Baby boomers still remember the days when cents-off coupons were snipped out of fliers and periodicals. Now, the digital age has made couponing much easier for both consumers and marketers.
The marketing technique tends to be especially efficient and effective when conducted online. After all, customers still love the idea of getting a good deal; studies show, for example, that 73 percent of American women have printed coupons from websites, while 53 percent of U.S. consumers have used sites such as Groupon or Living Social. Another study shows the number of people using digital coupons rose 58 percent, to more than 61 million customers, between 2010 and 2014 alone.
Marketers see the methodology as a great way to attract and engage with both existing and new customers. Perhaps best of all, coupon marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, though it often involves factoring in lost revenues from the offers themselves.
Consider how these tips may help you when forming couponing strategy:
– Be clear on your goals before you begin. Are you trying to attract new clientele? Motivate current customers to buy more? Target a specific audience? Go head to head with a competitor’s offer? The beauty of working online is that hyper-targeting is eminently possible.
– Research shows printers of digital coupons tend to be young, educated and affluent, making the medium ideal if your goal is initiating relationships with lifelong customers. But follow-up discounts will likely be required to achieve loyalty.
– Keep your offers as easy-to-understand as possible to eliminate confusion. In general, expiration dates should be 21 to 30 days after an offer is extended; that denotes urgency while giving consumers enough time to react.
– To determine how much to offer with your coupon, consider what competitors are doing and be aware of how much you can discount (for how long) without seriously undercutting profits. A good starting point for getting customers’ attention is an offer of 20 percent off. As a rule of thumb, larger discounts work better to attract new customers, while subsequent offers can be more modest. Ideally, the sales volume you achieve over time will easily offset lesser profit margins.
– Storewide coupons typically perform better than singular-item coupons.
– Choose optimal keywords in the copy appearing on your coupon to take full advantage of customers seeking deals on either your company or the product you’re promoting.
– Consider offering different but complementary offers on your digital and print coupons, which may be targeted toward different audiences.
– Options include distributing your coupons yourself via your website, social media or email campaigns; contracting with a nationwide coupon site such as Groupon; working with a local site such as Coupons.com, or posting on a free-of-charge site such as RetailMeNot.com. The disadvantage of free sites? They’re less likely to reach customers that are new to you.
– Conduct research to determine which coupon sites are good fits with your company and products. Think about investing in promotional services offered by such sites, including email, blogging, social media and/or display ads.
– Look into affiliate marketing through couponing sites, but read the fine print to ensure the deal protects your best interests in terms of commissions.
– Offline distribution methods include self-mailed postcards, coupons printed in periodicals or co-op programs such as Valpak that mail out packs of coupons from multiple vendors.
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