7 Surefire Incentives to Entice New and Current Customers

Catch their eye, and grab their business, with these ideas

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When you want new business, and you want it now, you have a few options open to you. You obviously don’t have time to create a big advertising campaign. But, you do have social media, which is an instant way to connect with a customer base. Of course, it is limited to the people who are following you, so that can be tricky. Ideally, you’ll want something shareable, so that the words are spread about your business organically.

You can also turn to more traditional methods, like flyers and coupons, or you could do some kind of guerrilla or PR stunt in your area. Getting something newsworthy is a great way to garner free publicity. However, whichever way you choose to spread the word, you need a hook. You need something that will turn people from "maybe" to "yes, I want that."

Here are 7 quick and easy ways to entice people to buy.


The general public loves a challenge. It’s also something that can spread virally, or by good old word of mouth. Restaurants and bars can get quick business by issuing a challenge. For instance, “eat 10 wings in under a minute and they’re free,” or “drink a yard of ale without spilling a drop and you get your name on the wall of fame.” Of course, if you create challenges, you must be prepared to make good on the deal. So don’t do anything you cannot afford. Remember breakage.

Free Shipping

Never underestimate the power of free shipping. eBay is a great case study for this point. Many eBay sellers have offered products for the same price including shipping, but have split the costs as follows - $30 + $10 shipping, or $40 + Free shipping. It’s the exact same price to the buyer, but the free shipping deal always trumps the other. People want to get something for free. Give it to them, even if you simply absorb the cost in the higher initial price of the product.

Door Busters

The Black Friday sales are not the only time when a doorbuster deal will work for you. You can do it whenever you want IF you have a great deal and a way to get the word out. You could advertise on your Facebook and Twitter handles that the first 10 customers who call you will get a product or service completely free. Everyone else gets 10% off. This is a great way to bring people to you, and once you have their attention, it’s much easier to close the deal.

Genuinely Free Gifts

There’s that word again. Free. If you can offer something for free, with purchase, you will entice people in ways you never imagined. That means really free. No catches. No slick language. Home Depot and Lowes will often run promotions offering a free item with the purchase of a much bigger, and more expensive, product. In many cases, this freebie persuaded people to buy the item just to get the freebie, even though they really weren’t thinking of buying the bigger item in the first place. The public wants something for nothing. Give it to them, and make the money back on the more expensive purchase.

BOGO Specials

It’s another variation of free, but once again it asks for a purchase to receive the gift. BOGO used to mean Buy One, Get One Free (BOGOF if you think about it). These days, it can mean anything. Buy One, Get Two Free. Buy Ten, Get Five Free. Buy One, Get One-Half Off. However, you chose to market it, be up front. Don’t make people think they’re getting more than they actually are.

No Payments For X Months

Furniture stores use this one a lot, but why can’t you? Who says you can only offer No Payment plans on expensive items? You could actually make it a very bizarre marketing gimmick that could get great news coverage. For instance, a local donut shop is offering No Payments for 2 months on a dozen donuts. Be creative.

Free Samples

Do you want to know why so many grocery stores give out free samples of food? The answer is one word – guilt. When you take a free sample, you automatically feel obliged to give the store something back in return. That free bite of sausage guilts you into buying a whole six-pack of them. It’s a strategy that has worked well for hundreds of years, and it will work for you. If you don’t have a tangible product, offer a free sample of a service you provide. Cleaning one step in someone’s home will make it look beautiful, and the rest of the carpet look dull. Now, you can offer to clean the rest for a discount.