Prizes and rewards are different. Prizes encourage desired activity before a prize, a reward encourages activity after the reward. I prefer the latter.
The best rewards are invaluable to the recipient and worthless to others. Here are 10 ideas.
- Interview members. Put some questions together and ask the upcoming participant their thoughts.
- Monthly awards. Give monthly awards. These include best newcomer, best comment, best member.
- eBook. Create an eBook and feature advice/suggestions from top members along with a bio of each author.
- Official letter of corporate gratitude. Have a limited supply of official letters to offer members. These are merely formal letters from the client offering gratitude to the member for their work. Perhaps frame them?
- Official status. Issue official statuses. Official ambassador, official customer helper, official digital volunteer.
- Thank them personally. A little thanks goes a long way. Drop a note to a member thanking them.
- Honours badge. Give a unique honours badge to display on their blogs, avatars, signatures, profiles and other websites.
- Special privileges. Unique access to your community. Perhaps editorial duties, moderation, access rights etc.
- Invitation to an insider’s group. Be sure to have an insider’s group within your community. Invite only highly participating members into it.
- Add a credit them on a product. If they’re really good, give them a name or a credit on the product you’re releasing. Perhaps in the manual or on the website.
Try several different rewards until you find those that work best. If one fails don’t worry, it didn’t cost you anything.