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Not all incentives are created equal.

Some incentives help motivate people to join the conversation and could help build momentum for your research. The wrong incentives, however, could encourage the wrong behavior in your insight community.

The importance of providing the right incentives is especially true if you are managing a B2B community. While engaging people in your B2B insight community remains important, offering appropriate incentives is as crucial. People in B2B insight communities are generally busy business folks who need a strong motivator to participate. Also, these communities tend to be smaller.

Here are 3 questions you need to ask when deciding which incentives to provide members of your B2B insight community:

  1. Are the incentives relevant to their industry?

    This one might seem obvious, but one thing you need to ensure is that you're providing rewards that will actually make people's lives easier. If you're running an insight community made up of tech professionals, it may not make sense to give out grocery gift cards. But if your members fly frequently, it makes sense to give airline perks and vouchers. It comes down to knowing your community and providing incentives that will make their daily lives easier.

  2. Does it provide opportunities to grow professionally?

    Business folks are usually interested in growing their careers, and B2B insight community members are no exception. Provide rewards that benefit their professional development. Access to exclusive networking events or free tickets to industry conferences are incentives that people in a B2B community often appreciate.

  3. Will it benefit their business?

    You want to provide incentives that will benefit people individually, but don't forget that people's motivations in joining B2B insight communities are twofold: they want to contribute their own thoughts, but they also want to see results that will benefit the businesses they work for. By joining your community, people hope to reduce business costs or increase revenues. They also want to shape the future of your products and services (especially if they see how improving your products/services will make their work easier), so letting them know how their input impacts your business decisions is important.

In addition to closing the loop, think of tangible incentives that will somehow improve people's businesses. One valuable but economical incentive is expertise: if you can provide access to industry experts (who may engage with you pro bono, for their own professional benefit), that gives your community members a tangible benefit for participating in your community.

What has been your experience like managing B2B insight communities? Let us know in the comments.

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