Elements of Internet Marketing: Incentives.

Elements of Internet Marketing: Incentives (2013).

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ON EXAMINER

DISCLAIMER: Every once in awhile, we cover “Elements of Internet Marketing” and why they are important for everyone to be aware or reminded of. Some of these topics are not new, but they are very important to consumers and service providers to repeatedly encounter and understand. Today’s “Element” is related to the topic of “Incentives.” Enjoy!

Everyone likes “FREE.” As a matter of fact, it is pretty likely that nobody is going to turn down “free.” At the same time, most of our modern society hates doing anything for free… including giving up personal information. This reason comes from past abuse from naive and unethical businesses.

No one likes SPAM. While it may be free, it is not friendly. Think of it as a demon that needs “exorcised” immediately. No one wants a “buddy” that will haunt them and annoy them for the rest of their lives.

In business, when we give someone something free, it likely comes with a price. We usually expect some sort of “buzz” to be created, because one person will tell the next about this “cool” new “thing” that they got for free. The next person will seek out a free item as well. This is Word of Mouth Marketing. An incentive is given for word about our brand to be spread. It is as simple as that!

As with many successful marketing actions, many businesses are against giving things away for free or taking the risk. Yet, they will complain that they aren’t making the income that they would like for the overall business venture. This is where the problem remains for them. After all, you have to take risks and do something new in order to succeed.

There are many businesses, on the other hand, that thrive through incentives. Incentives often come in the form of products, services and trials. Yet, some businesses have been benefiting from creating an actual monetary reward for their consumer base. Companies like DealsPlus pay users per deal that they list on the site, creating content. They also pay for articles to be written on their blog, coupon posts and other actions that take place.

Other sites give incentive rewards to those that refer users to become users on the site, through content generation and followers, and through referring new hires to the team. In the past, I personally worked with a company that paid college students a dollar to sign up as users on their site. They had to literally sign up through our laptop and mobile devices and confirm their accounts before being paid. These users became the most active on our site, because they had something to gain from it.

The downfall to incentive programs is what may lead consumers from becoming willing to participate in them freely. You see, so many ethical businesses have failed to adopt incentive programs, while more unethical practices have encouraged them. This is where the evil SPAM comes into play, as well as unauthorized charges to credit cards, scams, false contest and giveaway programs in attempts of collecting important information from clientele and so on. As business owners, we have to find a way to combat this, while including an incentive program into our marketing plans.

In including incentive programs into our marketing plans, we have to ensure participants that their private information is secured and won’t be sold, that they can trust us, and that participation is worth “the hassle.” Ensuring that our Brand Presence is intact and our reputation precedes us, we have a better chance of creating Brand Trust with our new potential consumers and those who use our products out of necessity.

If we hold contests and giveaways, we must be sure that we prove that it was a real contest and announce the actual winner in a public place (Online). Those that entered will be more lead to believe that it will be “better luck next time” and will more than likely participate in the future.

What some people fail to realize is that incentives may be open to everyone. But, the opportunity was a “privilege,” because not everyone will know about it until it is too late. It was a “privilege,” because the consumer has a 1-on-1 experience with the brand, as well.

Privilege leads to a personal story where the consumer is part of the overall story and history of the brand. This makes for Loyalty and Tenure. And if you are a business owner, what better incentive is there? Remember, incentives are everything if you can prove it is worth anything for your consumer to take action. Give a good call to action and you’re halfway there!

Some ways that incentives will help brands:

  • Brand Loyalty
  • Brand Trust
  • Word of Mouth
  • Viral Marketing
  • Guaranteed Funneling – Call to Action
  • Sign Ups
  • “Privilege”
  • Sales
  • Press Opportunity
  • SEO Opportunity
  • Brand Action
  • Cross Promotions
  • Sponsorships
  • Conversation
  • Social Activity (Comments, Conversation, Conversion into Customer, Likes/Followers, etc.)

NOTE TO MY READERS: The “Elements” section of The Examiner was created for YOU. Clients and readers are constantly messaging me with questions about specific topics. While I don’t consult for free, I do address their questions in general terms through these columns.

I invite you to ask questions about Internet Marketing, Social Branding and Event Marketing, as well as submit information about your upcoming projects, as related to the World of Internet Marketing. I will try to include them in my future releases. And, speaking of incentives, if you would like more “Elements,” tips, tricks and Internet Marketing-related news, please subscribe to my articles today!

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