One of the most important things to establish if you want your program to be a success is what motivates your members. What makes them want to be part of your program? If you can answer that question you’ll be able to tailor your incentives to keep them highly engaged, valuable, and proud to advocate for your brand.
Self-determination theory suggests that peak motivation is reached when we satisfy three needs:
- The need for competence
- The need for autonomy
- The need for relatedness
Basic motivators fall broadly into three groups:
- Education (Competence)
Are people facing challenges in their life or career that you can help them meet with training, certification or product knowledge?
- Exposure (Status or autonomy)
Do they need support to build their career? Can you give them opportunities to contribute in different ways so that they can build their brand?
- Connectedness (Social identity or relatedness)
Is feeling part of a ‘secret society’ or a tight-knit group important? Do people want to give something back to others who supported them when times were tough?
Taking connectedness one step further – do people want to be associated with your brand? Social identity theory proposes that a person’s sense of themselves is influenced by the groups that they are a member of. Brands that have iconic leaders will likely motivate members to participate by implying a connection of some kind to that person.
The tricky thing here is that members don’t always know what their true motivations are. Even when they do, they may not want to tell you the truth. “I do this because it feels good to give back” is a lot easier to say than “I’m motivated by status”.