20 Email Marketing Incentives to Slot into Your Content Calendar


As the challenge of capturing subscribers’ attention continues, email marketers are increasingly turning to incentives as a powerful way to increase engagement and build customer loyalty.

This guide covers 20 different types of incentives that are known to increase email engagement and strengthen customer loyalty. Use the following as a handy checklist to help you stand out in crowded inboxes and achieve more of your marketing goals.


1. Loyalty-Based Offers

Offer exclusive promotions to long-time subscribers as a loyalty reward. A gastropub, for example, could send a “10 percent off” coupon to those subscribed for over six months.


2. VIP Access

Consider offering subscribers exclusive access to a limited-edition product. As well as making subscribers feel important, this also creates a sense of excitement around the product. Exclusive rewards like this are a simple way to build customer loyalty and drive sales.


3. Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Use content like audience polls and feedback forms to encourage engagement. To incentivize participation, promise to reveal an exclusive discount code upon completion.


4. Product Bundles

Create tailored discounts for when subscribers purchase a specific combination of products or services. You could also offer free gifts to subscribers who purchase a specific product or service bundle.


5. Charity Donations

Pledge to donate a portion of your sales to a charity or cause to encourage purchases and highlight your values as a company. Be sure to update customers with the results of your charitable efforts.


6. Top-Selling Products Showcase

Reveal your best-selling products. It draws attention to the best things you have to offer, but it also triggers the “FOMO” effect – people feel the fear of missing out on things that other people have.


7. Personalized Thank-You Messages

Sending a brief message that thanks customers for their support achieves a few things:

  • It makes customers feel valued and can strengthen customer loyalty.
  • It humanizes your brand.
  • It gives you the opportunity to insert a call to action (CTA), which could, for example, encourage users to check out a new product or a newly-released guide.


8. Contests or Giveaways

Offering prizes that can be won through a contest or giveaway is another way to engage subscribers and build brand loyalty. Highlight the prize, give clear rules and instructions, and promote the contest on social media.


9. Downloadable Guides or eBooks

Bundle a guide or eBook with a related product or service to boost sales of certain items and to provide additional value. Crucially, clearly explain the benefit of the guide and why readers will find it valuable.


10. Product-Linked Content

Offer exclusive access to premium content to help existing customers get even more out of your products or services. This shows potential customers who are uncertain about using a product or service what they could be missing out on.


11. Personalized Recommendations

Use customer data to suggest products or services that align with their preferences and past purchases. Personalized recommendations will make your messages sound more relevant and increase the likelihood of conversions.


12. Invitations to Live Events

Exclusive invitations to in-person events can encourage subscribers to engage with your brand. For example, a software company could invite subscribers to a workshop or conference for hands-on training and networking with industry experts.


13. Upgrades for Current Products or Services

By offering product or service upgrades via email, subscribers will be encouraged to consider the benefits of making an additional purchase. Product upgrades make customers feel like they might be missing out on more current features or functions.


14. Referral Rewards

Encourage referrals by offering subscribers discounts or freebies when they refer friends or family to your business. This can build brand awareness and drive sales.


15. Surprise, Limited-Time Offers

Try offering unexpected incentives like surprise gifts or sudden discounts, which are only available to those who click on a specific link within an email. Put a time limit on the offer to drive conversions.


16. Seasonal Promotions

Boost engagement by offering seasonal promotions that match your subscribers’ interests and needs. For example, tailor the deals to specific holidays, area-specific events, or back-to-school dates to create a sense of urgency.


17. Free Trials

Consider providing free trials of a product or service to encourage subscribers to give them a test run. By removing any upfront cost, people can evaluate your goods or services without the financial risk. Then hopefully, they’ll turn into paying customers.


18. Abandoned Cart Reminders

Increase your conversion rates by sending abandoned cart reminders to subscribers who have left items in their online shopping cart. A friendly reminder can draw them back into the buying journey, and by including a clear CTA, you can guide them back to the checkout page.


19. Free Shipping Offers

Offer free shipping for a limited time or for a minimum purchase amount. This can help during slower sales periods or during a specific holiday season.


20. Birthday Offers

Use subscribers’ birthdays as an opportunity to offer them something special. If possible, use their purchase history to tailor the offer to their individual interests. For example, offer a discount on a more recent version of a product or service that they’ve already purchased.


Experiment With Incentives to Improve Email Marketing Results

The strategies outlined here are just some of the most powerful ways to keep your email subscribers engaged. However, every business is different, so it’s important to try out various incentives throughout the year. Experimenting with different incentives will help you identify those that work best for your unique business and audience. You can then work more of these winning strategies into your email content.

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