Simple Marketing Monday

Simple Marketing Monday – Incremental Punch Cards

Incremental Punch Cards
Incremental Punch Cards

Best For Retailers, some service businesses

Objective Increase awareness, generate traffic, increase frequency
Target Existing customers

Many businesses use the traditional punch card to gain repeat guests. This innovative version is an incremental punch card and is much more effective. Most punch cards require a series of purchases, with customers getting something free once they complete all the punches. The incremental punch card gives customers something of value every time they visit, and the value increases with each purchase.

On a customer’s first visit, the customer gets the card. When the card is punched on the second visit, the customer saves 10 percent. On the third visit, the discount is 15 percent. On the fourth visit, it’s 25 percent, and it’s a whopping 50 percent on the fifth visit. What makes this approach work so well is that it gives your customers instant gratification. They don’t have to wait to get value, and therefore they are more likely to come back repeatedly. The traditional punch card takes too long for the customer to get any value, so generally the only ones who redeem them are your die-hard loyal customers.

Another variation is to use dollar amounts instead of percentages. Adjust the amounts so that they are appropriate for your situation. You can go up by the same dollar increment: $1, $2, $3, $4, $5. Or, for some real excitement, you can double the offer with each visit, if your margins allow for it: $1, $2, $4, $8, $16, and so on. The punch card can also be mailed to your database or handed out within the four walls of your business.
Materials Punch cards & Punch


  • Three weeks prior – Prepare punch cards
  • Two weeks prior – Print punch cards
  • One week prior – Discuss program with staff, mail punch cards (if applicable)
  • One day prior – Discuss program with staff
  • Start – Hand out punch cards to all customers
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