Online Community Management: How to Reward Customers - dummies

Online Community Management: How to Reward Customers

By Deborah Ng

You can’t grow a one-sided community, and the benefits can’t be only on your end. It’s up to the online community manager to put promotions and incentives in place that reward customers and bring in new members.

Here are a few ways you can reward your customers:

  • Contests and giveaways: Freebie and bargain hunters love contests, especially those enabling them to get something for nothing — not that customer loyalty is nothing. Rewarding loyalty by letting your community try new products for free will create some buzz while encouraging newbies to sign up and see what all the talk is about.

  • Member spotlights: If your members are talking about you, share the love by talking about them. Go on a talent hunt to find interesting members to spotlight in your newsletters and blogs. Learn the stories behind the people who support your brand and give a little something back.

  • Discounts, coupon codes, and rebates: Again, it’s all about the rewards. You want to offer something to new and old members alike. Even if it’s not cost-efficient to give products away to everyone, you might still offer discounts to everyone in the community.

  • Affiliate and incentive programs: People will sign up for a newsletter or community group if there’s something in it for them. Most won’t sign up for a brand’s regular mailings just to receive spam and advertisements in their mailboxes.

    If you offer some incentive or gift for every signup, however, plus regular discounts for subscribers only, folks are more likely to sign up. Offering them points or cash in exchange for every referral or product sale will also yield plenty of takers.

  • Referral rewards: How do you reward the community members who refer friends? You don’t have to award a big, expensive prize for every referral, but a discount coupon or points saved for a bigger purchase are nice ways to say thank you.