Let's face it, we all love to get good deals and free stuff. Even those who insist they are not promotion-sensitive actually do care about what brands are offering to get our attention. According to Valassis, 90 percent of all consumers use coupons to get some extras, save money or purchase things they would not likely buy without a discount.
More than a century has passed since 1887 when Coca-Cola offered coupons for a free glass of coke. Back then, coupons brought the company true marketing success. Today, 130 years later, the use of coupons for marketing purposes is still viable and impressively effective.
Coupons as a concept have not changed much over the years – they still entitle holders to receive something for free or at a discount – but they are no longer limited to print versions. The ways people consume information and shop have evolved, and today consumers are offered better deals via multiple channels:
- Text messages
- Push notifications
- Social media platforms
- Brand websites
- Retailer websites
- Couponing and discount sites
Mobile and digital coupons are on the rise and getting more and more attention from consumers, especially from tech-savvy millennials. Coupons are a powerful and ubiquitous marketing tool that connects people and their wallets to brands. In today's price-conscious society, consumers spend an average of two hours per week looking for the best deals and opportunities to save online.
The idea of getting something extra or hunting down a bargain has the power to influence a customer's decision at different stages of their purchasing journey:
- During planning: Customers are making their shopping plans according to coupons offered by stores or ecommerce websites.
- In-store: Customers change their minds, favoring discounted products over those they initially intended to buy.
- After a purchase: Customers scan receipts on their mobile devices to get money back or earn redeemable points.
How can brands benefit from digital coupon marketing?
Digital coupons provide brands with myriad marketing opportunities, because there is no bad time to offer persuasive incentives to deal-hungry customers. A well-targeted and relevant digital coupon campaign can work magic and present major benefits such as:
- Improving customer loyalty and retention: Existing customers are more likely to return for more.
- Attracting new customers: Incentives can grab the attention of customers who typically do not buy from you.
- Helping with the trial and promotion of a new product: Offering a good deal for a new product encourages people to try it and recommend it to others.
- Generating buzz around the brand: Promotions and discounts help companies spread the word about their brand.
- Growing engagement: Brands can win more followers and appreciators by rewarding the most active community users on social media.
Do's and don'ts
Not all coupons and coupon campaigns are created equal, and not all of them are destined to succeed and bring the desired results. It is important to understand that coupon marketing is not a piece of cake; it takes a lot of planning and strategic thinking. Here are some basic principles to stick to when offering your customers a deal:
- A coupon must be created with best design practices in mind. It should be visually appealing and persuasive, and able to put a customer in a shopping state of mind.
- Do not use too much busy text. The message and call to action on a coupon should be clear, specific and to the point.
- If your promotion plans coincide with a major holiday, do not hesitate to use its celebration to your advantage, to double your campaign's effect.
- Make the coupon's redemption process easy and hassle-free. Keep it as simple as possible with the least number of steps leading to customer satisfaction.
- Distribute your coupons across all channels, but try not to overdo it. When it comes to emails and texts, send those only to customers who agreed to receive promotional messages, to avoid customer irritation.
- Target local customers. If you aim to use digital coupons to promote your brick and mortar store, make sure to market to your local audience.
- Create a sense of urgency. A limited time frame or number of available coupons encourages customers to redeem coupons at the moment of access.
- Avoid creating the image of a "cheap" brand. By offering discounts too frequently, you risk devaluing your brand. People love good deals, and they may develop a habit of buying from you only when you offer discounts.
- Do A/B testing. Marketers love to get into the minds of customers to see what tactics work best, and marketing with coupons is no different.
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Coupons, especially digital and mobile ones, are on the rise, providing an active and effective marketing catalyst. The desire to receive incentives and find deals lies in our nature, and it would be unwise to overlook the marketing potential of coupons. A coupon marketing strategy may seem easy to devise and implement, however it requires thorough planning and analysis. Do not forget about upcoming holidays that offer a perfect time frame in which to effectively reach your audience.