Driving customer loyalty can be an uphill battle, especially in a crowded marketplace with more empowered customers than ever before. Whether it be through mobile research to find the best reviews or word-of-mouth amplified by social media platforms, brands are spending more time thinking of strategies to win over customers and keep them around for the long-haul, often turning to discounts as their main tactic.

While offering customer discounts, especially to specialized consumer groups like students, teachers, and the military, can be a great way to build loyalty, it isn’t the only offer that can spark a customer’s interest and influence their purchasing decisions.

Here are a few other offer ideas outside of traditional discounts that have proven effective in driving website traffic, sales, and customer loyalty:

Upgrades and freebies

Think about what Amazon has done with Amazon Prime. While Amazon Prime doesn’t give consumers specific discounts, they do offer free 2-day shipping for a small membership fee. This small, convenient freebie has resulted in incredibly loyalty and membership rates, now reaching nearly half of all US households according to a recent article from CNN.

This is just one example of how far small freebies or upgrades can go. Try offering a free, small but loved item to all military members. For example, restaurants can offer free coffee, a product that won’t have a high impact on overall revenue, but a huge impact on the impression the military community will have of that establishment. Other ideas are to upgrade from small to medium for students who like to get the most bang for their buck, or create a bundle deal that includes an additional item at no extra cost.

Day of the week promotions

Think about what fun promotions you can offer to special consumer groups. According to our popular surveys, special interest groups such as those named above are more loyal to brands that show appreciation in specific ways. Our most recent survey notes that 84% of teachers are more loyal to brands that offer deals to teachers.

So instead of offering a simple discount, get creative with it. For example, Military Mondays could be a day where members of the community can purchase certain items at a discounted rate. This could also be a day where all teachers get a buy-one-get-one half off. The options are endless.

Student Happy Hour

Students, the majority of which are millennials, have an incredible amount of buying power and influence over today’s market operations. This group demands deals, driving a culture where consumers are trained to wait to spend until promotions are offered. This is largely eroding margins and making it harder for brands to turn a profit.

One way to drive loyalty of these consumers while also ensuring a healthy bottom line is to create a happy hour where students can shop at a discount. This small window will attract consumers and drive conversion, and keep groups coming back day after day, both in repeat customers and new ones.

Campaign for a cause

Especially when it comes to groups that provide a service to this country, most notably the military and teachers, considering running a campaign to support a cause they care about. Not only will this help drive their interest, but it will also show that you value their sacrifices. Millennials also respond positively to cause marketing programs, in fact, a recent Nielsen study found that 73% will actually pay extra to buy from companies that are dedicated to causes they believe in.

To take this a step further, create a thank you item giveaway for anyone in-store that provides support to the campaign. For example, if you are supporting Homes for our Troops, an organization that builds mortgage-free and specially adapted houses for multiple amputees and veterans with traumatic brain injuries, try adding an ask during the check-out process to customers. If a customer donates to the cause, provide them with a coupon or freebie as a thank you. The positive word-of-mouth and resulting sales won’t disappoint.

Driving loyalty doesn’t have to be as challenging as many brands make it. Think outside the box, and provide customers with deals that will make them appreciate the overall brand.