Are you incentivizing your most valuable customers with the rewards that they want the most? Spoiler alert: the best rewards aren’t the most expensive ones. Below, we break down five quick tips to guide your brand’s reward incentives strategy to drive the most engagement with your VIP customers or micro-influencers:

1) Offer rewards that have low monetary (but high perceived) value

Gift cards worth less than $10 drive a 1.73x higher activation rate than gift cards worth $10 or more, on average. Although this initially seems counterintuitive, the success of offering a lower value gift card most likely derives from its ‘attainability’ factor: the lower the monetary value of an offer, the more likely a customer will feel that this will be an easy win. Consider offering $5 gift cards in exchange for a quick Tweet or branded post by your influencers- an additional plus for you is that the lower the gift card’s value is, the more often you can run a similar contest or campaign, giving you more opportunities to interact with and drive value from your most influential customers.

2) Offer brand swag or free products

Similarly to the gift card phenomenon, offering up brand swag and free products feels like attainable, quick wins for your customers while maintaining a high perceived value. Instantly unlocking a product or gift card drives 7% higher activation rates on average than a high-value sweepstakes does. If you do offer swag or products, make sure they are brand-centric and relevant- offering up a free product that has nothing to do with your brand (like a toothbrush with a Mavrck logo, for instance) is less likely to be a hit than a product that has something to do with why your customers love your brand in the first place. There’s also value in giving your most influential customers something to talk about, a sort of self-fulfilling cycle that fuels community discussion and encourages return visits to a community page or forum. Additionally, giving customers a brand product could allow them to exist as a new focus group for you, providing feedback and reviews on your product.

3) Go for instant wins

We live in an on-demand, ‘everyone wins’ economy- people want instant gratification, especially when they’re participating in activities online. Make your contest or sweepstakes a short-term offer. Consider using calls to action that emphasize the immediacy of the opportunity, such as “Act Now!”, or “Limited Offer.” If you shorten the time constraint of the contest, your customers will be more likely to sign up out of a fear of missing out on an easy opportunity.  Another option is to provide an in-store promo, giving consumers a discount just for walking into a brand’s store. This marketing strategy is particularly effective with Millennials.

4) Make sure the size of your ‘ask’ matches the value of your reward offer

Make sure that the size of your ‘ask’ matches the worth of the reward that you’re offering in exchange. For example, asking your customers to create and share a status on Facebook is a sizably bigger ‘ask’ than asking them to comment on a post or share a pre-populated Tweet on their Twitter account, and as a result, you’re likely to drive higher activity if you attach the big asks with corresponding rewards. For example, asking someone to create and share a Facebook post could be tied to an instant win, while asking them to publish a Tweet might be tied to a coupon offer.

5) If you’re going to go big, make it an experience

The Millennial Generation is the experience generation- they would rather invest their money into experience than any other specific industry- 78% of Millennials would rather spend money on an experience or event than buy something desirable. And they’re about to hit peak spending years. Although most of your offers and rewards should be tied to smaller value opportunities, you should tie your big-value sweepstakes and rewards to experiential activities, like flight tickets, vacation packages, or branded event and restaurant deals. This is an ideal strategy for luxury brands who risk diminishing brand value by offering discounts, gift cards or free swag.

Now that you have the best incentive strategy, you have to make sure that you’re engaging these offers with your most influential customers. Download our free white paper, Rise of the Micro-Influencers, to find out how you can harness the power of an always-on army of advocates for your brand.