Free ways to reward your customers

As a business, you need to build and maintain relationships with your customers. It will impact customer loyalty and satisfaction scores and eventually lead to revenue growth.

Your product and customer service quality matters a lot, but there is also another way how to win the hearts of your customers. Rewarding your customers for certain actions has proven to be an efficient way to raise loyalty and satisfaction.

Rewarding can be a powerful way to get new customers, keep existing ones, and build brand awareness. This is why customer reward policy is used across multiple departments including product team, marketing, sales, growth, and customer experience teams.

One of the most discussed case studies related to rewards was introduced by PayPal. As they wanted to attract more people to use their platform, they gave $20 to everyone who registered an account on PayPal. Today, PayPal still offers $10 for every referral you make.

But what if money rewards are not an option? Not every business can spend millions of dollars to get traction and build its user base.

There are other ways how to reward your customers without spending a fortune. In this article, we collected several ideas that can be applied to your business and reward programs.

Why do you need a reward program?

Before we dive into the list of potential ideas, let's talk about why you need a reward program in the first place.

The goal of your reward program must be aligned with your business goals and where you stand in your product life cycle.

For products in the growth stage, your reward program should focus on getting new customers. For the mature stage, you may want to reward your customers for their loyalty and lower churn rate.

Some businesses use rewards to motivate their customers to leave reviews on public review sites or spend more time with your product.

As you have your goals set, you can start to think of the reward type that will motivate them best.

Customer reward ideas

As discussed before, not every business can afford to spend lots of money on their reward programs. We have collected ideas that do not require large investments but still can be very efficient and engaging.

It is important to acknowledge that not all ideas are applicable to every goal mentioned above. Some ideas are better suited for acquiring new customers while others are focused on customer retention. Some ideas will work great to get extra action from your customers.

Exclusive membership

Most people love to be members of high society or exclusive clubs. As a business owners, you can build an exclusive community around your products and services.

All successful businesses have active communities but it does not restrict them from creating and maintaining private groups for special customers.

The higher is the barrier for entry the higher is the willingness to join. Of course, keep it realistic so people can see the chance on the horizon.

As for criteria, you can invite people who have been your customers for n years or have spent x amount of money.

You will also need to pay more attention to such communities. Offer content and collaboration that can not be found in your main community.

Your goal is to make people proud to become community member.

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Recognition badges

A cool and fun way to give recognition and rewards to your customers is by introducing recognition badges.

People love to collect things so use it to your advantage.

Facebook groups is great example where people get recognized as group experts and conversation starters. Businesses like Envato use badges on their marketplace to reward authors.

What badges to introduce is up to you - customer lifetime, conversations, feedbacks, testers, earnings. Look for how you can segment your customers and check others for inspiration.


Freebies is that thing that motivates people to do certain actions. Freebies can be anything from an ebook, industry report, and extension.

With freebies on hand, you can ask people to leave reviews, subscribe to newsletter, or invite their friends to join your services.

The problem with freebies is to find a balance between the effort you spend on freebies and the results you get. Freebies won't work forever - you will have to update them or introduce new ones.

Early access

We want exclusivity and be the first ones. Early access to new products, features, and services gives users this feeling and recognition.

As as business, you need to get customer feedback long before your product, feature, or service goes to the masses. Offering customers to become an exclusive beta testers is win for both.

Moreover, you don't have to wait for beta. In your product design process there are plenty of stages where you may require input from your customers.

Free trials

Why not give your customers more advanced plan for a month as a recognition or reward?

Your customers will appreciate such a bonus as it can give them a desired feature or opportunity to work faster.

As an additional benefit for your business, not all customers will decide to drop more expensive plans after the trial. They may enjoy the features and become your paying customers on a higher plan.

Media exposure

Getting media exposure for businesses is important as it can get you in front of potential customers.

This reward can work best for the B2B (business-to-business) segments where you can highlight your customers on social media or mention your website.

For a certain effort provided by your customers, you can easily publish case studies, guest posts, testimonials, and other types of content related to them.

This will allow you to cut on content production expenses and even reach new audience. How? Your customers will be proud to highlight their exposure using their own marketing channels.

Partners coupons and offers

A widely used method to reward your customers is by granting them with access to exclusive discounts for the 3rd party products and services.

Your product or service is not the only one that helps them run their business or live their best lives. There are things just around the corner that they need and want.

Partnership program with another company can allow you to distribute coupons, discounts, and special offers of your partners with your audience. In fact, a lot of banks are using this approach as a benefit when issuing gold and platinum credit cards.

As an additional benefit, you can expect your partners to do the same and distribute coupons for your product or service.

Private sessions

One-on-one sessions is a great way to know your customers better while providing them with extra benefit as a part of your reward and loyalty program.

A lot of software companies are offering educational sessions to their customers as a reward for purchasing their service. But not to every client - only those who are ready to make larger commitment (ex. annual plan, high-tier subscription).

While in the private session, you may discover opportunities to improve your product turning it into customer satisfaction survey.

Bonus points

Bonus points is a good way to play on customer's greed and fears.

As you start to distribute bonus points with your customers after they perform certain actions they will be willing to spend those points and sometimes even pay additionally.

We don't want to lose free credits even when we know that it is a trap.

Reports and summaries

A nice way to reward your customers for loyalty is providing them with personal reports and summaries.

Spotify is doing that really good by distributing personal summaries at the end of the year. Not only people love to receive them, they often share them with their friends and family.

The awesome thing about reports and summaries is that this process can be automated easily and work in a long-term.


The most easiest way to reward your customers is by providing them with discounts.

While there is not much of a creativity in this approach it works good for most of the businesses.

You can offer discounts for renewals if your customer stick with you for a year, you can offer discounts to new products and services. There are many options for you to choose from.


While building a reward program is an important step in your business growth it is not always that costly. This is the place where you can be creative, play on human nature, and build new habits.

What is needed is to understand your customers and what triggers them most. Talk to your customers to gather feedback and determine their persona type - it will help you to create an efficient reward program.

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