4 Ways to Get the Most Effective Coupon Offers Into Your Customers’ Hands
Did you know that 90% of Americans still use coupons? That’s not something you can just ignore. But, as a marketer, you need to use them in a way that delights customers while also growing your revenue.
So, why do coupons work, and how can your business use them most effectively?
The two most critical components to a successful coupon campaign are:
1) A compelling coupon offer that drives responses
2) Delivery of your coupons to the right market segment
Let’s first talk about delivery, because that’s the fun (and easy) part.
4 Ways to Deliver Coupons to Your Ideal Customers
If they don’t see it, they can’t use it. Thus, if you’re running a coupon marketing campaign, your first job is to get your coupons into the hands of the people most likely to respond. You must decide if you want to distribute your coupons by digital, print, or both.
Email remains by far the most effective form of digital coupon delivery, and you also have three highly effective print options. A comprehensive strategy might use all four of these simultaneously, but each confers different advantages. Here’s a brief look at each:
1. Front Door Media
Front door marketing includes Power Direct’s ‘mini-billboard’ approach along with our many other innovative varieties.
If you want your targeted local customers to see your coupons, no better media exists than front door marketing. You can’t delete front door marketing. And unlike other print options that arrive in the mail or with a newspaper, the front door media stands alone, without distraction. It garners exclusive attention and consideration for a longer period of time.
With front door marketing, you can expect just about everyone who receives a door hanger to also look at it. It’s the closest you’ll get to 100% view-ability.
2. Email Coupons
93% of people say they are very likely to use coupons received via email.
As long as your email list is optimized with people who know and like your brand, you’ll get high open rates and strong response rates.
Advantages of email coupons include fast and cost-effective deliverability, and ease of tracking response rate so you can measure your ROI and optimize for future campaigns. The speed of email also offers particular advantage if, for example, you want to send out a coupon campaign in response to a current event.
Suppose a hurricane was expected to hit your area, for example, but it dissipates at the last minute, sparing everyone from harm. You could launch a “saved from the hurricane” coupon special, if it made sense for your business. That kind of on-the-spot creativity can be activated easily through email coupons.
Email’s main disadvantage, like everything digital, is that it’s very easy to ignore or miss entirely. Deleting takes less than a second. And these days, a lot of legitimate emails get sent into spam or promotions folders.
3. Shared Mail Type Coupon Books
For local businesses especially, marriage mailers like Valpak, offer a method to remind people of your business and motivate them to choose you over the competition.
Advantages of marriage mailers include a higher trust factor since it’s a known publication. People also look through it hoping to find some valuable offers, and they’ll discover businesses they might not normally look for. And for new residents, marriage mailers offer a terrific way to introduce yourself.
The downside is that your offer will be mixed with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of other brands and can easily be missed or ignored. The targeting abilities are also far inferior to using your own internal customer list or Power Direct’s advanced targeting capabilities.
4. Free Standing Inserts
Weekly newspaper and mail inserts allow for ongoing touch points from local stores competing against each other. Most of these come from large chain retailers. But smart smaller businesses might be able to piggyback alongside these if the opportunity was right.
Advantages of free standing inserts are similar to Valpak or other marriage mailers – it’s a trusted and known publication that people look forward to receiving and combing through for deals.
The disadvantages of both marriage mailers and free standing inserts arise from how easy they are to toss and ignore. Not as easy as email, but far easier than front door marketing.
But all four of these methods work because people love finding deals, and many go out of their way in search of them. For coupon marketing, your audience is a receptive one, because you’re appealing to the reasons why people love coupons in the first place.
Thus, if you’re wondering which option to use, the best answer is – all of them, if you can afford it. But if your goal is reaching the absolute best possible consumers for your brand with a message they can’t ignore – the front door can’t be beat. Front Door Marketing campaigns can be more expensive per piece, but with advanced targeting and high visibility – you’re likely to see a stronger ROI.
Why Coupons Work
Coupons work in part because they can appeal to both new and returning customers.
You can target both groups with a broad stroke campaign, which is the main way to use coupons in free standing inserts and marriage mailers (though email and front door media work just as well for this). Or, you can target smaller segments within either group, something you can do much more effectively with email and front door marketing.
New customers are more likely to try a new brand or product if they receive a coupon offer promoting it. You’ll also deepen loyalty with existing customers if you offer them exclusive coupons not available to random new people.
Here are a few more reasons why coupons work and why people love them:
- Perceived value (“I’m getting a great deal”) – this happens even if the sale price is the same as the non-sale price at other stores
- Generates happiness – one study even found increased oxytocin levels in people who scored a great deal
- Builds self-image – 80% of coupon users say using coupons makes them feel smarter. They did the work and found the deal, so they can take internal credit for the savings
Why Coupons Work – For YOU
That’s the consumer side. But why do coupons work for businesses?
First, they grow your revenue. One coupon study found that 28% of people will spend more with a brand when they use a coupon giving a percent off the total purchase price. 31% will spend more if free shipping is included, and 17% will spend more if they get a special deal on a particular product.
Used wisely, coupons actually make you more money. The trick is to have other items in your store – desirable to the same audience – which are placed in such a way that the customer will see them and choose to buy them.
In this way, the coupon acts as a ‘loss leader.’ If the customer only buys with the coupon and nothing more, you may actually lose money, or barely make a profit. But if they buy other items, your profit grows. The coupon gets them in the door. Your other products generate your profits.
Second, coupons benefit your brand.
They help you retain current customers and attract new ones. They offer an effective means of promoting new products, giving trial offers, getting customer feedback, and acquiring data you can use later to better target your marketing.
6 Types of Coupon Offers
Some of the most effective types of coupon offers include:
- BOGO – Buy one, get one free
- Fixed percentage off (like 30% off). This could be storewide or sitewide, or on a particular product or class of products
- Fixed amount off (save $10). Again, could be on the whole purchase, or on particular items
- Tiered fixed amounts off (save $20 off first $50, $30 off first $100, etc)
- Free offers, free samples, free prizes
- Buy this, get a reduced price off that
Other offers exist, but this gives you a good batch of ideas to pull from as you start building out campaign ideas.
To restate the main point – the number one factor in the success of a coupon campaign is in getting your ideal customers to see your coupons.
Front door marketing offers the most foolproof, highest visibility, and best targeting option for accomplishing this critical task. You can target specific neighborhoods, and even certain addresses within those neighborhoods, with hyper-targeted coupon offers that are almost guaranteed to be seen.