing. This tactic is generally a win-win for brands and consumers as brands generate greater exposure and consumers get the chance to earn even greater rewards.
In addition to greater audience exposure, these incentives are easy to provide. With digital items like coupons, downloads or e-books, brands don’t have to worry about printing or shipping costs. Instead, they can give a consumer instant access to the reward.
What's Next for Rewards-Based Marketing
Rewards-based marketing is constantly evolving, although it's a relatively new marketing tactic. As this strategy grows, here are some expectations:
- Potential for prizes at the point of sale: Brick-and-mortar stores are still popular for those seeking an immediate purchase, despite the recent uptick in online sales. Interactive, rewards-based marketing at the point of sale, including visual displays, distinguishes the product from similar competitors and integrates social links and codes for instant rewards. In-store shoppers are seeking immediate satisfaction, receiving on-the-spot rewards and walking out with the product in hand will help fill this need.
- Mobile marketing on everyday items: We’re constantly plugged into our mobile devices, googling reviews and information on products we’re considering. More brands are taking advantage of this by incorporating rewards-based advertising into our surroundings through mobile check-in points. Some recent efforts include mobile displays on semi-trucks offering QR codes, SMS response and Bluetooth beacons on mobile displays. Placing mobile codes on visible objects allows brands to share reward information with many people quickly and easily, ultimately helping consumers spread the word about the new product or offer.
- Enhanced tracking from ad to purchase: Measurement is very important in determining return on investment. Retailers must gauge whether their campaign or incentive-based strategy is leading to sales. The use of specific links and codes in incentive marketing is allowing companies to see how marketing campaigns impact sales, from the initial placement of the ad all the way to the actual purchase. This isn't limited to social media as it also includes billboards and posters, so marketing teams can pinpoint which ads and social shares led directly to sales.
Rewards-based marketing is a valuable tool for any marketer looking to gain measurable exposure at a lower cost than traditional social media marketing efforts. The potential for incentive-based marketing is great. By continually tapping into the desire for free stuff, brands can boost their visibility without breaking their advertising budgets.
Herman DeBoard is the chief marketing officer at Grabbr, a social referral marketing platform.
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