Coupons are a tremendous marketing tool for all businesses that are looking to increase customers, traffic and brand awareness. Even if you sell a product or service that doesn’t lend itself easily to coupons, you can take advantage of the messaging opportunities that a coupon offers. Whether you are a pizza shop with great carry out offers on Tuesday or an insurance agent representing a company that offers multi-policy discounts, you can use coupons as a messaging tool and direct traffic driver.
Keys to success:
Bigger tickets mean bigger profits. A big issue with many small business owners is the fear that their coupons are going to be used primarily by existing customers and that they are actually losing revenue and profits from folks that would have made purchases anyways. A way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to write coupons that promote bigger ticket sales than what that customer might normally purchase. Promotions like buy one get one half price, or buy two get one free ensure that you make your profit on the total order and still offer great value.
Another way to promote to existing customers is to promote products or services that they aren’t currently purchasing. Since most small businesses don’t have customer tracking, a great way to make this idea work is simply to promote products that are slow selling or to promote service during slower times. Examples are specials on last year’s models, early bird specials, lunch/happy hour/dinner specials on your two slowest days of the week. Don’t discount your meals on Friday night, discount your meals on Tuesday night or Monday at lunch.
Update your coupons weekly. One of the biggest mistakes I see with small businesses is that they have static coupons that never change. A coupon has value because it both promotes a good deal and because it has an expiration date. If you have the same coupons all the time, the expiration date becomes meaningless. You should have a rotation of coupons so that you customers know that if they don’t take advantage of this sale price soon, they will lose it.
Write better coupon offers. Make sure you are writing your coupons in an appealing and thoughtful way. This coupon is the window into your business and if it doesn’t elicit excitement and desire it won’t bring in new customers. Here are some helpful tips.
Getting started with coupons is easy…first, start with a great offer!
- Offer Discounts…”$50.00 Off!”, “60% Off!” (percentage discounts are only good when they are high percentages and the value of the product or service is well known.) Dollars Off discounts work best.
- Offer Bonuses…”Buy One/Get One Free!”, or “2 Free with Each Case Ordered!”, “Free Batteries When You Buy One Super Flashlight”, or “Free Drop Cloth with Each Gallon of Super Paint”, etc.
- Offer Premiums…Offer premiums for a presentation, for a trial order, for a subscription, for a demonstration, for a new customer referral, for an order amounting to $xxx or larger”, etc.
- Offer Free Information…”FREE booklet”, “FREE brochure”, “FREE estimate”, “FREE details”, “FREE samples”, “FREE trial”, “FREE consultation”, “FREE quote”, etc.
Use Bold, Commanding And Specific Headlines!
- “Save $50.00 on Any Portable TV….This Month Only!”
- “FREE BROCHURE…’Beauty Secrets for Career Woman’!”
- “Free Catalog Saves YOU 70% on Office Supplies!”
- “Rent Two NEW RELEASE Video Movies–Get One FREE!”
- “Buy One Dinner Entree–Get One FREE!”
- “Buy Five Cases of Copier Paper–Get the Sixth Case Absolutely Free!”
Sell The Benefits.
- Save time, save money, increase profits, protect your family, improve your standard of living, be happier, improve your health, increase your income, and increase your comfort, more convenient.
Make Effective Use Of The 17 Most Powerful Words In Advertising.
- Free, now, new, how to, save, guarantee, money, easy, simple, you, proven, love, results, discovery, fast, amazing, profit.
No one hit wonders! For coupon campaigns to be effective and profitable you must make sure that you generate repeat customers. You have done the hard part and gotten that new customer through your front door on the telephone…now make sure they come back. Collect their email and utilize an email marketing campaign to stay in contact with your customers. Email marketing is super easy to manage and can be free with programs like Mail Chimp.
Make sure your restrictions are clear and thorough. All coupons have restrictions. These restrictions can be used to promote specific products or services and to set an expiration date or limitation. Here are some great examples of restrictions that you might want to try:
- Expires on
- May not be combined with any other offer
- Must present coupon at time of order or mention coupon when scheduling your appointment
- Offer only valid Monday and Tuesday from 11 AM – 4 PM
- Offer not valid on ______ brands
- Half price item of equal or lessor value.
- New Customers Only
The final piece to coupon success is don’t stop! One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is they stop offering coupons after they start to work. Why? If you write targeted, well thought out offers, you will be increasing new customers, increasing frequency and ticket size of existing customers and increasing your bottom line profits. Don’t stop offering coupons, just stop offering bad coupons.