When it comes to co-brand credit cards, employees of the co-brand are the ultimate ambassadors to prospects and cardholders, but promoting credit cards is not always a top priority for them. One way to get them enthused is through employee promotions. However, not all promotions are created equal.

The most effective employee promotions are much more than sales contests or monthly drawings. They include elements that educate and engage employees so they will stay motivated beyond the promotion.

Here are three key strategies that can make an employee promotion work harder:

1. Educate to motivate
One of the key challenges co-brand partners face is making sure employees are aware of the co-brand card benefits and how to talk about them to customers. So why not link an education program to a promotion? Employees are more likely to be receptive to card education when it can help them win promotional prizes and incentives. While you’re at it, take it to the next level by adding gaming components (like online quizzes) directly to the education tool.

2. Reward individual efforts
Promotions work best when they not only offer an exciting grand prize (typically in the form of a random drawing) but also individual incentives based on performance. For instance, offer a $5 bonus for every 10 new credit card applications an employee processes during the promotion period.

3. Target your communications
Keep in mind that there are many different stakeholders involved with any given promotion (employees, managers, branch managers, etc.). Be sure you communicate directly to each group. Tell the employees what they need to do to win. Tell managers what they can do to help employees (and it never hurts to offer them an incentive, as well).

If these strategies and best practices are followed, the results are always the same: more heavily engaged and better-informed employees who can offer greater value to their customers and increase acquisition efforts for the brand.