What is coupon marketing?
Coupon marketing is about the use of promo codes, vouchers and discounts to attract and retain customers, taking advantage of customers’ interest in saving money on purchases.
Coupons can take various forms, they can be public codes (BLACKFRIDAY) that a specific target group can use or personalized, unique promo codes (valentines19503) that are assigned to specific customers. They can be distributed online or offline in many forms (code, barcode, QR). They can be used in both B2B and B2C marketing. Moreover, coupons can be personalized or have specific redemption rules that define desired redemption conditions. Coupons can be a very versatile marketing tool used effectively throughout the customer journey.
Why should you invest in digital coupon marketing?
Coupons have already become sophisticated marketing tools, which not only drive sales, but also help in building brand image and customer loyalty. By using a modern infrastructure, coupon campaigns are also a source of tracking data for CRM, used to build and continuously improve your marketing efforts in general. Let’s have a look at some statistics that show how common the use of coupons has become:
- 90% of consumers use coupons.
- The redemption of digital coupons in the US surpassed the redemption of paper coupons for the first time in Q2 2020.
- Experts predict that the use of digital coupons will rise in 2021, reaching 145.3 million users by the year’s end.
- Digital coupon redemptions are predicted to surpass $90 billion by 2022.
Coupons can help almost every business type and size, if only a coupon marketing strategy is planned according to the current budget and clear marketing goals.
Benefits of having a coupon marketing strategy
Here are some benefits that come with a well-planned coupon marketing strategy:
1. Accomplish your sales goals faster
Coupons can be used as incentives for customers to perform specific actions that help in achieving sales and marketing objectives. For instance, coupons can help you break even with items that do not sell well and to up-sell your offering.
2. Grow your customer base
Coupons do not only impact the loyalty of your customers but also increase the likelihood that they will refer your brand to friends and family more often. People respond emotionally to brands that reach out to thank loyal customers with coupons which undoubtedly helps build positive associations.
3. Beat the competition
If you find yourself going head to head with other brands, coupon marketing is a great way to make your offers more attractive and popular in the competitive retail environment.
4. Track your success rate
Offering coupon codes makes it easy to measure your return on investment (ROI). When people redeem a coupon code online, you don’t have to ask them how they found your business. You can do the promo code monitoring the number of redeemed coupons to determine the success of your offer.
Potential downsides of coupon marketing strategy
Coupons, just like any other business tool, carry some hidden risk that you need to be aware of before jumping head-on into discounting.
1. Possible brand damage
Excessive and constant discounting is likely to lead to possible brand damage with your company viewed as less desirable and cheap.
2. Increase in one-time buyers
Increase in one-time buyers and reduced rates of brand loyalty among your clientele. This can happen especially if a few store discount codes are placed in public places, websites, or paid advertising.
3. Less loyal customers
Tendency to generate traffic from price-driven shoppers and customers outside your target group, leading to less repeat sales, increased acquisition costs and burning of your promotional budget. Also, if you discount regularly and your strategy is public and predictable, some customers may try to outsmart you, skip buying at regular prices and wait out until the products are on a discount.
4. Higher shopping cart abandonment
Customers may churn when they see the coupon box at the checkout, as they drift off to search for a deal. 72% of carts are abandoned, with half of those shoppers leaving to search for coupon codes.
5. Risking your bottom line
If you are not careful and targeting your promotions right, you can be overspending your budget or risking fraud. Most of the harms of coupon marketing can be avoided by discounting cautiously, a reasonable amount, narrow targeting, sending unique coupon codes or not publicizing the coupons. The right design of your coupon marketing strategy and display can mitigate some of the risks too. With the right coupon provider, you can limit the potential harm by imposing several coupon distributions and redemption criteria.
For many e-commerce business owners today, promo codes are a necessary evil. You have to create discounts and post them on coupon sites in order to keep up with the competition, and there’s no way around it.
But e-commerce promo codes don’t have to be all about sacrificing revenue to encourage sales. If you use your promo codes strategically, they can help drive major sales growth — even if you’re offering a big discount.
You just need to leverage social media to gain more traction with your audience and really stand out. Here’s how to do it.
Define your goals
Just as with any marketing endeavor, you must first define your goals before you create your ecommerce social media promotion campaign. Promo codes aren’t just used for attracting new customers. You can also encourage customer retention when you share them with your social audience.
Your goals will ultimately determine what kind of promotion you want to offer. For example, if you want to clear out overstocked items, you might offer a buy one get one free promo. If you want to encourage customer retention, you might set up a weekly or monthly promo cycle that your social audience can look forward to.
If your goal is to find new customers, then you might offer a discount on the most popular item in your shop.
