Recently, an upstate New York casino held an atypical party during the holiday season. The casino invited their best customers to compete in an ugly sweater contest. The scope of the contest was relatively simple, guests received tickets to the event (which included appetizers, music and drink tickets), and a chance to compete for three cash prizes awarded for the ugliest holiday sweaters ($1,500, $1,000, and $500, for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place.)

The contest generated lots of response (and subsequent attendance) by the casino’s customers – proof that if you find novel ways of engaging your customers you’ll be rewarded with happy customers. Those happy customers are likely to become loyal customers. And loyal customers are the foundation of your customer base – in a sense, your revenue stream.

So how to come up with a unique, “not your run of the mill” promotion for your business? Think about what makes your customers tick. Look at the past promotions you’ve launched and isolate those that were successful. By doing so, chances are you’ll be able to identify behavior triggers – the perceived value/benefit that compels your customer to respond to your promotion(s).

Maybe it’s the thrill of competing in and winning a contest.

Maybe it’s the lure of getting something for free. Or maybe it’s an opportunity to participate in an event benefiting a local charity. Whatever the trigger, use your creativity to craft a promotion that will capture your customers’ attention, spur their participation and feed your bottom line.