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When you give your fans exclusive rewards for doing business with you, are you thinking about why they’ll tell a friend about it? For example, why would anyone tell their friend about a cheap toaster they got for opening an account with a bank?

You can make these perks much more meaningful and start better conversations by thinking about what motivates your fans to talk about you in the first place.

Here are some ways to do it:

1. Let them feel like a part of a crew
2. Let them feel like an aficionado
3. Let them feel understood

1. Let them feel like a part of a crew

Most motorcycle riders love to ride together. It’s what created Harley-Davidson’s famous biker-gang mentality. It’s also how Honda makes their customers feel important. At the Circuit of the America’s, Honda motorcycle owners get priority parking, a chance to ride in the parade lap around the track, and a special seating section. That brings together a lot of excited Honda owners in one place, and gives them a great motivation for word of mouth: a sense of community.

2. Let them feel like an aficionado

If you’re on the Peet’s Coffee mailing list, you probably brew fresher coffee than the people who buy it at the store. Why? Because Peet’s promises to mail it to you the day it’s roasted — not after it’s been through weeks of delivery from the roaster, to the distribution centers, to the grocery store. So when the folks on this mailing list make coffee for their friends, you can bet they’re telling them all about why it’s fresher. People love to look smart in front of their friends. How are you helping your fans do it?

3. Let them feel understood

People have come to expect the usual airline miles and cash back incentives from credit card companies. But American Express is offering something different: online gaming perks. AmEx gives their cardholders the option to earn rewards for League of Legends, an online video game, and players are talking about it. It not only helps American Express stand out in a sea of similar credit card rewards, but also helps a niche group of customers feel understood by an unlikely industry. Do you offer perks that truly matter to your customers?

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