Why you should definitely (but wisely) use coupons in your marketing mix

by Teresa Rodriguez Barnada


The coupon renaissance

Coupons have been around for longer than many of us can remember. But now, more than ever, and thanks to the power of the Internet and social media, online coupons are experiencing a come-back or a "renaissance", if you will. 

Technology, coupled with the current uncertain economic climate is changing consumer behaviour. Consumers today demand more immediate access to the best relevant deals and use the Internet as their main way to redeem coupons. According to the infographic - which you can view here by scrolling at the end of this article - released by couponing and consumer saving site Coupons.org, one in five smartphone users use mobile coupons. In fact, other studies have shown that companies that offer coupons are viewed more favourably by consumers that those that do not. 

Small businesses are now offering a variety of online coupons to entice their customers, with the number of coupons offered online only in the US increasing 360% since 2009, a number that is expected to multiply exponentially in the very near future, only to grow an estimated thirteen fold by 2014. 

So, if you are not offering online coupons as yet, you might want to read on. The following are some reasons why coupons can work for your small business.

Apparel


Showing appreciation

Use coupons to show your appreciation for having been selected. Customers are given plenty of choices these days. So, it is a pretty big deal when after reading various reviews and comparing you to other similar providers, a customer then says “You are the chosen one” and end up purchasing from you.  Coupons can be a very good start to a durable relationship, so, entice them to come back with a thank you email or SMS offering a coupon towards their next purchase. 

Popularising your brand

Healthy choice coupon promotion
Take Healthy Choice  as an example of brand popularisation through coupons. The brand knew that its customers were social media savvy and very interested in coupons so they introduced a progressive coupon on the Healthy Choice Facebook page which, started at a low value of $0.75 off and increased as people liked the page and signed up for the coupon. The ultimate price was a “buy-one-get-one-free” deal  and in just a few weeks, their fan count went from 7,000 to 60,000, their Facebook ads generated over 11 million impressions and 60% of their new fans also subscribed to the company’s newsletter. 

Promoting stock on specific seasons

A recent survey indicated that 38.5% of the back-to-school shoppers who had already begun shopping by August 7 more than half of their purchases had been influenced by coupons, sales, and/or promotions. So, it’s a good idea to create an online coupon yearly plan based on the various events that shoppers celebrate throughout the year and offer special promotions for them to take advantage of.

Promoting slow, old and new stock

Coupons can help you make customers special by offering the chance to have prior access to a general sale as well as by giving your loyal customers the chance to receive a discounted price on a particular new line.  Everyone is happy.

Upselling/cross-selling

Think what happens when you get your Macdonald's fix: If you supersize your fries or drink, you get even more chances to win the X game by providing more peel off vouchers. You don't really want to supersize but are tempted by the possibilities of increasing your chances to win. 

An example of cross-selling is the little clever suggestion box that appears after you purchase a book on Amazon or Ebay: " Customers who bought items in your recent history also bought..." - A reminder that you have bought something that could be greatly complemented with some of the other products they offer.

Coupons can help your customers get to know other products in your range and entice them to make the next move towards finalising the purchase of a second item.

Be coupon-wise

But, as with anything else, be wise. Giving away something discounted or free requires some serious thought:  Will coupons cheapen your products? Is the amount you are sacrificing worth the additional revenue? Can you pick up the cost you are sacrificing by increasing your charges elsewhere? Once you are satisfied with the answer to all these questions, and ensuring the pros surpass any possible cons, start thinking about your next move – creating a successful coupon-based campaign. 

And remember, use coupons sparingly, you don’t want regular customers to think that they are being gouged when they see how much you are willing to discount to get new customers. Also, control the timeliness of your coupons:  too frequent discounts will delay your customers from patronising your business until the next deal comes out. 

The following infographic might help you understand the magnitude of this come-back. 

If you are a Hotfrog customer, you can start by using the Coupon option already provided to you by Hotfrog. Simply visit this article for more information on how to upload and promote your coupons.


CrushingOnCoupons

Source: coupons.org

Teresa es lingüista y especialista en comunicación intercultural, con un masters de resolución de conflictos interculturales y otro en traducción e interpretación. También ha formado parte de la comunidad de Pymes, dirigiendo una empresa de traducciones e interpretaciones en Malasia y una empresa de catering en Sídney, Australia. En la actualidad, Teresa es la directora de redacción de Hotfrog, así como editora, escritora y traductora en el Hotfrog Small Business Hub. Además Teresa tiene sus propios blogs No-mad, y Digital cultures and translation.

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