Choose an offer that makes sense for your specific goals:
- Percentage off a product (e.g. “10% off all bohemian skirts”)
- Percentage off cart (e.g. “10% off your cart at checkout”)
- Dollar off product (e.g. “$7 off your first cleanser”)
- Dollar off cart (e.g. “$10 off purchases of $100 or more”)
- Free shipping
- Buy one get one free
Don’t offer promos for the sake of promotion. Identify a marketing gap you want to solve and then develop the perfect promo to work towards that goal.
Create your promo codes
Once you know what kind of promotion you want to do, you’re ready to create your promo codes. This is easy enough to do using your e-commerce platform native features on Shopify, Bigcommerce, or other online ecommerce sites.
You might also opt for a third-party tool that has extra features that suit your e-commerce marketing strategy. If you’re registered in Amazon’s Brand Registry Program, they now offer a promo code feature specifically for social media promotions.
However you create your promo codes, just make sure you’ll be able to track them to monitor your campaign and analyze results later on.
Create your social posts
Once you have your codes, you’re ready to create the social posts you need to promote them. When you create and schedule these, make sure they go live during the promotional period you set when creating the codes.
Make it visual
Visual elements are a must if you want your posts to stand out in busy news feeds on social media. If your promo code is a discount for a specific product, make sure it shows up in your image so your audience easily sees the value of your promotion.
You should also include the promo code itself in two places:
- In your promotional image, using big block text that’s easy to read, and
- In the text of your post, so people can easily copy and paste it.
Add a sense of urgency
Social media is fast paced, so when someone comes across your promo code, they’re not likely to look at it again once their feed refreshes. Instead of hoping they’ll return and convert on their own, you can encourage your audience to act now by adding a sense of urgency.
This is pretty easy to do with promo codes. Offering a promotion for a limited amount of time, or offering a set number of promo codes is all the urgency you need.
Just make sure you highlight this sense of urgency when you share. Post regular updates reminding your audience how many coupons are left, for example.
Use relevant hashtags
Couponers don’t just turn to the likes of Groupon or Dealspotr to find coupon deals. Social media is a prime place to find the latest deals directly from brands.
To make your promo code posts easy to find for couponers, use relevant hashtags like #coupon #promotion #deals #sale.
If your goal is to improve holiday sales, you should also take advantage of hashtags like #blackfriday #thanksgiving, etc. Use any relevant hashtag to broaden your promo code’s potential reach.
Use social media advertising
If you want to get some extra reach for your promo code posts on social media, you can always pay to promote the post. Social media platforms like Facebook (Boost Post) and Twitter (Promoted Tweets) allow you to target very specific audiences outside of your main follower base.
Just make sure your post is promoted during the same time period as your promotional sale. Keep a close eye on your promo codes during the promotional period to ensure you don’t run out.
How much of a discount to offer in your coupon campaign?
This is a tough question and even asking your customers may not give you the correct answer. A good coupon marketing strategy relies on offering lower discounts and analyzing the response. If you are not meeting your goals, you can discount further. Try to find the minimum discount level that will increase the purchase rates enough to meet your goals. Do not go below your margins unless you need to sell out discontinued, slow-moving, or expiring products.
How to use targeting in coupon marketing?
There is no customer segmentation that works for every business, or even for two different businesses. As every business and audience is unique, you need to dive deeply into the CRM and sales data to choose customer segments criteria. You can segment your customers, for example, by location, age, preferences, family status, purchase history, loyalty to your brand or any combination of these factors. It mainly depends on the type of products and services you offer. You should find the factor that differentiates the customer preferences and shopping behaviors that can be easily identified in your CRM and segment the customers by those factors.
Some segmenting examples include:
- Segments based on the age of customers
- Segments based on the family situation – for example, married, not married, with or without children, the age of the children, or pets in the household.
- Work occupation-based segments – for example, employed, self-employed, on maternity leave, on unemployment, industry sector they are working in, or position.
- Location-based segments – for example, based on a postal code, city, state, or exact geolocation.
- Segments based on the revenue per customer – for example revenue per month, revenue per year.
- Customers divided according to their activity – for example, the number of orders, the amount already spent.
- Segments based on favorite categories – advanced segmentation used to target coupons typically requires a combination of many criteria, e.g., location-based coupons for regular customers could be targeted to the following segment: “Promo codes for customers from Europe, who have placed at least three orders so far and signed up more than one year ago.”
Social media really has become a prime place to drive business goals using promo codes, especially with the rise of influencer marketing. Instead of reaching bargain shoppers with the likes of Groupon and Coupon.com, you can instead target the perfect audience of potential buyers who just need a little incentive to purchase your high-dollar items.
THE PROBLEM: YOUR BUSINESS ISN’T GROWING AS FAST AS IT SHOULD!
Your sales have stagnated or decreased, and you cannot figure out why. Discover what is holding you back from achieving predictable sales growth in your business.
If you want to grow your business, you need a proven plan and framework. That is what you get with the 2X Your Sales Discovery Session.
Want to learn about a formula for Predictable Growth that will put your business on a 90-day path to 2X Your Sales?